CPD Accredited Courses

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What Are CPD Accredited Courses?

CPD accredited courses are short programmes assessed and validated by an independent external body. CPD accreditation is a quality benchmark. It means that the course has been well designed and provides a clear learning framework and experience.

These courses are for professionals. CPD shows commitment to professional and personal development. In fact, taking CPD accredited courses every year is a requirement for a licence to practice in many professions.

What Does CPD Stand For?

CPD stands for continuing professional development. It describes the learning that professionals undertake to develop and sharpen the skills they need in their field of expertise.

This means building on their knowledge and skills. It can be refreshing areas of expertise, keeping up with current developments, and learning new skills and concepts and current thinking.

Types Of Continuing Professional Development


CPD courses


CPD is the ongoing practice of maintaining and developing professional skills. For the individual, developing and maintaining their skills can happen through various activities.

Where CPD is required to maintain a licence to practice, or professional body membership, learners need to keep records of the types and amounts of learning they undertake each year.

CPD learning can take place formally, on training courses, or informally, on the job. CPD activities are broadly categorised into three types.

Active Learning

Active learning typically involves structured learning. It takes many forms, such as workshops, seminars and conferences, classrooms, and online courses. It can also include professional exams.

Passive Learning

Passive learning is much more personal and does not involve any professional interactions. This type of learning and development is at your own pace. It includes reading journals, listening to podcasts and keeping up to date with industry trends and developments.

Unstructured Learning

This type of learning is similar to passive learning but is broader and can include reading reports or books by experts in the field. It can also be keeping up to date with industry news and insights.

CPD Certification Service

The CPD Certification Service is an independent organisation that reviews audits and accredits courses that meet CPD benchmarks.

Only courses that have passed their quality benchmarks can use their logo. When they accredit a course, they will state how many CPD hours of learning the course requires.

They act as a quality mark for professional courses and clearly define the number of hours of learning involved in each course.

CPD Accreditation and Professional Courses

CPD courses are active learning. They are structured, well designed and relevant to a professional setting.

CPD courses are measured against a structured checklist to review the syllabus and learning materials impartially. In addition, the accreditation process makes sure that the course is structured with clear and logical learning goals and outcomes. CPD training can take many forms.

CPD and Professional Bodies

Many industry sectors require professional body membership to practice at a certain level. For example, if you work as a chartered surveyor in the UK, you need to be a member of RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors)

Once you have gained your chartered status from either university qualification or work apprenticeship, you will need to demonstrate 20 hours of CPD each year to keep your membership active. Taking fully accredited CPD training is a recognisable approach to satisfy chartered membership requirements each year.

Certified Online CPD Courses

You can now find CPD courses from a wide range of training providers delivered and taught 100% online. This has made it much easier for professionals to fit in their CPD requirements around work and family commitments. With these courses, there is no need to take time away from work or spend hours travelling to and from training centres.

Online courses can be self-paced or have scheduled interactions with the teacher and fellow students. One of the benefits of online CPD training courses is accessing the material at a time that suits you.

University CPD Courses

Most UK universities offer short courses part-time and online. These short university courses can be broadly categorised into two groups, credit-bearing and non-credit bearing. Credit-bearing means that the course has been mapped into the qualifications frameworks and has a set number of CATS points. These courses can be used to count towards higher certificates in education.

Short non-credit bearing courses have not been mapped into the qualification framework. These programmes last a few hours to several weeks. When these courses are CPD certified, they count as accredited CPD training.

Can You Put CPD on Your CV and LinkedIn?

Yes, putting your CPD in a CV can have a positive impact. Showing courses you have taken, and their CPD value shows you take your professionalism seriously. In addition, most recruiters and hiring managers will review a LinkedIn profile when deciding on who to select for an interview.

Do Employers Value CPD Learning?

The answer to this is yes, employers value continual professional development. Many employers now offer dedicated time each month for their staff to learn. This can take any form but taking a CPD course is validation and proof of learning.

If you work in a regulated industry, having evidence of CPD is more than nice to have. For many professions, it is a must-have to gain and maintain a licence to practice or chartered membership of a professional body.

Is CPD a Recognised Qualification in The UK

When taking a CPD course, you need to be aware that CPD is not a qualification in itself. It is the learning and self-development process. CPD accredited courses show that the programme is well designed with clear learning outcomes. They credit the number of CPD hours involved in the learning.

Accreditation is key for gaining and maintaining a licence to practice and professional body membership.

What Level Is a CPD Qualification?

CPD certificates can be at any level. Some courses will have a level and CATs points, while others sit outside the qualification framework. What is essential with CPD courses is the amount of learning and development.

Remember, CPD is not a qualification on its own. Instead, it is a framework that records the amount of learning that takes place.

What Is a CPD Unit?

A CPD unit is also called a credit or point in different industries and sectors. All of these names mean the same thing, an hour of learning. When you take a CPD accredited course, you will have the number of CPD hours stated on a separate certificate.

What Can You Do With CPD Units?

CPD units or hours are used as evidence of continuing professional development. They are externally validated proof of learning and development. They are mainly used for the following.

Gaining and maintaining professional membership, for example, chartered membership of a professional body.

Some professions require a licence to practice, such as lawyers and medical doctors.

Evidence to current or prospective employers of your commitment to your career and profession.

CPD Certificates

You will get two certificates when you take a training course with an accredited CPD provider. Once for the actual course, you took and a CPD certificate.

The CPD certificate is the official record of the active learning on the course. In addition, this certificate is used to submit to professional bodies as evidence for your membership application or continuing licence to practice.
The certificate will state the dates, your name and the number of CPD hours completed.

CPD Logo

When looking at short courses with CPD hours, you need to look for the CPD Certification Service logo.

CPD certification service logo

This is because the CPD certification service will have reviewed and audited the course syllabi and learning outcomes. Seeing this logo means that when you complete the course, you will receive a separate CPD certificate to be used as a record of professional development recognised by professional bodies.

Are CPD Courses Recognised Internationally?

In general, yes, you can use your CPD hours from UK education providers internationally. However, it may not be automatically counted as it is by UK professional bodies. If in doubt, check with the professional body you are a member of for clarification on their global CPD requirements before enrolling on the course.

Search Online CPD Short Courses

You can search for short courses accredited with CPD using the filters on this page. We only list courses from UKaccredited recognised UK education providers.

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