CPD Quality Standards

How to Calculate CPD Points as a Career Enthusiast?

CPD Quality Standards


CPD stands for “Continuing Professional Development.”

Its principles encompass the learning activities that help professionals to boost their skills and knowledge.

For the learner’s convenience and accurate career progression measurement, attaining CPD points is a vital part of the development process. CPD shows commitment to a profession and a desire to develop within it.

What follows is a summarisation of how to calculate CPD points for courses and qualifications.


CPD Principles


A learner must take responsibility for their development and learning. This requires a consistent ability to track and document the attainment of new skills and knowledge.

CPD can record and file all formal and informal experiences that contribute to significant professional development, including those that come from self-study and on-the-job activities.

To support this process, some organisations encourage the use of digital or physical portfolios. This should be maintained to include the latest documents and feedback that supports developmental achievements. Some companies recommend the use of a physical portfolio. And it should include documents of gained skills and knowledge.

Other companies will include this aspect of CPD in PDPs (Personal Development Plans) or training schedules.

However, in all cases, the extent and content of much of the learning will be dependent on self-drive and commitment to self-development.


The Importance of CPD


CPD has multiple benefits for the learner and their employer. It provides learning and structure in the workplace without disrupting operations or services, and it provides equal educational opportunities for all staff members.

CPD can also be an essential part of registration and membership in a regulatory body, as well and helping realise personal potential in a chosen profession.

The main advantages of CPD are that it :

  • Provides recognition and documentation of developmental achievements
  • Details the progression path of professional training
  • Delivers guidance and direction for the appropriate learning activities
  • Identifies knowledge gaps and existing developmental needs
  • Offers evidence and demonstrates capabilities to employers and clients
  • Makes a real difference to career potential and employment paths


Understand the CPD Points System


What are CPD “points”, and how are they used?

They are a way to recognise and assign value to learning activities, regardless of their structure and format. They also help to measure developmental progression.

Most development plans will require the attendance of training courses and the completion of assignments or achievable goals. This needs to be recorded and filed in a way that is presentable to others and upholds the principles of CPS standards.

However, points are not just accrued by proving attendance at a seminar or completing a course assignment. Personal progression and work achievements must also be rated for value.

The accruement of CPD points is likely to depend on the profession or job that a learner has. Some regulatory bodies or organisations insist upon proof and documentation to show that a certain amount of CPD points have been accumulated.

For instance, nurses and nursing support staff need to attain at least 45 points of CPD in a calendar year.

A CPD “point” is a measurement of time, effort, and resources that a learner has expended during an educational activity.

Each one takes into consideration the following factors:

  • Online and classroom courses that have been attended and completed
  • Webinars, seminars, lectures, and presentations s that have been attended
  • Maintenance of a personal portfolio that includes all educational details


Converting CPD Points into Hours


Typically, CPD “points” are represented as “hours”, especially by most regulatory boards. The conversion technique for this may differ slightly depending on the location and profession. In some professions, they may also be referred to as “units” or “credits”.

Whilst this might seem a little confusing or disconcerting when these different measurements are used, they all basically mean the same thing.

Put simply:

One CPD point corresponds to one hour spent on a CPD activity.

Using a typical course schedule as an example:

A training course on leadership management takes place over four days between 10 am to 3 pm. This means that 4 x 5 hours are spent studying, so 20 CPD hours were attained by a student’s attendance, meaning that they have accrued at least 20 CDP points during the activity.

Learners are not monitored online or have an equivalent of a pedometer strapped to their brain. Instead, they hold the responsibility and transparency for recording the points that are earned. As shown in the next section, points can also be influenced by the quality of learning.


Calculating CPD Points


When a  learning or developmental activity has been completed, the appropriate CPD points can be calculated and recorded.

On occasions, these can be proven by a document or certificate from the teaching organisation or associated awarding body.

On other occasions, it will be appropriate or necessary for the learner to calculate the final accumulation of points by themselves.

How are these calculated? Well, time is the baseline, but some organisations also recommend an award system for rating time spent in a learning activity.

For instance, the RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects) uses the following rating system to help its members work out total CPD points after developmental activity.

CPD points with numbers


  • 1 point– A little knowledge was gained, but not a significant amounts
  • 2 points– General knowledge about the subject has definitely been improved
  • 3 points– A significant amount of knowledge has been gained about many different aspects of a subject
  • 4 points– The CPD activity has had a major positive impact on the knowledge and understanding of the subject matter, and significant time has been spent studying.
  • Additional 4 points – Gained if a learner then demonstrates expertise on the subject and considers themselves to be a specialist.

Any relevant training and development activity that is undertaken can contribute to CPD points. Because of this, some organisations will award CPD points if particular lectures or seminars are attended, whilst others will award points for the demonstration of gained skills in the workplace.


Calculating CPD Points from Online Courses


Attending a lecture or scheduled course provides a relatively easy way to measure CPD hours and points, as they are meticulously timed. This is also true for watching educational videos or pre-recorded webinars, as the viewing time consists of legitimate CPD hours.

However, it becomes a little more complex to measure CPD points during self-study activities and online courses? This is because they will normally consist of interactive modules that can be studied, reviewed, and repeated according to a learner’s personal pace and requirements. It may also take some people longer to pass assessment quizzes if they are part of the training.  Therefore a students CPD study time will be affected by the length and extent of contents within an online course.

To reflect these considerations and anomalies, the CPD points gained from an online course will be affected by the following factors:

  • Course Level – The higher the expertise and more objectives a course has, the more points it will be worth upon completion. A level-2 diploma course is likely to be gain more CPD awards than lower level one will.
  • Subject Matter – Certain topics may need prior knowledge and are more complex to understand, which can mean extra time is required in study. This will be recognised by having more CPD points attributed to its completion.
  • Specialisation – The more focused and precise the information is in a training course is, the more points will be awarded. This is to recognise the fact that specific elements, such as science equations or government legislation, may need to be understood to complete the training.


CPD training providers will consider all these factors when creating coursework and content, ensure that the estimated duration and length is appropriate to the subject and objective.

Therefore, the points that can be earned from an online course will depend on how the certifying service measures the length, content, and validity of each course.

The official point allocation will also take into account:

  • Amount of reading time estimated to absorb the contents
  • The time needed for comprehension and reflection
  • Duration of videos or interactive sessions
  • The reasonable time needed to answer quizzes and fill out assessments


Final Thought


The potential and importance of self-development and continual learning have now become a priority for all forward-thinking organisations.

 CPD supports and encourages this practice and provides the perfect way for individuals to maximise their potential and record their path to success.