The importance of continuing professional development

We are often asked to describe the importance of continuing professional development. Why is CPD important and why does it matter?

The importance of continuing professional development

  • You’ve finished your degree. Check.
  • You’ve completed all your practical experience requirements so that you can graduate. Check.
  • Your new job is all lined up and ready to go. Mission accomplished.

It’s fair to say the first part of your mission is well and truly accomplished.  Sit back and give yourself a pat on the back. But don’t take too long about it or you’ll be lagging behind your colleagues. The same is true for professionals with many years experience in the workplace.

Continuing professional development is important because it ensures you continue to be competent in your profession. It is an ongoing process and continues throughout a professional’s career.

The ultimate outcome of well planned continuing professional development is that it safeguards the public, the employer, the professional and the professional’s career.

Well crafted and delivered continuing professional development is important because it delivers benefits to the individual, their profession and the public.

  • CPD ensures  your capabilities keep pace with the current standards of others in the same field.
  • CPD ensures that you maintain and enhance the knowledge and skills you need to deliver a professional service to your customers, clients and the community.
  • CPD ensures that you and your knowledge stay relevant and up to date. You are more aware of the changing trends and directions in your profession. The pace of change is probably faster than it’s ever been – and this is a feature of the new normal that we live and work in. If you stand still you will get left behind, as the currency of your knowledge and skills becomes out-dated.
  • CPD helps you continue to make a meaningful contribution to your team. You become more effective in the workplace. This assists you to advance in your career and move into new positions where you can lead, manage, influence, coach and mentor others.
  • CPD helps you to stay interested and interesting.  Experience is a great teacher, but it does mean that we tend to do what we have done before.  Focused CPD opens you up to new possibilities, new knowledge and new skill areas.
  • CPD can deliver a deeper understanding of what it means to be a professional, along with a greater appreciation of the implications and impacts of your work.
  • CPD helps advance the body of knowledge and technology within your profession.
  • CPD can lead to increased public confidence in individual professionals and their profession as a whole.
  • Depending on the profession – CPD contributes to  improved protection and quality of life, the environment, sustainability, property and the economy.  This particularly applies to high risk areas, or specialised practice areas which often prove impractical to monitor on a case by case basis.

The importance of continuing professional development should not be underestimated – it is a career-long obligation for practising professionals.

Sometimes it is mandated by professional organisations or required by codes of conduct or codes of ethics. But at its core it is a personal responsibility of professionals to keep their knowledge and skills current so that they can deliver the high quality of service that safeguards the public and meets the expectations of customers and the requirements of their profession.

But continuing professional development should be engaging and fun too. Sometimes it’s difficult to find a relevant course that fits in with your other obligations.  Sometimes, as you walk out of a course or seminar it’s hard to assess what you have actually learned. Have you absorbed the necessary skills and will you be able to apply them correctly in your work?  Our online courses for continuing professional development, written by professionals for professionals and involving thoughtful online interaction with your peers, go a long way towards resolving these issues. Try our online courses on Project Management, Risk Management, Finance and the Environment which are available now.  Online courses on technical writing, and Sales and Marketing will be coming soon. And if you want to test the waters before you take the first step, enter our draw to win a free online course.  We run these offers regularly, and by signing up to our email newsletter at the bottom of the page you will be notified about new offers.


About the Author

Vivian’s career in professional engineering spanned 35 years of technical, business, management and governance experience. She draws on her industry experience to write articles that are practical and relevant to a wide range of readers. Her aim is to get you thinking and help you meet your continuing professional development requirements.


  1. Hellen Banda says:

    Hi nice paper am a teacher and can relate with the information provided. Thanks.

  2. Ian Gabriel Sanchez says:

    When was this published??

    • Site Manager says:

      This was first published on Jul 15, 2012. (But we notice there are now at lot of “copies” of this article that have not been attributed back to our original article.)

  3. Dennis says:

    Practising is spelt with an ‘s’ not a ‘c’. Practice is the noun. Practise is the verb.

  4. allen Agabab says:

    Great Article .

