CPD: Frequently Asked Questions

Members' and employers' most frequently asked questions on Continuing Professional Development (CPD) are collected below. You can also find STEP's full CPD Policy, guidelines, explanatory video and other resources here

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Do I need to do CPD?

All members are required to carry out CPD as a condition of STEP membership, proving that they are maintaining their competence to practice.

You may be more familiar with other terms for updating a professional's knowledge and skills, such as Continuing Professional Education (CPE), Continued Legal Education (CLE), Continuous Education (CE) etc.  

You can tailor your CPD requirement to your current circumstances. For example, a member that is fully-retired and not in receipt of payment for advice does not need to carry out any CPD. A member on long-term leave should consider how to maintain their knowledge, so they are ready to return to work. A member that has temporarily moved to a job that would not normally relate to STEP should focus on CPD for their current role.

Any member that is currently enrolled on a STEP course is considered to have met their CPD requirement for the year.

What is the CPD requirement? How many hours of CPD do I need to do?

STEP changed its CPD Policy in 2014, so that members could tailor their CPD to meet their circumstances. For example, the requirement to complete a large amount of structured CPD via conferences or courses was not reasonable where a member had no access to relevant events or training. Members can now compensate with unstructured CPD, such as reading trade publications, independent research, watching archived webcasts (live webcasts are considered structured CPD), or online courses.

Since the ways that members can collect CPD is now more diverse, STEP has chosen not to specify a number of hours and focuses on what members gain from CPD. STEP measures this by asking members to put together a brief CPD plan, which outlines what they need to learn for the year ahead. Members should then record which CPD activities supported their plan and notes on whether more is required for the following year.

One requirement that all members need to comply with is to complete one CPD activity that relates to ethics per year. STEP provides Professional Standards Awareness case studies, which are examples of ethical dilemmas that some members could face. Completing one of those fulfills your ethics CPD requirement for the year. 

You can see more on how to plan CPD on the CPD Policy webpage.

Do I need to submit my CPD record to STEP every year?

STEP conducts an annual review of up to 5% of members' CPD records, selected at random. STEP's Code of Professional Conduct only specifies that members must be prepared to submit a record on request (see sections 13.1 and 14) not submit one every year.

What counts as CPD? Does it have to be accredited by STEP?

Any activity that enhances your skills and knowledge counts as CPD and there is no need for STEP accreditation. You can also count any CPD that you do for a regulator or another professional body towards your STEP CPD.

Members often carry out CPD activities without realising that they count as CPD. The following list gives a broad overview of the kinds of activities that count as CPD:

  • Formal qualifications
  • Conferences, seminars, branch meetings from any provider of technical information
  • Training colleagues on technical issues
  • Mentoring
  • Work shadowing
  • Preparing technical presentations, either for in-house briefings or an external event
  • Independent research into a new technical issue
  • Reading trade publications, websites, blogs written by leaders in the field and following thought leaders on social media

Where can I find ethics-related CPD?

STEP provides Professional Standards Awareness case studies to members for free, which allow you to explore ethical dilemmas that STEP members might face. There are no right or wrong answers and you are able to try different approaches to each scenario. You only need to complete one case study to meet your annual ethics CPD requirement and will receive email confirmation of completion at the end of the case study.

Do I need to keep my STEP CPD record in a specific format?

STEP members often report to multiple organisations and in recognition of that, STEP accepts CPD records in any format that members need to keep them. If you were selected for the annual CPD review, you would be asked to submit your record and a STEP cover sheet, which collects brief details to help STEP's CPD reviewers to assess records. 

Does STEP offer online CPD recording?

Yes: please see the CPD Resources Centre for a CPD Recording tool (CiCPD). Using STEP's recording tool is not compulsory, but members and employers have reported that it is useful for annual performance reviews and CPD planning. 

Does STEP offer any online CPD resources?

STEP offers the following via this website, free to members. Please note that your access depends on your membership type:

The following online courses* are available at a range of fees:

*There are further courses available that are online, but require a formal exam that delegates must attend in person, so have been excluded from this list.

What happens during the annual CPD review?

When carrying out a CPD review, STEP selects up to 5% of members at random and requests their records, providing details of how to send them. Reviewers then look for a CPD plan, a record of CPD activities undertaken and the member's comments on which CPD activities were the most effective for their own situation. If someone is selected for review and their CPD record does not include plans or comments, STEP supplies a CPD Record Cover Sheet, which provides space to add that information in brief. 

STEP recognises that different organisations may use different record formats, or keep records that cover different time periods, such as 1 January to 31 December, or 1 April to 31 March. If STEP requests your CPD records for a particular date range, you can submit a record that overlaps with that time period instead of editing your record to suit STEP. 

If you have been contacted regarding the CPD review and can't submit a record for any reason, please contact cpd@step.org as early as possible to discuss the situation.

Has this event/ activity been accredited by a regulator or another professional body?

Event organisers sometimes apply for accreditation by local regulators and professional bodies. Where accreditation has been confirmed, details can be found on the STEP calendar, or on any event information that the organisers have circulated. If you feel there is demand for a specific accreditation, please contact the organisers, or if you aren't sure of who arranged an event, contact cpd@step.org

Can STEP issue a certificate of attendance for an event?

If you need a certificate, please check the events calendar to see whether the event was organised by a STEP branch, or by STEP Worldwide and then contact the following:

  • For national and international conferences run by STEP Worldwide, please contact conferences@step.org
  • For local branch and chapter events, please contact the relevant branch. If there are no contact details on the event listing, you can find a list of branches here.

If you can't find the event or organisers, please contact cpd@step.org with as many details as you can remember.

Can STEP issue a CPD certificate for a qualification that I have completed?

You should automatically receive a certificate on successful completion of a STEP course, from any of STEP's worldwide training partners. If you have lost your copy, please contact pd@step.org with your course details for assistance.

If you need more detail than appears on your certificate, for example for a regulator or university accreditation, please contact pd@step.org.