Thursday, April 20, 2017 - by Randy Thompson
When I started my CPLP journey, I really didn’t know what the Certified Professional in Learning and Performance certification was. I was familiar with ATD and had taken several classes and webcasts from them over the years. At that point in my career, I was looking for something to further develop my skills. CPLP seemed as if it would help me do that. My employer had set aside some money for my professional development that year. I looked on ATD’s website and came across information on the CPLP and a workshop in Denver. I attended the workshop thinking that I would get a certificate at the end, and life would be good. Little did I know what I had gotten myself into.
Within the first few minutes of the workshop, I quickly realized this was going to be more than a workshop. It was going to be a very long and challenging task of passing two exams . What had I gotten myself into? Being the type of person who doesn’t quit, I decided to pursue the certification. I immediately began networking with the people in my class because I knew I was going to need some help. We formed a study group, which ended up being tremendously helpful in my study regimen. I also took and retook all the practice exams I could find or buy. I studied like I had never studied before.
With a degree in education and more than 20 years in the learning and development profession, I thought I had mastered everything there was to know in our field. Boy, was I wrong. After four months of studying, even while on my 20-year anniversary trip to Hawaii with my wife, I took the Knowledge Exam and passed. First hurdle cleared.
When I prepared for the CPLP, the second exam was a Work Product submission which has since been replaced with the Skills Application Exam (SAE). I decided on instructional design. This area of our profession is something I have experience in doing, but I have never had the title of instructional designer. I wanted to prove to myself that I had the knowledge and skills needed in this area. Thankfully I had a project in progress with my employer that was perfect . My company had asked me to develop a training program for new contact center trainers. I needed to prove to the CPLP raters that I not only had the right skills for designing curriculum, but also was teaching trainers how to be trainers. It was a unique dynamic. But, in the end, it worked out perfectly.
Waiting for the results was horrendous. I am not a patient person, and this part of the process tested me to the very core. The week I was expected to receive the results, I was on a business trip. The week quickly passed by with no results. Friday came and I was on a plane home, anxiously watching my email. Upon arriving home, I had still not received the results. My mind started racing with thoughts of doom and destruction. ATD was going to tell those who didn’t pass last. I fired up my laptop and did some work for a couple of hours. Then, it happened. I finally got the email containing the news I was looking for. My heart raced and my hand shook as I clicked the on the email. But after a quick scan, I saw the word I was looking for: passed! Tears of joy quickly started flowing. I could now celebrate my accomplishment. I had planned a trip to Las Vegas that weekend with my two older boys to attend the 50th birthday celebration of the Ford Mustang. I still have fond memories of Elvis singing “Viva Las Vegas” from my car radio and the growl of my 2013 Mustang GT 5.0’s engine as it tore down the highway through the Mojave desert while I relished my CPLP accomplishment.
Going through the CPLP process, I learned that there was a lot about the learning and development profession that I didn’t know. In all the training and formal education I have received over the years, I learned the most from my CPLP journey. I am the first person in my organization to receive the CPLP certification. My employer watched me go through the certification process and recognized the value this certification brought to the business.
In a way, the CPLP was not a journey I meant to take. But I’m grateful I did. It has boosted my confidence and increased my prospects for a brighter future.
Learn more about the CPLP Certification.