The Importance of Continuing Professional Development With Accredited Programs
No matter your industry or job role, the marketplace is evolving: best practices change, technology changes, and customer behaviors and needs change. If you’re not constantly learning, you’ll soon find yourself lagging behind your colleagues, not meeting the expectations of your employer, and potentially losing out to others at promotion time.
Whether you’re just starting out in your career, or if you have many years of experience in your role, how do you make sure your skills are current and you’re up to date on the latest best practices so you can perform your job to the best of your ability?
In this article, we will cover:
What is continuing professional development (CPD)
The importance of CPD and accredited programs
The benefits of CPD to you and your employer
How to find high-quality CPD programs that suit your needs
What is Continuing Professional Development?
Continuing professional development (CPD), also known as continuing education (CE), is the ongoing intentional maintenance and development of the knowledge and skills needed to adequately perform at your job.
Within different regions and countries, there can be different terminology and different guidelines used. For example, CPD can be known as Continuing Education (CE) or Continuing Professional Education (CPE). It is important to note that these terms are often completely interchangeable with CPD, and are both focused on a structured approach to lifelong learning.
Professional development could mean honing your current skills, developing them to a new level, filling knowledge gaps, or learning new skills that will allow you to perform your job better, expand your job role, or prepare you for a potential promotion or career change.
These skills may be gained informally, through such activities as reading blog posts, listening to podcasts, or attending conferences and networking events. However, many employers professions use the term “continuing professional development” formally, and may require a certain amount of development activity to be carried out and documented each year.
In professions where there is a requirement for employees to complete a certain amount of CPD on a regular basis, the CPD activities generally must be structured and accredited, meaning they’ve gone through a rigorous third-party review to ensure the quality of the training material and its delivery meet industry standards.
Why Is CPD Important?
The importance of continuing professional development should not be underestimated. Sometimes CPD is mandated by employers or professional organizations--ensuring a constantly developing workforce, and giving employees a clear path to success within their current role and progression to future ones--but it always the personal responsibility of individuals to keep their knowledge and skills current.
Anyone who works within a regulated business sector (e.g. banking, accountancy, and financial services), is likely to be required to track and progress their CPD in order to maintain their license to practice and/or professional qualifications. Regulatory bodies are established to ensure that the public receives services of the required standard, so CPD is taken very seriously.
In non-regulated sectors, CPD is a valuable way for organizations to continuously invest in their employees, stay innovative, and provide exceptional service to customers.
What Are The Benefits of CPD?
Continuing Professional Development is essential in helping individuals, organizations and industries as a whole to keep skills and knowledge up to date. CPD accredited training courses, workshops and events enable professionals to maximize the benefits of participating by applying the time towards satisfying their individual CPD requirements.
Benefits for You
CPD ensures that you and your knowledge stay up to date with current industry trends and best practices. By investing in your continued education, the currency of your knowledge and skills won’t become outdated.
CPD ensures that you maintain, develop and enhance the knowledge, understanding and skills you need to deliver exceptional service to your customers and be an asset to your colleagues.
CPD helps you continue to become more effective in the workplace and make meaningful contributions to your team. This allows you opportunities for career advancement.
CPD demonstrates your dedication to your profession, which is a key trait valued by employers and recruiters.
CPD opens you up to new possibilities instead of just doing what you’ve done before.
CPD and associated certifications will assist you in building your professional reputation, gaining credibility with clients and becoming an attractive candidate for new employers.
CPD offers the opportunity to engage and learn from others in your field through interaction and idea-sharing at events, during courses, and in online discussions.
Benefits for Employers
For employers, the primary benefit of CPD is ensuring that standards across the company are high and consistent. CPD also promotes greater work engagement from the workforce and general commitment to job roles. Having a number of employees undertake CPD allows for the sharing of best practices and support. CPD also contributes to maximizing staff potential, improves staff morale and provides a useful benchmark during the annual review process.
What Is Accredited CPD Training?
By pursuing accredited continuing professional development, employees can ensure they deliver a high level of service that meets the expectations of both their employers and their customers.
