Making PD a priority

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Making PD a priority

A photo with a yellow and red background with four cream-coloured spheres and one red sphere.

Continuing professional development is a requirement for registration renewal each year. Here’s what physiotherapists need to know.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic, the way that many health professionals engage in continuing professional development (CPD) activities has changed.

There are now multiple ways for practitioners to maintain their CPD requirements.

Physiotherapists must complete a minimum of 20 hours of CPD annually across a range of formal and informal development activities.

Practitioners who register partway through a registration period must complete five hours of CPD for every three months of registration remaining in that period.

Physiotherapy Board of Australia chair Kim Gibson said it is important for physiotherapists to choose CPD activities that contribute to both maintaining and improving their competence in their chosen scope of practice.

‘Staying up to date with the latest treatment options, outcomes and knowledge is an important aspect of being an effective physiotherapist.

'CPD can be completed in a variety of formats depending on the preferences and needs of individual physiotherapists.’

The Board’s approach acknowledges that CPD is an interactive process by which health professionals can maintain and extend their knowledge, expertise and competence throughout their careers.

All learning activities that help maintain competence will be accepted as CPD, although there is evidence that the more ‘interactive’ an activity is, the more likely it is that the information imparted through it will be retained.

Formal activities can include tertiary courses; accredited courses; work-based learning contracts; conferences, forums and seminars; undertaking research and presentation of work; courses leading to degrees, higher degrees and research degrees; online learning (such as interactive discussion and chat rooms); in-service education programs; making presentations; and videoconferencing.

Informal activities can include reflecting on experience in day-to-day activities, reading books and journals, secondment and/or contact with other professionals, quality assurance activities such as accreditation, participation in committees, information sharing at meetings, discussion with colleagues and internet research.

Recording CPD 

It is a requirement of the Board’s continuing professional development registration standard that physiotherapists use a personal portfolio to record their CPD.

A portfolio should include:

  • a personal collection of evidence of ongoing development
  • a record of learning aims and a reflection and evaluation of non- formal and incidental learning
  • a record of attendance at formal learning activities.

Physiotherapists need to make a declaration to the Board that their CPD activity meets the standard when they renew their registration.

Records of CPD activity should be maintained for five years to provide evidence for these declarations and to help prove compliance with the standard in the case of an audit by the Board.

Meeting the standard

The National Law establishes possible consequences if a physiotherapist does not complete the minimum number of hours of CPD.

The Board can impose a registration condition or refuse an application for registration or renewal of registration if a physiotherapist does not meet a requirement in an approved registration standard for the profession (sections 82, 83 and 112 of the National Law).

Failure to undertake the CPD required by the standard is not an offence but may be behaviour for which health, conduct or performance action may be taken by the Board (section 128 of the National Law).

Registration standards, codes or guidelines may be used in disciplinary proceedings as evidence of what constitutes appropriate practice or conduct for physiotherapists (section 41 of the National Law).

The Board’s Guidelines: continuing professional development provides more information about how to meet this standard.


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