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The Associate Professional in Talent Development (APTD)

Establish yourself in the talent development field.

How to Prepare for the APTD

There is no single, best way to prepare for the APTD examination. Preparation methods and duration all depend on a candidate’s personal experiences and knowledge base. There is not a mandatory test preparation or study requirement for the APTD program, nor a preferred preparation method. However, below are some basic steps that we recommend to all candidates, as well as resources to assist in your study plan. (Please note: Study materials are not included as part of your exam fee, other than the resources provided below. Additional study materials are optional and may incur a fee).

In post-exam surveys, candidate report that they have spent an average of 40-60 hours preparing for the exam and have allowed three to six months for the process, including taking the exam.

Watch Our Recent Webcast: Preparing for the APTD Exam (Panel)
If you are considering or planning to take the Associate Professional in Talent Development (APTD) exam, watch this webinar to hear from a panel of successful APTD candidates as they discuss different strategies for preparation.

Step 1: Assess Your Knowledge Level

Download and use the APTD exam content outline and gap assessment tool to identify strengths and prioritize areas for growth.

Step 2: Develop a Study Plan

How do you typically tackle something that you need to learn? Do you like to focus on the areas that you know the least about? Do you prefer working in groups? Do you dive into information in a deep, thorough way? Consider your learning preferences when identifying your best study options.

Step 3: Evaluate Preparation Resources

APTD Candidates use a variety of resources to prepare depending upon the way they study best.

  • APTD Study Planning Guide: This free APTD Study Planning Guide provides additional information about creating a study plan and preparing for the exam. Take APTD sample questions to get a feel for the type of questions asked on the exam.
  • ATD Certification Reading Reference List: This recommended reading list is designed to assist candidates in finding publications to aid in filling knowledge gap areas. Download the reading reference list.
  • Talent Development Body of Knowledge: The Talent Development Body of Knowledge (TDBoK) is the definitive resource for TD professionals and as such can be a valuable resource for individuals preparing for the APTD certification exam. If you enroll in an APTD prep course, the TDBoK is included with the cost of the program. (Please note, the cost of the preparation resources is not included in the exam registration fee.)
  • APTD Preparation Courses: The APTD Preparation Course is a comprehensive on demand self-paced course you can access through a 12-month subscription. In addition to the preparation course you can choose to add on a two-day preparation workshop to take a deeper dive on the content you need the most. Note: you cannot enroll for the preparation workshop unless you have already enrolled in the on demand preparation course. (Please note, the cost of the preparation resources is not included in the exam registration fee.)
  • Bookmark the Active Candidates Page: The active candidates page to find the most recent versions of the Candidate Handbook and other important documents.
  • APTD Candidate Preparation LinkedIn Group: Join our APTD Candidate Preparation LinkedIn Group for tips and resources.
  • Form Your Own Study Group: If there is not a convenient study group available to you, consider creating your own. This study group guide can help you to plan your group.

APTD Preparation Resources
Are you prepared for the APTD exam? Ensure success with these study tools.

The Talent Development Body of Knowledge is the definitive resource for the TD profession. It covers all 23 capabilities in the Talent Development Capability Model and can serve as an important resource for exam preparation.

On Demand Course

This on demand course helps a TD professional prepare for the APTD exam with content review, test prep strategies, a full practice exam, and more. It includes access to an expert facilitator and the Talent Development Body of Knowledge.

Add a live workshop to your on demand preparation course to take a deeper dive in the content you need most. Note: you must register for the course in order to enroll in this workshop.

Get advice to help you determine which type of preparation is best for you.
Send questions or request a conversation by emailing certification@td.org.
2021 Associate Professional in Talent Development (APTD) Certification Handbook
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