What Are CPD Hours and Credits?


The aim of this post is to provide a short guide to what are CPD hours and how they relate to other terms you may have heard. These include CPD credits and CPD points.

Upping your skills and knowledge through Continued Professional Development is the responsibility of all of us in every industry. When completing CPD it’s important to keep a record of the training completed each year. Keep track of these by adopting a ‘common currency’ of training, the best of which is CPD hours. The training record kept by an individual is typically called a CPD portfolio.

What is a CPD portfolio?

A CPD portfolio helps keep a track of your learning progression over time. It’s your evidential documentation of your progression. You may need it for professional standards in your trade, for career progression at work or for your own benefit. Contained within a CPD portfolio would be the register of activities, such as training courses, workshops and educational events attended. And of course, the CPD hours clocked up at each activity. It’s important therefore, to keep a copy of the delegate CPD certificates and badges for each activity attended. These CPD delegate certificates act as validation that the learning has been attended and completed.

A good CPD portfolio will show a range of methods of learning and the different impacts on future capability. Always ensure that you keep your CPD portfolio up to date, as you participate in training. That’s much easier than trying to piece it together at the end of the year, or at review time.

What’s the Difference Between CPD Hours, Points, Credits and Units?

With no current international standards in place, terminology has evolved. Most employers and trade bodies regard CPD points, units and credits as the same thing, CPD Hours.

What are CPD Hours? The definition of CPD Hours is the time spent for a delegate to be in “active learning”. Active learning defines the actual time spent learning something relevant for their Continuing Professional Development objectives. For example, a 1-day accredited CPD training course. If the training starts at 10 am and ends at 4 pm, with a 1-hour break for lunch, that would be 5 CPD Hours.

Apparently, 95% of all professional bodies use CPD Hours as their Continuing Professional Development measure (although I can find no evidence to prove this). Also, where the terms CPD points, units or credits are used, these are in a typical 1:1 ratio with CPD Hours. So, typically 1 CPD point equals 1 CPD Hour.

How use the rul eof thumb of CPD hours

Recording your CPD Hours

As mentioned earlier, a structured and consistent approach to recording your CPD Hours makes it easier to manage throughout the year. Recording your CPD points allows reflection on what has been gained and what can be implemented day-to-day.

As a general rule, when recording in your CPD portfolio, it should contain the following information:-

  • Date of CPD activity;
  • Title of CPD activity;
  • Brief description including learning objectives, the method of learning (i.e. training course, workshop, event, eLearning), number of CPD hours and the overall learning outcome.


I hope this was useful and helps with understanding of what are CPD hours and how they relate to the other expressions used by others.

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What Are CPD Hours and Credits?

The aim of this post is to provide a short guide to what are CPD hours and how they relate to other terms you may

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