Continuing Professional Development (CPD) refers to the process of tracking and documenting the skills, knowledge and experience that you gain both formally and informally as you work, beyond initial tertiary training. It is a record of what you experience, learn and then apply in the workplace. The term is generally used to mean a record (or portfolio of evidence) documenting your development as a professional. Some organisations incorporate this in a training or skills development plan.
New developments are occurring at a rapid rate, technology is evolving and information is becoming more readily available in real-time settings. Professionals in various industries are required to continuously update their knowledge to acquire sufficient CPD points within a set amount of time so that they adhere with the regulations of their respective professional bodies. These professionals include, among others, veterinarians, teachers, engineers, doctors, nurses and IT practitioners.
It has become vital to keep industry-specific bodies of knowledge current and relevant to propel further innovation and establish a standard of best practice. The CPD accumulation process helps professionals manage their own development on an ongoing (lifelong) basis. They have to stay up-to-date with developments in the evolving market place, and they need to constantly evaluate, adapt and grow their knowledge skills set to maintain their professional status and/or to practice their profession.
The range of activities for acquiring CPD points varies among professional bodies, but the most common activities include training courses, workshops, conferences, online tests, lecturing, mentoring, self-study and a myriad of other learning activities.