As a learning and performance professional, two options were available to me that would help me show my value to the industry and an employer. The two main certifying agencies at the time of my initial certification were the International Society for Performance Improvement (ISPI) and the Association for Talent Development (ATD). The ATD option was not only practical and grounded in the “real work,” like the ISPI exam, but went above and beyond the “training and development room” to include other areas of expertise for which I felt qualified.
I had two choices when selecting an ATD industry certification. The first was the Associate Professional in Talent Development (APTD), which tests individuals on three of the 10 Areas of Expertise (AOEs) from the ATD Competency Model and is typically for individuals with three to five years of experience in a role focusing on training development or instructional design. The Certified Professional in Learning and Performance (CPLP) measured my competence across the 10 areas of the Competency Model and included a focus on a global mindset. Successful predecessors reported “studying for and getting (their) CPLP designation was a tremendous growth opportunity, allowing (them) to both learn and give back to the profession, and make a positive impact on their careers.”
I chose the CPLP certification. Here’s how I demonstrate its values to myself and my company:
- The license allows me access to a large pool of resources from ATD, the L&D industry leader, which keeps me at the forefront of the industry. With this credential, I bring a body of knowledge and experience that is tested and proven by fewer than 4,000 persons worldwide. As part of this elite group, others in the industry know they can count on me to provide appropriate and focused counsel, direction, and guidance for their situation.
- As a CPLP credential holder, the scope of my work includes my ability to take the long view as well as look at tasks in a more holistic way. The CPLP is more than a piece of paper; it is an acknowledgment of my efforts, past and continual, to stay abreast of current trends in adult learning and learning theory and apply them where they make sense. By obtaining this certification, I provide a resource for expertise to others in the L&D field and also provide my employer with confidence that my work product will be professional, well thought-out, and in accordance with industry standards.
Among the benefits to my employer of having a CPLP on staff are that, in a recent study by Pearson and Firebrand, it was found that “organizations are increasingly seeing the value of proper training and certification. Many are investing in certifying their existing staffs (and) other organizations are including a certification requirement in their job postings.” This study, “The Value of Certification,” found that “a certification credential assures companies that an applicant is competent and professional.” The study maintains that with certification all parties benefit because:
- Certified individuals demonstrate professional credibility and confidence.
- Companies that hire certified individuals gain “stand-out” employees who can help them meet their organizational goals.
- There are public gains from the efficiency, innovation, and expertise of highly trained professionals.
The study indicates that professionals who obtain a specialized credential are typically more in-demand. “For hiring managers in any field, a certification demonstrates that an applicant is driven to achieve, shows commitment, and possesses validated knowledge and skills. Employers prefer to hire a certified candidate over one who is not certified”—thus, certification is a win-win proposition for organizations and certification recipients. It shows these employees as highly credible professionals who are serious about their careers, sets the bar for the profession, and allows a traditionally undervalued group of highly skilled individuals to stand out.