Frequently asked questions

What is CPD?

CPD is a personal commitment to keeping your professional knowledge up to date and improving your capabilities. It focuses on what you learn and how you develop throughout your career. You're probably already doing it, but by formally recording your learning you'll show that you're actively committed to the development of your career. Perhaps the most important message is that one size doesn’t fit all. Wherever you are in your career now and whatever you want to achieve, your CPD should be exactly that: yours.

What do I need to do?

We recommend you review your learning over the previous 12 months and set your development objectives for the coming year. Reflecting on the past and planning for the future in this way makes your development more methodical and easier to measure. You may already be doing this as part of your development review with an employer.

How much CPD do I need to do?

Our approach is based on reflecting on learning that focuses on outcomes and results, rather than 'time spent' or 'things done'. There are no rules about the amount of CPD you should record, but you should clearly demonstrate how you have developed and what you are now able to contribute that you couldn't before.

Why should I do CPD?

As a professional, you have a responsibility to keep your skills and knowledge up to date. CPD helps you turn that accountability into a positive opportunity to identify and achieve your own career objectives. CPD is an opportunity to do yourself some good; the nature and scale of the benefit depends entirely on you. The credibility of our profession is based on the willingness of each professional to embrace new skills, knowledge and experience.

Does learning outside work count?

Absolutely. If you do something or learn something outside work that provides a new perspective, adds to your confidence or improves your interpersonal skills inside work, it counts. It’s not what you learn, so much as how you can use it.

Is there a minimum number of hours of training I have to do?

There are very few things that you ‘have to do’ with CPD. We don’t specify a minimum number of hours of training, or even the kind of learning experience you should have. Again, it’s what works for you – and what’s relevant to you. When we go out and talk to people about CPD at conferences and events, members are sometimes surprised to find that they’re already doing effective CPD and (assuming they have the right experience) qualifying for a higher grade of membership.

What if I don't have the time?

One of the most common misconceptions about CPD is that it takes extra effort over and above your normal daily activities to deliver results. Actually, the most effective personal development is the kind that flows from the experiences and challenges you encounter in your everyday role. Some people set aside a regular hour or so a week to reflect on what they’ve done and plan development, many others incorporate it seamlessly into the way they work, as a way of ‘looking at the world’. Many members find that they’re already doing CPD without realising it – it’s just a question of ‘feeling the benefit’.

Is there a form or template I need to use?

There isn’t a rigid template for planning and recording CPD activity. We’ve developed a suite of key questions that will help you reflect on past learning and plan for the future. We also provide tools and examples to show you how other people go about recording CPD. But we’re keen that you adopt an approach that works for you.

How should I present my CPD for upgrading?

There are two parts to the CPD process. Both parts need to be satisfied to meet the criteria for upgrading. These are:

  • CPD development record - this lists the activities that you’ve carried out during the last 12 months, with an explanation of why they were undertaken, what was learned and how this learning was or is to be applied.
  • CPD development plan - this sets out your aims and objectives and your proposed action for the next 12 months. It must include resources required, success criteria and target dates for review and completion.
  • Find out more about upgrading to Chartered Membership

Is it only for people who are upgrading to Chartered Membership?

Every member of the CIPD is expected to do CPD, not just people who are upgrading their membership. In fact, all professionals have a duty to keep their skills and knowledge up to date. As your experience and expertise grow, we hope that you choose to upgrade to chartered membership because this strengthens the credibility of our profession as well as underwriting your credentials as a competent practitioner. This is what those letters after your name really stand for. They mark you out as someone who is committed to continuous learning and aspires to the highest quality of practice.

Is it only for people who are chasing promotion?

We live and work in a changing world so, as professionals, we all need to keep our knowledge up to date. There’s no doubt that CPD could help you achieve specific ambitions, but it can also help you be more confident and productive in your current role. Personal development is every bit as relevant to people who are happy where they are, as to those who are scaling the corporate ladder.

What if it's not relevant to me and my situation?

The whole point about CPD is that it focuses on meeting your needs and objectives as a professional. Continuing development is not a distraction, it helps you keep your eye on the ball – you learn the things you want to know and then you apply what you learn to the challenges you need to tackle. Different working arrangements offer different learning contexts. For example, self-employed consultants may well encounter fresh opportunities for CPD with every new project or assignment.