Continuing Professional Development (CPD)
If you are intending to take any of our non-accredited short courses for the purposes of CPD, we recommend that you read this page in order to fully understand how CPD operates in this context.
What is Continuing Professional Development (CPD)?
Continuing Professional Development is an ongoing process whereby a person updates and develops skills and understanding in relation to their occupation. Many professional bodies require CPD as a condition of membership, and many employers use CPD as part of their staff development programme.
There are no universally set criteria for CPD, because what counts as CPD for one person – given their level of development, working role and professional membership – may not count as CPD for someone else with a more advanced level of understanding, a different role, or the different CPD requirements of another professional body.
What are CPD credits and CPD hours?
Different organisations and professional bodies measure CPD for their own requirements in their own way. One workplace, for example, may say that a CPD 'credit' equates to one hour of study, whereas another workplace may define one CPD credit to be worth ten hours of study. Neither of these definitions are 'wrong' – it is rather that CPD and what it means is defined at a local and individual level, for the very reason that it is about specific and individual professional development.
So as CPD credits mean different things to different people, where our courses offer CPD we refer to CPD hours rather than credits for the sake of clarity.
What is the difference between CPD credits and academic credits?
CPD credits refer to a number of hours of study completed (as described above), but these hours are not formally assessed (i.e. graded). Academic credits are different because they are awarded following the assessment of a student's work – i.e. in order to gain academic credits you would need to pass an essay or exam or some other kind of test, and then these credits could be used towards an award such as a cerficate, diploma or degree.
Our non-accredited courses do not offer essays or exams – your work on these courses will receive feedback from the tutor, but it will not be formally assessed, and so while some of these courses may offer CPD hours which can be used as CPD credits, none of these courses awards any academic credits.
Is the CPD certificate the same as the certificate of completion?
No. Students studying our courses receive a certificate of course completion during the August that follows the end of the course (if you require an earlier certificate this can be arranged). The CPD certificate also serves as a certificate of completion, but in addition to this it verifies that you have done some extra work. If you simply want to receive a certificate of completion, then you do not need to follow the CPD option.
Studying courses with CPD hours
Some of our courses offer CPD hours. This means that on such a course you will have the option (for no further fee) of completing some work which will demonstrate up to 30 hours of study, and the tutor will look at your work and verify that you have done this. To be clear – CPD hours are not 'assessed', you will not have to pass a test, and completing CPD hours in this way does not mean that you will have been awarded academic credits, nor gained a qualification; what it does mean is that you will have a tutor-verified record of a period of study that you have undertaken. Some places of employment and professional bodies require this as evidence for CPD.
How do I know if a course offers CPD hours?
If a course offers CPD hours it will say so in a line just underneath the course title.
How do I know if a course is appropriate for CPD in my profession / place of work?
This is a decision that you will need to make in conjuction with your employer, or on the advice of the professional body that you are completing CPD for. We will be happy to answer any questions you may have about course content, but as CPD is such an individually tailored undertaking with a wide range of possible requirements, we cannot advise as to the appropriateness of a particular course for a particular person for this purpose.
Some forms of CPD require, for example, that you take an accredited course (where you would pass an exam) – in this case our non-accredited courses would not be appropriate. Other forms of CPD require you to find out more about a topic in a structured way, in which case these courses would likely be appropriate. Only you and your employer can ultimately make this decision.
What work will I need to do in order to gain CPD hours?
Each course is different in this regard, so you will need to refer to the webpage of the course in question on this website, scroll down to the CPD section, and refer to the guidelines given there.
Please note that some courses do not accept late entrants onto the CPD option. Where this is the case it will be stated on the course page, and on the purchasing webpage for the course in the Online Store.
I am not interested in CPD – I simply want to study the course – can I register on a course that offers CPD hours without doing the CPD hours?
Yes. CPD hours are offered to those who wish to undertake this work for their CPD requirements, but it's perfectly ok to study the couse without taking this option. Courses that offer CPD have a mix of CPD and non-CPD students.
I would like to study one of your courses for the purposes of CPD – but it doesn't offer CPD hours...
All of our courses offer a certificate of completion, which is issued during the summer holiday following the end of the course. Some employers and professional bodies will be very happy to accept this as sufficient for your CPD requirement. We would advise you to check with your employer, prior to registration, as to whether this will be sufficient for that purpose.
How to do I sign up to do a course for the purposes of CPD?
Simply register in the usual way. There is no need to indicate that you will be studying for CPD when you register. If you are studying a course that offers CPD hours you should indicate to your tutor that you are studying for CPD when you begin the course, at which point they will advise you on what you need to do.
If you are studying a course that does not offer CPD hours (but you are studying it for the purposes of CPD) then there is no need to indicate this to your tutor. You will simply study in the usual way, using your certificate of completion as evidence of work undertaken, having previously agreed with your employer or professional body that this will be sufficient evidence of study undertaken.