Psychology Board of Australia
Psychology Board of Australia

Continuing professional development resources

What is continuing professional development?

Continuing professional development (CPD) is the means by which members of the profession maintain, improve and broaden their knowledge, expertise and competence, and develop the qualities required in their professional lives.

Professional development is an ongoing process which continues over the course of a career, adapting to changes in practice environments, professional domains, new information and consumer needs. Carefully tailored professional development can assist competency and relevance in practice, which in turn assists members of the public who seek psychology services.

The following resources answer common queries about continuing professional development.

Information for psychologists on the new CPD registration standard and guidelines

The new Continuing professional development registration standard and Guidelines for continuing professional development came into effect on 1 December 2015.

There are no major changes to the CPD requirements, psychologists are still required to:

  1. Develop a learning plan based on objective self assessment 
  2. Complete 10 hours of peer consultation activities annually 
  3. Complete 20 hours of other CPD activities annually 
  4. Maintain a CPD portfolio that includes the learning plan, activity log, and reflection, and submit the portfolio to AHPRA within 28 days if selected for audit

Most psychologists will find that the changes do not have any significant effect on how they plan, complete and record their CPD. The changes to the CPD standard and guideline primarily clarify the current requirements and improve the wording and structure of the documents to make them easier to understand.

The following resources answer common queries about continuing professional development.

If this information does not provide you with what you are looking for, please contact our Customer Service Team on 1300 419 495.

Document PDF Accessible format Date of effect
Continuing professional development registration standard  PDF
Word version
(104 KB,DOCX) 
1 December 2015 
Guidelines for continuing professional development PDF
Word version
(158 KB,DOCX)
1 December 2015

Frequently asked questions

Old requirement New requirement Who does this affect? Why has this changed?
Pro-rata - psychologists who are not generally registered for a full 12 months of the year must complete 2.5 hours of CPD for every month of registration or part thereof.  Pro-rata - psychologists who have not held general registration for a full 12 months of the year must complete 2.5 hours of CPD for every full month of general registration and one third of pro-rata CPD must be peer consultation. Psychologists who only held general registration for part of the year, e.g. because they held provisional registration or non-practising registration, or were not registered for part of the year. Applying pro-rata requirements to full months is fairer for psychologists who obtain general registration at the end of the month who previously may have been required to complete 2.5 hours of CPD for only one day of general registration.

Specifying that peer consultation is pro-rata ensures registrants know in advance what the requirement will be.
CPD portfolio - you must maintain an up to date portfolio. CPD portfolio - you must maintain an up to date portfolio for five years in case you are audited. Everyone.

This requirement takes effect from 1 December 2015 so the first annual portfolio that you are required to retain for five years is 1 December 2015- 30 November 2016.

It is acceptable to keep your portfolio electronically.
AHPRA’s audit process is decoupled from the renewal process so if you are audited it will be for previous registration years, not the current year. The five year requirement aligns the PsyBA’s requirements with that of other National Boards and is more efficient to administrate for AHPRA and multi-profession employers.
Exemptions - the Board may grant a partial exemption (up to 29 hours) if special circumstances apply. Exemptions - the Board may grant a (partial or full) exemption or vary the requirements of the standard if exceptional circumstances apply. Psychologist who had a substantial period of absence from practice during the year and maintained general registration during that time - e.g. maternity/paternity leave, carers’ leave, illness, injury, bereavement etc. Although psychologists taking 12 months or more away from practice are encouraged to change to non-practising registration which gives automatic exemption from CPD, it is recognised that sometimes this is not possible and applying for a full exemption may be appropriate.
In the event of failure to comply with the requirements the Board may require a performance assessment. The option to require a performance assessment has been removed. Psychologists who fail to meet CPD requirements, giving rise to concerns about competence or performance. If the Board has concerns about performance it may require a period of supervised practice with a Board-approved supervisor who will report any performance concerns to the Board via a progress or final assessment report. A separate performance assessment is not necessary.
Three different documents supported the CPD registration standard:

Guidelines on continuing professional development;

Policy for exemption from continuing professional development requirements

Fact sheet - Continuing professional development
All information is consolidated into one supporting document - the Guidelines for continuing professional development. Anyone seeking detailed information about CPD requirements or applying for an exemption. Having all the relevant information in one supporting documents will make it easier for psychologists, employers and others to find the information they need.

In general, no, you should only count activities that extend your learning. You can count conferences, workshops etc that you attend or present at that are not part of your everyday work role even if they are organised or paid for by your employer. However repeat lectures or workshops that you run on an on-going basis should not be counted unless you can justify how they extend your professional development.

Team meetings or meetings with your manager would not usually count unless there is a specific focus on professional development and learning. However case discussion and group learning activities with your work team may count as CPD or peer consultation, and annual/semi-annual performance review and professional development planning with your manager may in some circumstances be relevant as peer consultation.

