Choosing a CPD Course

Confused by CPD? Here are some helpful guidelines written by Amy Taylor, owner of Purple Turtle Training Academy in Brighton.

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What is CPD?

CPD means Continued Professional Development. As a qualified therapist it is important to keep your skills updated and to be familiar with new industry knowledge. New learned skills help you to increase your client base and give your existing clients an enhanced experienced. Most Professional Associations require CPD as part of their membership agreement and set an annual level on a points system. Many courses offer 1 point for every hour of tuition for short courses, 5-10 points for one day courses and 10-20 points for two day courses and above. All associations vary so check your personal membership agreement. You should keep all your certificates for your qualifications, CPD and insurance in a portfolio.

How do you gain CPD points?

If you wish to use your CPD points for your portfolio most associations now require them to be relevant to your qualification, so for example if you are an Indian Head Massage therapist the courses would need to be further training in this field, an advanced course, a specialist course or a business course.
Courses are not the only way to gain CPD points, they can also be gained through self-directed study.


What to look for in a CPD course

Courses vary in what they offer and the certification level they provide. If you wish to practice the discipline you are studying you need to ensure the course is accredited; for a beginners/introductory course you may not gain an insurable certificate.
Here are some terms to look for when booking a course…

Certificate of Attendance
This is usually a non-accredited course that provides support for your original qualification. Introductory courses or beginner’s courses are great to see if you would like to study an area further. You can then decide if you wish to pursue a full course. Certificates of Attendance can be gained by attending a talk or introductory workshop, participating at a networking event or visiting a trade show, some of these provide a certificate of attendance. Usually the most points you will gain from a Certificate of Attendance is 2 CPD points and only if it is relevant to your original qualification.
These courses are for self-development, can be added to your portfolio and are usually not insurable.

Accredited Certificate
This is a course that has undergone an accreditation process and meets the criteria level set which provides you with additional learning and qualifications. The certificate provided should show the course title, the course provider logo an signature, the accrediting body/association logo, your name, the date and the amount of CPD points gained.
For example, in Indian Head Massage once you are qualified you may wish to expand your techniques and specialise in clients’ needs in topics such as Pregnancy, Palliative Care, Children’s Massage and Massage for Mental Health. CPD courses can provide you with these specialist techniques and supplementary knowledge to allow you to work with clients with specific needs.

Accredited courses can develop your skills in new therapies too. For example, CPD courses in Facial treatments such as Natural Facelift Massage, Facial Reflexology or Holistic Beauty Facials expand the range of treatments you offer to clients and therefore increase your income capacity while still specialising in your current therapy. Courses will generally be approved and accredited by an association such as FHT, CThA, CMA, AoR and follow HABIA guidelines, which is a government approved body which sets the standards for the hair, beauty and therapy industries.
Most practical CPD courses will provide knowledge in techniques, anatomical knowledge, client care and health and safety.

Always check the CPD course prior to booking together with the pre-requisites to ensure you are studying at the right level for your original qualification. Check with your insurance to make sure that you can gain insurance before you sign up to the course, even if it is an accredited course, insurance company policies vary and they are relevant to your original qualifications so IF IN DOUBT CHECK IT OUT!

If you study an Accredited Qualification course such as a VTCT, ITEC, ABC, NVQ or BTEC in a new field you may be able to use this as your annual CPD allocation, your association can give you guidelines on this.

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