Your questions


CPD questions & answers

If you have a professional development question that you would like an answer to then please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Q. How do I know whether something is CPD? Are there criteria that training must meet for it to be counted as CPD?

Any activity has the potential to provide CPD as long as there is a learning outcome for you. Your CPD is personal to you and no one else. Only you will know whether you have learned something new, or gained a new experience that you can then reflect on.  Remember, CPD is about improving what you do and how you do it.

Q. I have read the competency framework but am not sure how to apply it to my own situation.

Start by reading the competency framework webpage and follow the self-assessment guidance. Each competency has five different levels of experience, from novice to expert. The descriptions used in each level give a clear explanation of what is expected. This will help you identify which competencies you have and which competencies you wish to develop, and how your experience relates to Foundation, Registered and Fellow Membership of the ARA.

Once you have identified competencies that you would like to develop, a good place to start is with your current employer. Would they be willing to offer you additional work experience to help you develop? This could be discussed during regular meetings with your line manager, or during your employer’s appraisal process. There are also lots of opportunities outside work, for example, you could also consider volunteering in a role that will help you develop specific competencies. You may also need to change employer, or identify formal training courses. This is why it’s important to plan how you will meet your development needs or career ambitions. You might find the ARA’s professional development plan guidance helpful.

Q. Is CPD necessary? I understand the need to keep your knowledge updated, but I do have a busy life and it is difficult to find the time.

We’re encouraging members to think about their careers and plan their professional development, but it is not compulsory. You can remain an Individual member of the ARA and not engage with CPD. It’s your career, so it’s your choice.

The reason why we encourage members to engage with CPD is because over the course of 12 months you will have gained new knowledge and experience. It therefore makes sense to maximise the benefits gained from such opportunities. CPD is good for your career and potential earnings, and your reward for this effort is an ARA professional qualification (FMARA, RMARA or FARA).

Q. It is difficult to see the benefits when your employer is not supportive. If I became Registered I doubt whether I would get a pay rise.

Regrettably not all employers are as supportive as we would like. The ARA does promote the value of professional qualifications, and you might want to consider using Registered status as part of a pay-related discussion with your employer. If your employer operates an annual appraisal system, then that might provide the opportunity to raise this issue formally.  If you make a good case, then there is a chance your employer might reconsider. Membership of the ARA demonstrates that you meet industry recognised standards, and that you follow a Code of Ethics. This can be a great asset in the development of your career. 

However, if your employer remains unsupportive then CPD and the ARA’s professional development programme will help you progress to a better role.

Q. I am committed to my own professional development and it’s great that ARA offer levels of membership to recognise this commitment. The problem I have is that my job is relatively low paid. The costs of formal training is a challenge for me.

We recognise that formal training is expensive which is why the ARA offers low cost CPD events. ARA Regions and Nations also work hard to deliver local CPD opportunities.

There are other ways to get CPD which do not involve expensive events or travel. The ARA website and publications provide news and information to research. Best practice awards showcase new approaches. All of this can be researched from your own desktop. Remember, any activity has the potential to provide CPD as long as there is a learning outcome for you.