Yes you can count CPD you undertake as part of the program towards your regular CPD requirements for general registration and professional supervision you receive in the re-entry program can count for the peer consultation requirement of the CPD standard.

Yes. Approved providers of supervisor training programs are required to provide participants with a certificate of completion which details how much CPD can be claimed for the program including whether there was any peer consultation.

For a list of Board-approved supervisor training providers please refer to the Supervision page.

If you are researching or preparing new information you can count it as CPD. If you present the same material at several different forums you should not count it each time. You should only count your own original work, not editing or proof reading of others’ material.

If you are a Board-approved supervisor you can count time you spend researching new information in preparation for supervision.

Yes, and depending on the nature of the study you may also be able to count peer consultation obtained in that context.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Is this activity likely to contribute to the achievement of a goal in my learning plan? 
  2. Is the goal appropriate in that relates to maintaining or improving my skills or knowledge in relation to any aspect of my current or future practice as a psychologist? 
  3. Am I going to record this activity in my CPD log and write a reflection in my CPD journal? 
  4. If I am audited and asked why this activity was appropriate, am I confident that I can explain why it was a good activity for me and how it relates to the learning goals I have set for myself?

If you answer yes to all of these then it is appropriate to include the activity in your CPD.

Yes, provided you complete it within the Board’s registration cycle and it meets the Board’s requirements, it is fine to ‘double up’ and count the same CPD for different purposes.

Psychologists who are also registered in another health profession in Australia may find that some of their CPD activities are relevant to the practice of both professions. In this case they could count the same activity towards the hours required for both professions provided the CPD meets the requirements for both boards.

Yes, recording the details of the workshop in your CPD log and written reflection in your professional development journal will be adequate proof of attendance. If you paid to attend the workshop and have a receipt, include that in your portfolio as well.

Yes, as long as it contributes to achievement of a goal in your learning plan.

The Board does not provide certificates of attendance at forums, so if you are claiming it as CPD just record your attendance in your activity log and write some reflection in your CPD journal.

Since 1 November 2014 there are no longer separate CPD requirements for registered psychologists who provide services under Medicare’s Better Access to Psychiatrists, Psychologists and General Practitioners Scheme (Better Access). This applies to both psychological therapy services provided by clinical psychologists, and focussed psychological strategies (FSP) services provided by psychologists. Instead you are required to meet the Board’s CPD requirements to maintain general registration, and if you provide psychological therapy services you also need to maintain a clinical psychology area of practice endorsement.

Medicare may audit to ensure that you maintain general registration, and where applicable a clinical psychology endorsement, but they will not directly audit your CPD. However under sections 219-220 of the National Law AHPRA or the National Board may disclose information about you to Medicare. Therefore if you are audited by the Board and you have not met the CPD requirements to maintain general registration or clinical psychology endorsement, Medicare will be notified.

The time that you may count as peer consultation is the time focusing on your own practice or matters directly relevant to your own professional development. In this example, each psychologist could count 30 minutes towards peer consultation. The time spent listening and providing advice to another psychologist may count as general CPD if it contributes to achievement of a goal in your learning plan. The same time cannot be counted more than once, by more than one person, towards peer consultation.

Critical reflection is a learning process in which we think about what has occurred in practice, examine what we thought, how we felt and how we acted, think about what we did right and what we could have done differently, and speculate about what we might do differently in the future. In peer consultation critical reflection is when you and your peers focus, discuss, examine and provide constructive criticism of an aspect your practice. Our peers help guide us in reflection by asking questions and contributing ideas and advice.

No, but it could be counted towards general CPD.

Yes, all generally registered psychologists must complete a minimum of 30 hours of continuing professional development (CPD) activities annually. There is no provision in the National Law for a ‘part-time’ or ‘occasional practice’ registration category that would enable different CPD requirements to be set because it is expected that part-time practitioners maintain the same level of knowledge, skill and competence as full-time practitioners.

Part-time practitioners may structure their CPD to suit their work context, for example if you have a low caseload, in peer consultation you may spend less time on case discussion and more time on other aspects of your practice and professional development.

Yes, it is acceptable to keep your CPD portfolio in electronic format. If you are selected for audit you will either need to provide the portfolio in an accessible electronic format or provide a printed version.

You will be required to submit your CPD portfolio to AHPRA within 28 days of the date of the notice.

No, you must still retain your CPD portfolio for the time frame specified in the CPD standard - from 1 December 2015 this is five years.

Your peer consultation log should be signed by your peer/colleague/supervisor where possible. If you have not been able to have your log signed, you will need to provide records that show that the peer consultation occurred, such as your peer consultation log where you recorded the details of the peer consultation, together with written reflection in your peer consultation journal. If you have other evidence such as receipts for professional supervision or letters from your peers that confirm the consultation occurred, please include them in your portfolio as well.

Page reviewed 29/02/2016