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ATD Blog

Can Professional Credentials Boost Your Credibility?

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Credibility is a funny thing. Sometimes you earn it and sometimes you just stumble into it. For talent development professionals, the possibility of trying to teach a topic of skill without the information sticking is always there. You try a different approach . . . nope.

Bring in a facilitator from outside the organization and it’s like the clouds parted to reveal the sun. Cue the alleluias. Your students soak in the information. So, what happened?

Don’t take it personally. There are some great presenters out there! There is also a phenomenon I call guest credibility. When you bring a facilitator or speaker outside of the organization, they have instant credibility. That’s “stumbling into credibility.” Whether or not the person knows what they’re talking about, they’re perceived to be credible because they’ve been brought in from the outside.

Over time, you gain credibility based upon numerous factors, including your career experience and knowledge. It takes a little longer to achieve than stumbling into credibility, and you actually have to work at it. Other factors in earning credibility are your work ethic, the quality of your product, and your ability to work with a project team. Can you be counted on to do a job well? Do you play well with others? These skills build your credibility.

Take your credibility to the next level by earning the CPLP. Although I’m quite happy with my current job, I keep an eye on the job market. A fair number of the job descriptions note either a preference or requirement for the CPLP. The certification carries weight within the industry. It shows two things—you’re knowledgeable and you take the initiative to continue your professional growth.


Keep in mind that scarcity increases demand. The CPLP is the premier credential in the talent development industry and a challenge to attain. As a result, CPLPs make up an elite group in the talent development industry. Even before earning my designation, I respected those with the initials CPLP listed after their name because they had achieved credibility in my eyes.

For me, the CPLP helps. My job is in the healthcare industry. At least three-fourths of my co-workers have alphabet soup after their names—RN, LPN, MD, etc. In healthcare, you have instant credibility when you have letters after your name. I have “MEd” and “CPLP” after mine, so I have credibility. A majority of my co-workers haven’t a clue what CPLP means, but that’s okay—I have “the soup.”


Even if you’re not in healthcare, the CPLP gives you credibility within your organization and with your peers. Your peers who actively seek professional development are often involved with ATD, so they’re familiar with the certification. Others are learning professionals who want to hire the best employees. The CPLP is recognized in the industry as the pinnacle of professional development. Senior leaders see the certification as an indication of your desire to achieve. After all, they want employees who take initiative and want to develop.

Put in the time and effort to earn the CPLP. It helps you earn the respect of your peers and your organization. While not everyone knows what the initials mean, the credential speaks to the fact you strive to be the best at what you do. The CPLP helps you establish credibility and boost your career prospects. You can’t miss with that combination!

About the Author

Denise Hicken is a senior learning consultant with Floyd Medical Center in Georgia. Her career has served her well in this role, allowing her to expand her contributions to the organization. Denise holds a Journalism degree and a master’s in education from the University of Missouri. She earned her CPTD in 2017 and is currently working toward a certification in project management.

Denise has worked in the news industry, banking, and now in healthcare. Her career path has given her a unique insight into the business of healthcare. However, her passion is enhancing culture in the workplace through leadership development. She leads an initiative titled “Culture Conversations” which provides leaders with tools and guidance to hold monthly conversations with their teams on topics which focus on enhancing culture. This initiative was nominated for best “People Focused Initiative” at Floyd in 2018.

She is a contributing author for the ATD Talent Development and Training in Healthcare Handbook.

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