Continuing professional development (CPD) is the term used to describe learning activities practitioners engage in to develop and enhance their abilities. It aims to make learning a conscious and proactive process, rather than passive and reactive.

CPD is any learning experience that can be used for maintaining and improving competence, knowledge and skills to ensure that practitioners have the ability to practise safely, effectively and legally within their scope of practice.

CPD is an ongoing process of assessment, planning, action and evaluation. Although assessment is often the starting-point, learning can occur at other points in the process, and can also be recorded as CPD.


How do I identify my learning needs?

Are there areas in your work that you feel less confident about? Can you think of knowledge or skills that might help you improve? Supervision can be a good place to discuss your learning needs, and also appraisals if you have them. Once you have identified a few learning needs it can help to ask the following questions:

  • How relevant is the learning need to my practice?
  • What sorts of learning activities might meet my learning need?
  • How will I know if I have successfully met my learning need?
  • What are appropriate timescales to meet my learning need?

These questions can help you to prioritise your CPD activities.

How many hours of CPD should I complete?

The focus should be on what you have learnt and how it has affected your practice. Your profession and workplace may also dictate how much CPD you should complete. However, we would expect Advanced Members to be involved in at least 5 different CPD activities of which at least half should be related to the addictions field. This can include psychosocial interventions relevant to the addictions field including motivational interviewing and cognitive behavioural therapy approaches, as well as knowledge-based activities.

What sort of activities can I record as CPD?

A wide range of activities can count towards CPD including:

  • formal education, lectures, seminars and courses
  • conferences - attending or giving presentations
  • e-learning and webinars
  • in-service training
  • mentoring
  • reading books, journals, internet articles, and relevant TV/ radio/ podcasts
  • supervising research
  • workshops
  • work shadowing
  • writing articles or papers

Please note, attendance at peer support groups such as Narcotics Anonymous and Alcoholics Anonymous, is not included as CPD unless it is to observe the process for learning purposes. Routine clinical supervision is also not included as CPD.

How do I record CPD?

If you are part of another professional body or work for an organisation, they may have requirements for how you record your CPD. FDAP also provide a CPD Audit template. Here is an example of 4 months of recorded CPD.