APICS Certification in Logistics, Transportation and Distribution (CLTD)

As you progress in your supply chain management (SCM) or logistics career, you might consider pursuing professional certifications. APICS certification, in reality four separate certifications to qualified professionals, are certifications from an organization at the forefront of worldwide logistics training and credentials. Becoming certified in Logistics, Transportation and Distribution (CLTD) through APICS is a great way to accentuate your career, prove your skills and abilities to employers and increase your potential income.

What is APICS?

The acronym APICS stands for the American Production and Inventory Control Society. APICS is part of the larger APICS family which consists of 33 national societies with worldwide membership. The Society’s mission includes producing and distributing research, education, events, publications and networking opportunities for individuals working in supply chains. APICS also has chapters all over the world where professionals can network face to face.

The organization is now known as the Association for Supply Chain Management (ASCM) International. The APICS family of organizations is one of the largest SCM networks, providing more members with access to professional opportunities and resources than any other group in North America.

By joining the Association for Supply Chain Management, you will have access to advanced education, events and professional development opportunities. The organization has a wide range of certifications available for professionals in the supply chain industry. This includes Lean Six Sigma Green Belt, Six Sigma Black Belt and Project Management Professional (PMP).

What is APICS Certification?

APICS is a non-profit, international association that provides educational programs and credentials to promote excellence in supply chains management. The Professional Strategic Business Leadership (PSBL) program, one of the many training options available through APICS, includes certification at different levels: APICS Certified Logistics, Transportation and Distribution Specialist (CLTD), APICS certified Supply Chain Logistics Professional (SCLP), APICS certified Transportation and Distribution Manager (TDM) and the APICS certified Supply Chain Management Professional (ACSCP). The requirements to take the certification tests are based on hours of professional education, experience in the field or other qualifications.

What does it mean to be CLTD Certified?

The APICS CLTD certification shows that the holder has reached a certain level of knowledge and expertise in SCM. Certification demonstrates your knowledge, skills and ability to manage the movement of goods through the supply chain. It is meant to aid employers or other potential clients understand that you are qualified for specific employment opportunities or contract work.

Why Pursue a CLTD Certification?

Earning your CLTD shows others in the SCM field that you are prepared to meet today’s demands, especially pertaining to transportation and distribution. APICS sets the standard for training and certification in logistics, so a CLTD marks your name with exceptional skills and knowledge. Recipients of this credential are able to display the “CLTD” designation after their name on professional materials.

This program is especially designed for:

  • Logistics managers and engineers
  • Supply chain logistics managers
  • Traffic managers
  • Transportation and fleet managers
  • Warehouse operations and distribution managers
  • Reverse logistics managers

Eligibility Requirements

To take the CLTD exam, you must have at least three years of professional logistics or supply chain management experience, a bachelor’s degree in SCM or an international degree that is equivalent to a U.S. bachelor’s degree. Another way to qualify for the test is by receiving prior APICS certification in CSCP, CPIM, CFPIM, CIRM, SCOR-P, CTL, C.P.M., CSM or CPSM. This prior certification must be in good standing in order to make you eligible for the exam.

Is the APICS CLTD worth it?

Many companies and organizations recognize the importance of APICS certification, which is why it holds great value for those who possess CLTD or other designations. For example, this credential demonstrates your knowledge to potential employers. This shows that you are qualified to meet certain requirements like safety regulations and service level agreements (SLAs).

This also strengthens companies’ internal processes. Organizations can utilize these certifications to verify that their employees are qualified for potential opportunities within the company. As a result, employers gain an edge over other companies in terms of supply chain management experience.

APICS certification also provides professionals with many advantages, including:

  • Enhancement of personal skills, knowledge and expertise
  • Recognition from peers and colleagues
  • Leveraging certification when applying for jobs or contracts

In the long run, CLTD certification is a significant investment in your career and knowledge. It’s also an investment that can enhance your company’s infrastructure and supply chain management process.

Exam Content

To earn your CLTD certification, you must pass one exam consisting of 150 questions. This is a computer-based test (CBT), and you are allowed three and a half hours for completion. There are eight modules that make up the test, as follows:

  • Logistics and Supply Chain Overview
  • Capacity Planning and Demand Management
  • Order Management
  • Inventory and Warehouse Management
  • Transportation
  • Global Logistics Considerations
  • Logistics Network Design
  • Reverse Logistics and Sustainability

The Logistics and Supply Chain Overview module includes a basic understanding supply chain logistics topics such as of capacity planning and demand management, order management, customer relationship management, inventory and warehouse management and general business strategy.

The Capacity Planning and Demand Management module includes sub-modules devoted to transportation, inventory management and production planning.

The Order Management module deals with sales and operations planning, procurement and procurement planning, how to prepare efficient forecasts and optimize procurement strategies and the procurement environment.

