ATD Certification
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The Associate Professional in Talent Development (APTD)

Establish yourself in the talent development field.


The Associate Professional in Talent Development (APTD) is a professional certification for TD professionals with at least three years of experience—those who are in the early parts of their careers or whose professional roles and aspirations are focused on foundational areas of the field.

An APTD understands that well-designed talent development strategies and solutions contribute to organizational success and has a strong grounding in the foundational knowledge of the field.

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What Topics are Covered?

The APTD covers a subset of foundational knowledge from the Talent Development Capability Model and how to use that knowledge in talent development. It is focused on the capabilities required for successful performance by early career professionals. These areas were identified by the research as core building blocks for talent development professionals.

Download the current APTD content outline for a detailed overview of what knowledge and skill statements are covered on the new exam.

Who is It For?

The typical APTD credential holder has 3-5 years of experience in talent development. Fifteen percent of the candidates who have earned the APTD so far are in a management role.

Many of our APTD candidates are “accidental trainers” without formal education in training and development. Some work full time in the field, while others work half time.

Need to Convince Your Boss?

Download and use this letter template to have a discussion with your employer about the value of the APTD, and share these four reasons to support certification.

Unleash Your Potential
Increase confidence, validate knowledge, and advance your career with the APTD.
These people earned the APTD and have these great things to say about it!
Heather Reed
“Right away, as I began studying to become an APTD, I could apply the material to my work. Having a project to apply my studies to made all the difference. It...
Shermaine Perry
“The APTD journey has reenergized the work that I do. I have something new to bring to the table. It has provided me with a road map to implement what I...
Kristin Gebhart
"[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...
"To all the accidental trainers like myself who are looking to add legitimacy to their roles, expand their skillsets, or simply quiet the voices in their...

How Does the APTD Differ from the CPTD?

  • APTD covers a subset of the Talent Development Capability Model focused more on the knowledge statements than the skill and ability statements covered by the CPTD exam.
  • While both the APTD and CPTD exams are application-based, the APTD exam covers a more foundational set of knowledge and skills than the CPTD exam.
  • The APTD can be used as a stepping stone for the CPTD. APTD credential holders can take the CPTD with 4 years of experiene (vs. the standard 5 years required) and the APTD covers the professional development requirement for CPTD eligibility, should they pursue a CPTD certification in the future.

For more information about the APTD certification, please download the APTD Certification Handbook at the bottom of this page or email us at

Is This Certification Right for Me?
APTD credential holders share their stories.

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...

Compared with other professional development opportunities, I saw certification as having a much higher return on investment. The APTD really focused on the AOEs in my wheelhouse and daily work...

The impact of having the APTD credential is twofold in my mind. Of course, it signifies to others that I am technically competent in those areas of expertise. But more important, it allowed me to measure myself against my peers…

Get the advice you need to help you determine which certification is right for you!
Have questions? Download our FAQs or sign up for a zoom call to meet current APTDs and ask them your questions directly. Email with any lingering questions or to request a discussion with a Certification Specialist.
2021 Associate Professional in Talent Development (APTD) Certification Handbook
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