  5. Ritesh Tularam says:

    Hi i am a phd scholar at the delhi university, Delhi India. i must say from the onset that your article is very informative and helpful. i am currently writing my thesis on CPD for Technical and Vocational Education Teachers in Guyana. i am very grateful for your insights and guidance regarding literature on the above topic.
    Thank you

  6. nolia says:

    i love this article it has helped me in my reseach…..jah bless

  7. NANSOBYA Catherine says:

    Thanks a lot dear.Am in a remote village inUganda and a friend called on me to tell his teachers about Professional development and why it’s core in this era. I borrowed a lot from this article. Thumbs up!

  8. Thelma S says:

    Thanks just researching to understand more about professional development and it really helped me. Thanks ma’am.A personal research from Papua New Guinea. God will richly bless you.

  9. I FOUND THIS WEBSITE VERY HELPFUL.It help me with my health and social care assignment.

  10. Earnest Watkins says:

    I like how you point out that continuing your professional development can help you maintain and enhance the skills necessary for your field. I’ve been looking into ways that I can become more secure in my career. I’ll definitely look into some CPD courses to help me refine some of the skills I already have.

  11. Lori Brandon says:

    I would love to share this article with the Minnesota Paralegal Association in its monthly members publication with the author’s permission. How do I go about getting permission to reprint?

    • Site Manager says:

      Hi Lori, Thanks for asking, we have emailed you separately to organise permission, and also to make a special offer just for your organisation.

  12. Mary Gwen Segismar Sido says:

    Very informative and so helpful. Thanks for this. God bless you

  13. Nkeiru says:

    Good job Vivian. A great and helpful resources for my conceptual framework.
    Thanks a lot

  14. Yuusuf says:

    We are grateful your contribution in the field of CPD.
    Many thanks since I benefited personally.

  15. Florence Chitulangoma says:

    I am doing a research project on CPD for my BA.

    Great site.

  16. obrin mulumba says:

    thank you vivian, the article was helpful,

  17. Esther Yeboah-adzimah says:

    very SMART Good work

  18. Victor Katulwa says:

    Very informative. Am pleased by your article.! Good work.!

  19. Abu says:

    What I have read about CPD from this web site is very interesting. The queries and comments from other readers are interesting too and as a believer in ‘life long learning’ I would like to be a member of that community.

  20. BARI says:

    Fantastic. Covered all aspects of the question. Thanks

  21. Bryan . O. Mc Almont says:

    Hoping that I am kept up to Date on the comming programmes.

  22. Samuel Olorunfemi says:

    I am a surveyor by profession i would like to be up to date with my career and other related disciplining .thanks.


    The articles were so inspiring to me.

  24. Peniel S says:

    Thanks for brilliant ideas

  25. Kumanya Julius Emmy says:

    I would want to do research for my PhD studies on the “The impact of CPD on performance in audit practices by members of the accountancy profession”

  26. Habibullah Ishaqi; FCPC, FRCSEng says:

    Dear Vivian Kloosterman;

    I am a consultant general surgeon and a student of MCPS-HPE, The College Of Physicians @ Surgeons, Pakistan, and a senior consultant surgeon in Health Dept., SKBZ Provential Teaching Hospital, Quetta/Pakistan which is a newly health provider and still all of the departments have not been been established. I have started a study of CPD in SKBZ Hospital and now preparing synopsis about it. So, my query from you is, how I can start my study in this hospital where I have my job responsibilities as a consultant, till can issue it as an article.
    Best wishes,
    Kind regards,
    Habibullah Ishaqi,

    • Hello and thanks for your enquiry. I understand from your comments that you are studying Health Professions Education and continuing professional development in a Teaching Hospital, where you are also working as a senior consultant surgeon, and that you want to prepare an article on CPD in the Teaching Hospital.

      It would help to know what your specific area of interest is. For example, Do you want to develop a Structure for a CPD Programme for the Health professionals at the Teaching Hospital? Or are you focusing on the barriers that need to be overcome to implement a CPD Programme? Or are you assessing relevant content that should be included in a CPD Programme? Or another topic? If you can let me know, I would be happy to help further if I can.

      As a comparison, it may help to look at some of our articles on CPD for Engineers in various countries. You can find them here.
      Kind regards

      • Shantheni says:

        I’d like your ideas on how you get people to engage in CPD. How does one sell the idea that CPD is the best and maybe only safeguard of one’s professional career. In a world that changes so fast, standing still is as good as signing your career. But at the core of this sits developing one’s professional practice leads to job satisfaction and higher performance

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