What is CPD?

Engaging in Continuing Professional Development (CPD) ensures that both academic and practical qualifications do not become out-dated or obsolete; allowing individuals to continually ‘up skill’ or ‘re-skill’ themselves, regardless of occupation, age or educational level.

The phrase ‘continuing professional development’ (CPD) describes activities undertaken by professionals to ensure their skills and knowledge remain up-to-date.

Continuing professional development (CPD) is becoming more important in all professions as the rate of change and number of specialisms increases. In the construction industry, CPD has become a vital part of a professional career as a result of; continuous and accelerating changes in technology, regulations and procurement practices; increasing specialisation; and the complexity and integration of the supply chain.

It is no longer adequate to obtain a professional qualification at the beginning of a career and then to work for 40 or 50 years with no further structured pattern of learning. Instead, lifelong learning is becoming the norm, with professionals taking part-time courses and short courses to understand emerging innovations such as building information modelling (BIM) or taking career breaks and returning to full-time education to improve or develop an aspect of their practice.

CPD Points Qualifies Membership

Many of the industry’s professional institutes require that members undertake CPD as a condition of continued accreditation (such as the RIBA, CIOB, RICS, RTPI, CIAT, ICE, IStructE and so on), and for some professions (such as architects) it is a statutory requirement.

Some requirements for continuing professional development are relatively generous, for example the Architects' Registration Board (ARB) requires that architects keep relevant knowledge and skills up-to-date, and are aware of the content of any guidelines issued by the Board, but they permit architects to ‘think laterally’ and encourage them to undertake cpd in a number of ways. Similarly, the CIOB states, ‘We think members are in the best position to know how best to brush up their skills‘.

In contrast, others are more prescriptive. For example, the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) expect chartered members to participate in a system that focuses on time and gaining 100 CPD points each year, and a core curriculum, requiring that architects undertake at least 35 hours of CPD, with 20 hours coming from the ten topics in a 10 core curriculum topics (with 2 hours on each topic each year). These are: Being Safe, Climate, External Managements, Internal Management, Compliance, Procurement and contracts, Designing and building it, Where people live, Context, Access for all.

CPD may be formal, informal, structured or self-directed. Generally, if an activity helps meet a professional development objective (or helps others meet professional development objectives), it may count as CPD. This might include:

  • Internal discussions or meetings.
  • Training another member of staff.
  • Supervising students.
  • Attending in-house training events.
  • Undertaking short courses.
  • Attending conferences, seminars or workshops.
  • Taking part in competitions.
  • Research for writing articles.
  • Distance learning.
  • Online learning (such as the CIOB cpd portal).
  • Reading government policies.
  • Reading technical reports.
  • Reading magazines, websites or other literature.
  • Researching new products or methods.

Accredited CPD providers offer face-to-face, online or distance CPD products which often involve reading materials and sometimes answering multiple choice questions. CPD certificates may be issued on successful completion of a content, subject or module.

CPD is Required and Recognized Globally

CPD is required for architects in these countries (to name but a few): Ireland, USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Singapore, South Africa, Turkey, Hungary, Spain, Italy, the Netherlands and Jamaica. Many of these have based their systems on ours. Most other EU countries will soon be implementing mandatory CPD for architects.

CPD is a standard requirement and recognition for most countries around the world.

Organisations that recognise CPD certificates

Management and Business

  • Association for Project Management
  • British Print Industry Federation
  • British Web Design and Marketing Association
  • Business Link
  • Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals
  • Chartered Institute of Management
  • Chartered Institute of Marketing
  • Chartered Institute of Patent Agents
  • Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development
  • Chartered Institute of Public Relations
  • Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply
  • Chartered Quality Institute

Architecture, Building and Engineering

  • The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA)
  • The Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI)
  • Architects Registration Board, United Kingdom (ARB)
  • Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologists (CIAT)
  • Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE)
  • The Institution of Structural Engineers (IStructE)
  • The Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB)

Direct Marketing Association

  • Institute of Business Consulting
  • Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators
  • Institute of Customer Service
  • Institute of Directors
  • Institute of Leadership and Management
  • Institute of Operations Management
  • The Institute for Professional Administrators (IPA)
  • Institute of Sales and Marketing Management
  • Institute of Trade Mark Attorneys
  • The Market Research Society
  • The Tomorrow Project


  • Association of Accounting Technicians
  • Association of Chartered Certified Accountants
  • Association of International Accountants
  • Chartered Institute of Arbitration
  • Chartered Institute of Bankers
  • Chartered Institute of Insurance
  • Chartered Institute of Management Accountants
  • Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy
  • Chartered Institute of Taxation
  • IFS School of Finance

Institute of Actuaries

  • Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales
  • Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland
  • Institute of Chartered Accountants in Scotland
  • Institute of Internal Auditors
  • Institute of Certified Fraud Examiners
  • Securities and Investment Institute
  • Society of Practitioners in Insolvency
  • The Institute of Risk Management
  • The International Project Finance Association (IPFA)


  • Bar Council of Ireland
  • English Bar Council
  • Institute of Legal Finance & Management
  • Institute of Paralegals
  • Law Society of England
  • Law Society of Ireland
  • Law Society of Scotland
  • Northern Ireland Bar Council
  • Society for Computers and Law

Health and Safety

  • Health and Safety Executive
  • British Safety Council
  • Institute of Occupational Safety and Health


  • Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development
  • Institute for Learning

These are not necessarily all the organisations that provide the CPD certified courses; these are the organisations that require their members to gain CPD points by attending CPD certified events in order to remain current members.

Impartiality of CPD certification is maintained by professionals working in the public and business sectors, all of whom have considerable experience of continuing personal and professional development.