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A CPD guide for speech and language therapists

By Dan Allard

​Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is fundamental to all healthcare roles, including speech and language therapy jobs. Here's our quick guide to making the most of your CPD time.

Why is CPD so important for speech and language therapists? It's not just about improving your own skills and achieving career progression. CPD also drives up standards of care and benefits patients right across the healthcare spectrum.

As a speech and language therapist, your HCPC registration is dependent on showing that you're following a rigorous and ongoing CPD programme. The Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists (RCSLT) has put CPD at the heart of its membership support.
Here are a few notes and tips to help keep on track with your CPD...

Make time for CPD

The RCSLT recommends that all speech and language therapists do at least 30 hours of formal or self-directed CPD every year. Any activity from which you learn or develop professionally can be counted - everything from self-reflection on your working practices to courses or relevant reading. For example, you might complete an online course on a speech and language therapy specialisation, such as living with stroke and aphasia.

Have a plan

A personal development plan (PDP) is central to your speech and language therapy CPD portfolio. Think of it as a blueprint for your CPD over the coming year, enabling you to identify key areas you want to focus on and to set clear goals. It's also useful when it comes to reviewing your activities and measuring your progress against targeted benchmarks.

Record and review

It's vital to keep a record of all your CPD activities - this is known as your CPD log or CPD diary. The RCSLT provides members with a handy online CPD diary, accessible via its website. You can record and print all your day-to-day CPD activities, as well as adding reflective commentary.

To make things easy, each diary entry is cross-referenced to the relevant HCPC CPD category ie work-based learning, professional activity, formal/educational, self-directed learning and other activities such as voluntary work.

Be prepared for an audit

Each time you renew your HCPC registration, you'll be asked to sign a form to confirm that you continue to meet the standards, including CPD. If you're one of the 2.5% of registrants randomly selected for audit, you'll need to submit a CPD profile which shows all the activities you've undertaken since your last renewal, along with supporting evidence. That's when you'll be especially glad you kept a detailed CPD log and filed all the relevant documents in your CPD portfolio. The RCSLT has put together a CPD Toolkit for speech and language therapists.

We have written some blogs around starting and progressing your speech and language therapy career. For any specific queries, please get in touch.