The CPLP: Driving Success

cplp_v3Celebrating its 16th birthday this year, the CPLP exam has established itself as the certification of choice for workplace learning professionals who meet the testing criteria of five years of experience in training related areas (your MATD counts toward this). The CPLP certification offers training professionals a way to demonstrate and communicate their mastery of the ATD competencies.

Even though our curriculum is mapped to the ATD competency model, our students and alumni still need to prepare for the exam.

To learn more about the updated exam visit the  CPLP Certification section of the ATD website. Also, check out an upcoming webinar on Friday, September 16th  CPLP CERTIFICATION: WHAT’S NEW? WHY NOW? 3 THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW .

If you plan to take the exam, here are ways to prepare:

  1. Review a free planning guide from ATD: CPLP Interactive Guide.
  2. If costs are not prohibitive, consider these resources:
    1. ATD Learning System: a comprehensive document that contains all potential content for the exam, with information about each area of expertise, review quizzes, and case studies. At a cost of nearly $500, this is an investment.
    2. Attend a two-day workshop offered by ATD for nearly $1,000 but registration also includes electronic access to the Learning System.
    3. Trish Uhl, a consultant who specializes in CPLP test preparation, offers access to content on her site, the Owl’s Ledge, for 30 days for around $100.
  3. For a no-cost or low-cost option, consider joining a study group. Study groups typically meet weekly for a period of time just before the exam. Study groups can be very motivating also a good way to get to know others in the field. Here is a list of study groups and contacts from Trish’s site.


Some study groups have created and published extensive content online that may also be helpful. See the Austin CPLP Study Group and the Atlanta CPLP Study Group wikis.

Most importantly, think about your learning style and formulate a plan that works for you. If you are a “social learner,” consider a class or a study group. If you are self-motivated and learn well from the text, you may benefit from the study guide or online content.  In any event, create a plan of action and plan to spend at least 5 hours per week preparing for at least 6 weeks prior to the test.

Check out related posts on our blog: Professional Designations: Do you need more letters after your name? and CPLP and You- Frequently Asked Questions Answered!

Questions for discussion. . .

  1. Are you considering the CPLP? If so, why or if not, why not?
  2. If you’ve taken the exam, can you offer words of wisdom about preparation?


  • I am currently participating in the virtual study group withe the ATD Piedmont chapter. It has been challenging and I am so glad I joined. I’m planning to take the test next month.

    My MATD has certainly helped, but I still have a lot of knowledge to gather! I hope to share a success story by the end of the year!!!

  • It’s so nice to hear from you Amy! Thanks for sharing the information about the virtual study group. All the best with the exam.

  • I am considering the CPLP, especially now when they have replaced work product with the Skills Application Exam. Another thing to keep in mind is CPLP requires ongoing re-certification (taking relevant professional development courses counts), so it’s a commitment not only in terms of studying upfront, but also in maintaining the certification going forward. I plan to look closely into CPLP and map out my preparation next summer, when I am closer to graduation.

    Amy, please share your CPLP journey here on the blog! I am sure many would be interested (I will!)

  • I believe that holding certifications in one’s field definitely lends an air of credibility and is attractive to employers and organizations. I hold two certifications in my current profession and I am contemplating a third. I am considering taking the CPLP exam once I’ve graduated. Ideally I will have been working a minimum of one year directly in the field because I also believe real-life experience is invaluable. Certification exams are usually very difficult and the candidate must be thoroughly prepared. This preparation provides the opportunity for the candidate to get up to speed with current best practices if not already, increasing their own knowledge base which can be applied to their work. Sometimes professionals can become stagnant in their learning and preparing for the CPLP exam will stimulate their interest and bring a fresh perspective to their everyday responsibilities on the job. Joining study groups can renew interest in networking which might have been neglected over time. Perhaps one of the best outcomes of certification is that it will require continuing education in order to re-certify. This will ensure that the candidate remains current in best practices and competent in the field.

    I’d love to hear from those who are certified and what their thoughts are about the amount of preparation, the exam itself and the impact on their career after passing.

  • I would definitely be interested in CPLP certification at the appropriate time. As I am just starting out in my career, it will take me a few years to become eligible. My primary focus is completing my MATD, and then I can move on to the next level. I am an ATD national and local chapter member, and I keep an eye on all educational opportunities so I can hit the ground running when the opportunity becomes available. Thanks for the great post!

  • Can a MATD student at Roosevelt take the exam without taking the courses through ATD? Is the degree enough? Thanks!

  • I go back and forth on the idea of getting my CLP and my PHR. I feel like these certifications are important, but I also feel like I will have a Masters degree in OD and I think that something like that also shows my interest in growing in our profession.
    Lol, I am a fence rider, but I can also state firmly that if my place of employment offered to pay for my CLP, I would be even more interested. At the end of the day I will say that doing anything to grow professionally is important. I also believe that as training professionals having a CLP would not only set you apart from others, but it also adds a level of professionalism to our field, which is important.

  • One of my career goals is to complete the CLPL as part of personal development. Thank you for posting information and it’s good to know that the MATD program prepares us for the exam.

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