The Inventory and Warehouse Management module includes sub-modules devoted to inventory management and warehouse operations, including the controlling processes aimed at protecting inventory physically and protecting inventory value. The inventory management module touches on warehouse storage and retrieval, location and layout, physical flow and material handling. This module also reviews a materials management systems for visibility of status. The warehouse operations module deals with the process of order filling, including receiving goods from suppliers, shipping customer orders, managing inventory/materials flow and other related processes.

The Transportation module focuses on the different types of transportation used in the industry, as well as how each can impact costs. The materials covered include air, rail, ground and ocean shipping methods and transportation lanes, as well as contract negotiations with carriers and third-party logistics providers (3PLs) and the role of 3PLs in global shipping.

The Global Logistics Considerations module deals with global logistics trends as well as international trade agreements, including the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Logistics professionals are expected to understand what is beneficial for their company when entering or leaving foreign markets.

Logistics Network Design is broken down into sub-modules that are related to procurement, production planning, inventory management, capacity planning and transportation. It should be noted that this module is updated often so you should check the APICS website for updates.

The Reverse Logistics and Sustainability module includes sub-modules that are devoted to reverse logistics, packaging and energy management.

Exam Preparation

APICS recommends that you prepare for the exam by purchasing the APICS CLTD Learning System, which is specially designed to help you succeed on the test. For APICS PLUS members, the Learning System costs $895, and for CORE members or nonmembers, it costs $1,245. You can instead opt to purchase the CLTD Bundle, which consists of the Learning System, the Exam and a Second Chance Exam. The Bundle is only available to APICS PLUS members.

Other preparation options include instructor-led online courses of study through the American Public University System (APUS) or in-person classes at one of the 200 available local APICS chapters.

The APICS CLTD Learning System is divided into four modules that you can complete in any order. The first module consists of two parts: “Foundational Learning” and “System Learning.” There are also three exercises to help you master the fine points of each topic covered. You must pass all these tests with a score of at least 88 percent correct to move on to the next module. The second module, “Domain Learning,” has 18 major topics. Here you must pass provide proof of your mastery of these items by taking practice exams and scoring at least 80 percent on each test. Each practice exam consists of 40 questions randomly selected from a bank of approximately 500 questions.

The first two modules of the APICS Learning System – the Foundational and System modules – prepare you for your CLTD exam. If you do not pass these modules successfully, you can still take the test but will need to retake them as well as pay the registration fee again.

The third module of the Learning System consists of two more tests: a final “Mastery Test” and the full “CLTD Exam.” These tests are practice exams that mirror the actual CLTD exam in terms of content, length and number of questions. If you answer all questions correctly on this module, you will be ready to pass the CLTD exam.

If for any reason you do not successfully complete the second test in the third module, you can either purchase an additional CLTD practice exam or retake the practice exams from modules 1 and 2 (Foundational and System).

The fourth and final module of the Learning System consists of a CLTD Flashcard Study Program. The program provides you with lists of terms and definitions that will help you to memorize terms you are likely to encounter on your exam.

After successfully completing the CLTD Learning System, you are ready to take the full test. Additional fees apply if you fail any of these tests or need to retake them for any reason.

Preparing with Instructor-Led Education

If you would prefer to attend an in-person training session to prepare for your CLTD exam, you can take an APICS chapter course led by an APICS-approved instructor.

The American Public University System (APUS) also offers two online courses that prepare students to pass the CLTD exam: “APICS Certified in Production and Inventory Management” and “APICS: Certified Lean Six Sigma Green Belt.”

APICS recommends that candidates for the CLTD exam take both an APICS Lean/Six Sigma course and an APICS Supply Chain Management course in preparation for their test. Each instructor-led online course costs $595 per student, which includes one free retake of each exam within 30 days of the original date of purchase, and the green belt course also includes a free retake of the certification exam.

APICS Membership and Exam Fees

How much is the CLTD exam? There is no fee to apply for eligibility to take the CLTD exam. However, being an APICS member will give you a reduced price on training materials, which are highly recommended for success. An APICS PLUS membership costs $220 per year while an APICS CORE membership costs $180 per year. Discounted prices are available for new graduates and members of the military.

Those who are eligible to take the CLTD test must purchase an Authorization to Test (ATT), which comes at a reduced fee for APICS PLUS members. The ATT is valid for six months after purchase, meaning you have that long to take the test. Test fees are as follows:

  • $475 for APICS PLUS Members
  • $625 for Core Members and nonmembers
  • $250 to retake a failed exam

Where to Find More Information

For general knowledge and registration information, visit the general CLTD section of the APICS website. There is also a wealth of detailed information regarding the APICS CLTD exam in the APICS credential FAQ section of the APICS credentials website.

The ASCM also offers a CLTD-F Fellowship program for those who have already achieved CLTD certification.

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