What is continuing professional development?

What is the definition of continuing professional development? Continuing professional development (CPD) involves maintaining and enhancing the knowledge, skills and experience related to your professional activities following completion of your formal training.  Just as importantly, it involves the development of those personal qualities that are required for carrying out professional and technical duties during a professional’s life. Both technical and non-technical skills need to be developed.

Continuing professional development should be a lifelong, systematic and planned process to maintain and develop professional competence, creativity and innovation. The outcome has value for both the individual and their profession.

Any learning activity which maintains, develops or increases knowledge, technical skills, problem-solving or professional performance standards can be included in the continuing professional development toolbox. The over-arching goal is to provide top quality professional services.

Continuing professional development helps ensure your skills and knowledge are up to date. Undertaking high quality CPD is particularly important in today’s fast moving technological world as the pace of change can soon make previous learning out-of-date.

Most professions set requirements for on-going CPD for their licensed, registered or chartered professionals, so that they can demonstrate their current competence in their chosen field. This applies to the engineering, architectural, legal, medical and accounting professions to name a few. There are a number of methods for achieving CPD compliance. We’ll talk about both of these topics in later posts.


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.

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