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ATD Blog

Rediscovering My Value Through the APTD

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

When I first heard about the new credential from ATD, I didn’t think it would be something for me to pursue. Mainly, because I am not a beginning career professional, and the Associate Professional in Talent Development (APTD) is considered a certification for professionals looking to enhance their skills in three main areas of expertise: instructional design, training delivery, and learning technologies.

I’ve been involved with my local ATD chapter for many years, currently serving as the vice president of marketing. As a chapter leader, I thought it was important for me to be aware of the certification offered by ATD so that I could explain and promote it to our members and my students. I am an associate professor of management with a PhD concentration in human performance improvement and a research interest in talent development. One of the areas I teach about is our human resource concentration; specifically, I teach our training and development course, which I developed. I’ve served as the director of our Center of Teaching Excellence, responsible for faculty development, and have experience working with businesses, designing and delivering training.

One of the secondary areas on the exam tests your knowledge in the global mindset foundational competency. This competency is critically important to the workforce today. I have several assignments in my course related to developing a global mindset and my students create an individual plan for increasing their global mindset.

To begin preparing for the exam, I went though the entire APTD Learning System (the official resource for APTD study)—all 447 pages! Each section of the learning guide begins with an introduction, and includes learning objectives for the section, followed by the content, and a quiz with recall on important terms and application scenarios. The sections end with references. The guide is well organized, allowing a reader to navigate easily through the PDF and go between the various sections.


Additionally, I practiced the sample test (multiple times), used Quizlet for flash cards, and joined the LinkedIn study group. I did this over a period of several months and took the exam in September.


The exam was hard. It has been a very long time since I took a multiple-choice exam and my anxiety was high. The exam was not easy for me to get through. The questions were very challenging and really tested your knowledge in each of the areas the certification credentials you for.

I was ecstatic to receive my passing results, shocked, and surprised because it was hard.

I believe this credential is very worthwhile for talent development specialists. Professionally, I thought it helped me to reacquaint myself with the areas of expertise that are important to use in the talent development field and in educating future talent development practitioners. It can help individuals establish credibility in the field, and serve as an indicator of their investment in continuous learning. With the expectation of ongoing professional development to maintain and renew certification, potential clients and employers can be assured that an individual with the APTD certification values learning and performance improvement.

About the Author

Lisa Kahle-Piasecki is an associate professor of management at Tiffin University and has served as director of the Center for Teaching Excellence and chair of the management and marketing areas.

Lisa completed a PhD at the University of Toledo, with an area of concentration in human performance improvement, which is the study and ethical practice of improving productivity and competence in organizations. A performance improvement and talent development specialist, Lisa is a follower of systems theory and uses a systematic approach in solving performance problems. She is actively engaged in research and is a frequent presenter at both international and U.S. conferences. Her current research interests include performance solutions such as mentoring for performance improvement. She spent a summer living and teaching in Costa Rica, and has additional international teaching experience. She is on the board of directors of the Greater Toledo Chapter of the Association for Talent Development.

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