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ATD Blog

The APTD: You Asked, We Delivered, You Succeeded

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Congratulations to Our New APTD Credential Holders

The results are in! Successful candidates in the first group of applicants for the new ATD Associate Professional in Talent Development (APTD) have been awarded their credentials.

The APTD is designed for talent development professionals with at least three years of experience. The credential can be achieved in as little as five months and focuses on three main areas of expertise: instructional design, training delivery, and learning technologies. To receive the credential, candidates must pass a 115-question exam. To maintain their credential, APTDs need to obtain 40 hours of continuing education every three years.

You may be wondering what we learned from the first group of candidates who took the exam. Here are some statistics from our first group of successful candidates:

How much work experience do they have? Roughly half of the candidates had three to five years of experience, 32 percent had six to 10 years of experience, and another 22 percent had more than 10 years of experience in talent development.

What is their span of control? Fifty-eight percent listed themselves as individual contributors. About 28 percent described themselves as managers, supervisors, or team leaders.

What is the focus of their role? Thirty-seven percent of our candidates reported that their main responsibility was training delivery, 26 percent reported that instructional design was their major focus, and 14 percent focused primarily on managing learning programs.

Why did people decide to get the APTD credential? Many of our new credential holders were looking at the APTD certification as a way to leverage their knowledge and grow their skills to advance in their career. Others pursued it as a way to validate their expertise. Our first candidate group reported that they learned a lot while studying for the exam and valued connecting with their peers throughout the process.


How long did it take to prepare? The typical successful candidate took 41-60 hours to prepare for the exam using various tools, including the APTD Learning System, an APTD prep course, and study groups formed locally.

What was the pass rate? The pass rate for this first group of applicants for the APTD was about 70 percent.

How many hold this credential? We now have 99 newly minted professionals with the APTD. See the February issue of TD magazine or this link for the names of our new APTDs.

What was the experience like for this first group of candidates? We’ll let them speak for themselves. Here are some comments from our newest credential holders:

“I really enjoyed exposure to the different learning theories and instructional methods, and I have already applied my learning on the job! As a former teacher and current trainer, I thought I knew a lot. I expected to be challenged and learn more . . . and my APTD journey did not disappoint! Thank you!”


—APTD Candidate

“The most valuable experience is knowing that my master's degree, knowledge base, and application of various learning theories and principles is in line with what is expected for someone to be able to validate their knowledge and expertise through the APTD certification.”

—APTD Candidate

“[The APTD] allowed me to measure myself against my peers, reassured me that I have some measurable competency, and reinforced my decision to enter into and stick with the talent development field.”

—Kristin Gebhart, APTD

So, if you’re considering pursuing a credential in talent development, take a look at the APTD. For more information on ATD’s newest credential, check out this page or email me at [email protected].

About the Author

Sue Kaiden is senior project manager, credentialing for the ATD Certification Institute. In this role, she supports candidates throughout the decision and preparation process and manages recertification for APTD and CPTD credential holders. Prior to joining the CI team, she served as manager of the career development community at ATD where she oversaw content and services related to career development, including ATD's Job Bank.

She is the author of “Keeping Your Career on Track” (TD at Work) and the editor of Find Your Fit: A Practical Guide to Landing a Job You'll Love, a book written with 16 top-notch career coaches, published in October 2016. Kaiden holds a master of business administration degree from Cornell University and achieved the Associate Professional in Talent Development (APTD) in 2019.

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