CPD is critical to ensuring that you continue to develop your skillset and knowledge, your employers always get the best quality of work, and that customers get the best possible outcomes.
Accredited CPD training means the learning activity has reached the required Continuing Professional Development standards and benchmarks. The learning value has been scrutinized to ensure integrity and quality. The CPD Certification Service provides recognized independent CPD accreditation compatible with global CPD requirements.
The Benefits of Choosing an Accredited CPD Program
A well-crafted and delivered continuing professional development program delivers benefits to you, your employer, and, ultimately, the customers you service.
Prospective students will find that there are many programs offered that purport to provide you with the knowledge needed to develop your professional skills. However, there are a number of compelling reasons to look for an accredited program when choosing to pursue your professional development.
Superior Education Standards: Accredited programs have to demonstrate adherence to the highest external standards of educational quality in order to achieve accreditation.
Up-to-Date Curriculum: Accredited programs must maintain their status through a periodic renewal of their accreditation, showing continual quality improvements, including keeping up with the latest developments in the field.
Increased Marketability: Employers recognize that students who have graduated from accredited programs were trained through a program with superior standards and this provides the learner with a competitive edge in the marketplace.
Risk Mitigation: Like any quality control, accreditation demonstrates that the program providers are serious about providing a superior learning experience and have demonstrated this commitment by seeking a formal evaluation of the program for compliance with a set of well-defined standards by a third party accrediting body.
Finding The Right CPD Programs
Opportunities for continuing professional development abound, but it’s important to find a program that both is high quality and fits your personal and professional needs.
Look for Accreditation
All programs are not created equal. The first indicator of a high-quality CPD program is to look for one that has been accredited by a recognized third party, such as The CPD Certification Service. By achieving accreditation, this denotes the program meets a strict set of standards for content and delivery. The learning value has been scrutinized to ensure integrity and quality. It denotes a positive reputation and credibility and can give you an assurance that the program will be worthwhile.
For employers that mandate a certain amount of CPD from their employees, accreditation of the CPD programs is usually a requirement. This ensures that the employees are learning relevant, thorough information that is structured in such a fashion that it maximizes retainment of the information, and can be practically applied in the employee’s job role.
Before choosing a CPD program, make sure the topics covered are relevant to your job role or the role you’re aspiring to. Read the curriculum carefully to ensure what you learn will help you hone your skills or fill in gaps in your skillset and that you’re not going to waste your time learning irrelevant or repeat material.
Fits Your Resources
We’re all bound by certain constraints, most notably time and money. High-quality CPD programs don’t have to be expensive, and oftentimes employers will help foot the bill since it’s required or beneficial to them. Also, take into account how long the program will take to complete and what the time commitments might be. You don’t want to start a program just to find out that you can’t complete it because it conflicts with your other professional and personal obligations.
Suits Your Learning Style
Continuing professional development programs are available in a variety of formats. To maximize the learning you take from the program, be sure to find one that fits your learning style. Some people thrive in a classroom setting, while others will find more success with a self-paced online program, and still, others prefer a hybrid online/guided approach to learning. All of these formats can meet the requirements for accreditation, so it’s really a matter of personal preference and availability.
Some CPD programs have the added benefit of including a professional certification. The acquisition of a certification demonstrates your expertise and personal commitment to your professional development. Certification positions you a strategic thinker and opens up additional promotion and job prospects.
Continuing professional development and education is a career-long obligation for professionals. By pursuing CPD with accredited programs, you demonstrate your commitment to the profession and reap the benefits of a quality education in your field.
The Do’s and Don’ts of Continuing Professional Development
DO make sure the program you take is accredited. Accreditation indicates the program is high-quality and ensures you’ll get the most out of your efforts. Accredited programs may also be required by your employer.
DON’T think an informal “education” through casual learning is enough. A structured program will serve you, and your employer and clients, much better.
DO look for CPD programs that fit your learning style. Quality programs can come in all formats, so there is no need to settle.