10 ways to complete your CPD

By Noel Armstrong, a volunteer on the CIPR Inside committee

,February 22, 2020 

If you are a CIPR member, you will have seen the emails and social media posts encouraging you to complete your CPD (continuing professional development) before the deadline on 31 March. 

So why bother? Well, if you’ve taken the trouble to join CIPR, it shows that you care about your career and your profession. Engaging in CPD helps you learn new skills and proves to peers and your employer you have reached a certain level of competence. Joining CIPR and not engaging in CPD is like following a sports team, but never seeing them play. You’re missing the best bits!

It only takes two years of continuous logging of CPD points to become an Accredited Practitioner. From there, some committed CIPR members become Chartered Practitioners (read committee member, Katie Marlow’s blog post about becoming a Chartered PR Professional). 

Although logging points and completing CPD is important, what you learn from the activities and how you will apply them in your work is more valuable. Make sure you keep that top of mind.

With the deadline for this cycle rapidly approaching, here are some ideas to get your CPD points over the line (60 points including a compulsory ethics section). It’s important to point out that your activities don’t have to be connected to CIPR – although it makes it easier to find activities on the CPD database. You can custom-log activities taken with other membership bodies, your employer, volunteering work, and more.


Are you studying for communication qualifications? Congratulations! It will please you to know that logging qualifications – especially CIPR qualifications – is worth many CPD points. I completed the Advanced Certificate in Public Relations in 2014/15 and received 60 points (including the ethics section). I studied for the Internal Communication Diploma during the 2018/19 cycle and only received 30 points, but it still got me half of the way to my CPD total.


If you are keen on learning and committed to your career, you may have taken communication training courses during the CPD cycle. Like qualifications, these also attract many points. I took two 2-day courses through CIPR in 2019. They were worth 20 points each.


Do you attend events that further your professional development? Make sure you log these activities. I attended the CIPR Inside Changing the Conversation Conference in 2019. This was worth 10 points. I also went to several smaller breakfast and evening events and collected 5 points for each one.

Skills Guides

If you are racking your brain for ways to hit your CPD target, downloading skills guides is a valuable and time-efficient way to do it. The CPD database has a wealth of materials on everything from ethics through to measurement. In under an hour, you can read the guide and make notes on what you’ve learned to add to the CPD database. In the 2019/20 cycle, I downloaded reports on measurement, managing an internal communication department, and ethics – each worth 5 points.


Do you like to get out and meet other members? You don’t have to attend a seminar or conference to log CPD points. Search the CPD database and you will find several social events that attract points, like festive gatherings and drink & link nights. You will need to make a note of what you’ve learned from attending and how you will put it into practice.


Volunteering is hard work, but hugely rewarding. It will also earn you several CPD points. By volunteering on the CIPR Inside Committee during the 2019/20 cycle, I could log 20 points. If you’re doing something similar, don’t forget to record your work. You can custom-log points for volunteering outside CIPR, as long as you can link the value to your professional development.


Reading books is a great way to boost your professional development. They might be more time-consuming than skills guides, podcasts and webinars, but they often offer deep learning and you may be able to join a book group like the CIPR Inside #ICBookClub. I attended six Book Club meetings last year and logged 5 points for each of the books I read, besides making new connections with fellow communicators.


Webinars are easy to access through the CPD database and provide rapid learning. I was keen to learn more about AI in Public Relations last year and downloaded two webinars, each worth 5 points.


Podcasts seem to have taken off in a big way in communications over the last few years. CIPR has recently added several internal communication-themed podcasts to its database, including two of my favourites – Be a Bigger Fish by Debbie Aurelius, and The Internal Communication Podcast by Katie Macaulay. There are plenty of episodes to choose from, featuring some interesting guests. Give them a listen and grab 5 points for your trouble.


Magazines are perhaps the easiest way to log CPD points, especially if you’re a CIPR member. Each month, Influence Magazine has at least one article with a box encouraging you to log 5 points for reading it. There’s nothing to stop you custom-logging articles from IoIC’s Voice Magazine or PR Week, as long as you can show the learning from your activities.

I’ve logged these activities in previous years. There are plenty more you can discover. Check out the CPD database to see what’s available. Completing CPD takes time and isn’t easy, but don’t make a mountain out of a molehill. You owe it to your career to engage in CPD and highlight your value to the profession.

Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash