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Learning and development (L&D) professionals can sharpen their skills with certifications in the learning, training and development professional arenas. And the pressure’s certainly on to be sharp in these workplace arenas.

The Harvard Business Review reported last fall that three quarters of 1,500 managers in 50 organizations were dissatisfied with their company’s learning and development function. Further, Gartner found that while CEOs and human resources leaders ask L&D professionals to upskill and reskill employees, 70% of employees report they do not have mastery of the skills they need for their jobs.

We’ve gathered some learning and development certifications and ways to upskill to help L&D professionals keep up-to-date with these functions in the workplace. By no means is this an exhaustive list built for all learning & development professionals but certainly are investments to consider.

Certified Professional in Training Management (CPTM)

According to the CPTM website, this certification focuses on the skills and competencies of the training manager and aligning learning and development plans to the goals of the organization. 

Rolf Bax, human resources manager at, said he recommends this certification, which is meant for those who are interested in becoming employee training managers. It’s full of the skills required for designing and managing the training programs. The course revolves around the four key learning areas that include:

  • Responsibilities of the training manager.
  • Best practices to build a trained organization.
  • Tool and models required for smarter training decisions.
  • Tools and methods to deal with the regular training-related tasks.

“The certification will upskill the HR professionals in a variety of fields and at every level of seniority,” Bax said. Besides training managers and HR professionals, all the leaders of the organization and everyone working their best to produce the high results can get the benefit out of this certification, Bax added.

There is no prerequisite for this certification, but you will get the certification only if you pass the final exam. The exam is about 100 multiple-choice questions, and you just need to score a minimum of 70% to earn the certification.

Related Article: Top Skills and Traits of a Chief Learning Officer

Project Management Professional (PMP)

A Project Management Professional (PMP) is recognizes the ability to manage projects — something learning professionals are constantly doing — according to the Project Management Institute (PMI). 

PMP applications must have, according to PMI:

  • A four-year degree.
  • 36 months leading projects.
  • 35 hours of project management education/training or CAPM Certification.

They could also meet these requirements as an alternative:

  • A high school diploma or an associate’s degree (or global equivalent).
  • 60 months leading projects.
  • 35 hours of project management education/training or CAPM Certification.

PMP is usually pursued by people who have at least 10-plus years of industry experience, according to Neeraj Arya of PMExperto. "It is well accepted across the globe," he added. "Many companies recruit only PMP certified people for project management job roles."

“I may be biased here but PMP is definitely one of the best learning and development certifications,” said Praveen Malik, PMP, who helps prepare people for the PMP exam. “It is the most respected and most sought after professional certification in the world. It is awarded after passing a very tough exam. Only about 70,000 get certified in a year. Above everything else, the certification teaches gives you the best practices and current trends in project management. It adds value to your job, career and helps you to build a strong network.’

ATD Certified Professional in Learning and Performance (CPLP)

The CPLP by the Association for Talent Development (ATD) measures talent development professionals’ competency in 10 areas of expertise (AOEs) “with a focus on global mindset as defined by the latest ATD Competency Model,” according to the ATD website. The areas covered includes:

  • Training delivery
  • Instructional design
  • Learning technologies
  • Evaluating learning impact
  • Managing learning programs
  • Integrated talent management
  • Coaching
  • Knowledge management
  • Change management
  • Performance improvement

All CPLP candidates must according to the ATD:

  • Have at least five years of related work experience and should have deep knowledge and experience applying the principles for enhancing employee learning and performance.
  • Be able to apply talent development principles and practices globally, across cultures and borders, as defined by the Foundational Competency: Global Mindset in the ATD Competency Model.

Related Article: 6 Learning and Development Practices for a Distributed Workforce

Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR)

HCRI offers a Senior Professional in Human Resources among its many human resources-related certifications. There are a litany of HR certifications, and this one covers learning and development, including:

  • Developing training, development and employee retention strategies (modes of delivery, timing, content).
  • Analyzing business needs to develop a succession plan for key roles (for example: identify talent, outline career progression, coaching and development).
  • Developing and evaluating employee retention strategies and practices (for example: assessing talent developing career paths, managing job movement within the organization).

To be eligible for the SPHR you must meet one of the following conditions for education and experience:

  • Have at least four years of experience in a professional-level HR position and a Master’s degree or higher.
  • Have at least five years of experience in a professional-level HR position and a Bachelor’s degree.
  • Have at least seven years of experience in a professional-level HR position and a high school diploma.

Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP)

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) offers a variety of certifications in the human resources field. One of them is the Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP) certification, an advanced training and development course. The SHRM recommends that HR leaders who develop strategies, analyze performance metrics and align HR strategies to organizational goals should go for the SHRM-SCP exam.

Eligibility requirements include:

  • Less than a bachelor’s degree (working toward a bachelor’s degree, associate’s degree, some college, qualifying HR certificate program, high school diploma, or GED): six years in HR role in an HR-related program; or seven years in HR roll in a non-HR program.
  • Bachelor’s degree: four years in HR role if degree is HR-related; or five years in HR role for those with a non-HR-related degree.
  • Graduate degree: three years in HR role if degree is HR-related; or four years in HR role for those with a non-HR-related degree.