Skip to content

Continuing professional development (CPD)

Continuing professional development (CPD) is the process of maintaining and improving your knowledge and skills. It's a professional responsibility and is compulsory for all veterinary surgeons (vets) and veterinary nurses (vet nurses) on the RCVS Register.

The information on this page will help you plan, record and reflect on your CPD.

On this page:

CPD requirements

To meet RCVS CPD requirements, you must follow the outcomes-based cycle of plan, do, record and reflect. 

If you're a vet, you must:

  • record 35 hours of CPD per calendar year using 1CPD, and
  • reflect on your learning in 1CPD.

If you're a vet nurse, you must:

  • record 15 hours of CPD per calendar year using 1CPD, and
  • reflect on your learning in 1CPD.

Hours can’t be rolled over from year to year.

These yearly targets apply:

  • whether you’re full time or part time,
  • to RCVS-registered vets who are practising overseas.

You don't have to do CPD if:

  • you're a vet on the non-practising register,
  • you’ve requested to pause your CPD.

We recently made changes to the 1CPD homepage. You’ll now see a message telling you you’re not compliant until you’ve recorded and reflected on your required hours. You must reflect or your CPD will not count.

The outcomes-focused CPD cycle

Plan - Set objectives and think about areas for development.
Do - Take part in activities relevant to your role.
Record - Use 1CPD to keep track of the CPD you’ve completed.
Reflect - Think about what you’ve learned and the impact of your CPD.

How to access 1CPD

There are two ways you can access 1CPD:

How to log in to 1CPD

You can log in to 1CPD with the same username and password you use for My Account.

If you’ve forgotten your My Account username or password

You can find your username and reset your password via the My Account sign in page.

Getting help using 1CPD

There is a ‘Help’ section on 1CPD that gives you step-by-step instructions on how to plan, record and reflect.

How to access 1CPD help:

  • On the app: click on the burger menu at the top left of the screen and click ‘Help’.
  • On desktop: click ‘Help’ in the main navigation menu.

Watch our 1CPD ‘How to’ video

This short video walks you through how to plan, record and reflect on your CPD using the app.

How we use your data

For information about how we store, secure and use your data, see the 1CPD privacy policy.

Planning your CPD

Planning your CPD is important because:

  • it allows you to think about areas for development and improvement,
  • it helps you make the most of opportunities for learning as they arise, and
  • it ensures you take part in cost-effective activities that are relevant to your role.

We recommend regularly reviewing your learning and development needs. You might do this through formal workplace appraisals and one-to-ones.

Planning your CPD using the 1CPD app

Our 1CPD platform helps you plan your CPD by setting objectives. These are set from the Plan page.

  • Select 'Plan' in the navigation menu followed by the ‘Add Objective’ button.
  • When you record a CPD activity, you can select which of your objectives this activity helps you meet.

You can have up to 10 active objectives at a time. Once you complete an objective you should mark it as complete so you can add more.

You can also add a future activity in the 'Record' section. It will appear on your summary page to remind you of your future activity.

What counts as CPD

Anything that's relevant to your role counts as CPD. It doesn't have to be clinical or involve going on a course. Nor does it have to cost a lot of money.

You may find opportunities for CPD in your day-to-day work. If you've learnt something new that you didn't know yesterday, that counts as CPD.

Activities that count towards your CPD might include:

  • Formal activities, like doing a course or attending a seminar
  • Workplace-based activities, like reflecting on a challenging case or shadowing a colleague
  • Self-directed activities, like reading a book or listening to a podcast

You can do as many hours of each activity as you like – we don’t set a limit.

Whatever activity you do, it’s important to record your CPD and reflect on what you’ve learned.

“Not only was I making my own CPD hours to log, but I also got a discount on the cost of the meeting. Extra CPD hours and saving money was a win, win in my eyes.”

Lauren Valentine

Lauren Valentine RVN blogs about how she does CPD on a budget.

Read Lauren’s blog



Recording your CPD

You must record your CPD using our digital recording platform, 1CPD. 1CPD allows you to record your CPD on the go, rather than waiting until you are at your desk.

You can access 1CPD either via the app or on desktop.

How to record a CPD activity:

  • Click ‘Record’ on the main menu.
  • Enter the details of your activity and the dates you completed it.

If you're a vet working overseas

You don’t have to use 1CPD if you're a RCVS-registered vet working overseas. You can use whatever platform is available in the country where you’re practising.

Reflecting on your CPD

Reflection is an important part of your CPD. Unless you've reflected on an activity, it doesn't count towards your yearly target. For every CPD activity you record, you should think about:

  • how this CPD relates to your learning needs and objectives,
  • what you've learned,
  • how you'll apply your learning to your work, and
  • how it will impact your practice.

You might finish an activity and realise you haven't found it useful. That's ok - as long you reflect on why this is the case.

Recent changes to 1CPD

We recently made changes to the homepage on 1CPD. You’ll now see two progress bars, telling you how many hours you’ve recorded and reflected on.

  • If you’ve recorded and reflected on your required hours, you’ll see a message telling you that you’re compliant for the year.
  • If you haven’t met your required hours yet, you’ll see a message telling you that you’re not compliant.
  • If you’ve recorded the required number of hours but haven’t reflected on them, this will also show as not compliant. This will change once you’ve recorded and reflected on all your activities.

Making time to reflect

It's a common misconception that reflecting on CPD has to take up lots of time. It's important to remember:

  • you don't have to write an essay when reflecting on your CPD - a few notes will do,
  • you can upload a picture of any written notes you have, instead of typing them out,
  • you can add notes about recent CPD to an existing record as and when it's relevant.

There is no set time to undertake reflection on a particular piece of CPD. You can do so a day, a week, a month or even a year after doing it – as long as its impact is still relevant.

If you're struggling to meet your CPD requirement

If you're struggling to do enough hours of CPD, you might find our RCVS Academy course helpful. On this course you'll learn how to maximise opportunities for CPD in your day-to-day work.

If you're struggling with CPD because of a life event or sickness, you might be able to pause your CPD.

How to log your reflections on 1CPD

To log your reflections on 1CPD:

  • go to 'Reflection' in the main menu, and
  • select the activity you want to reflect on.

You can then choose:

  • guided reflection, using our prompts, or
  • free reflection.

The 'free' option allows you to record your reflections by:

  • writing some notes,
  • recording a voice note, or
  • uploading a document or photo.

“I think many vets are easily attaining the minimum of 35 hours per year, they just don’t see it or forget to record it!”

Pam Brown

Vet Pam Brown blogs about how she fits learning into everyday practice.

Read Pam’s blog



Pausing your CPD

In certain circumstances, you can pause your CPD for up to six months in a calendar year.

Situations where you might need to pause your CPD include:

  • Having a baby and/or going on parental leave
  • Going on long-term sick leave (including for mental health problems)
  • Taking time off work to care for a loved one
  • A change in circumstances (personal or professional) that makes it difficult for you to meet your CPD target

Yearly targets when you pause your CPD

If you pause your CPD, you only have to meet a portion of your yearly target. You won’t need to make up the hours.

For example, if you pause your CPD for six months you’ll only have to do half of your CPD requirement:

  • 17.5 hours for vets
  • 7.5 hours for vet nurses

How to pause your CPD

You can request to pause your CPD on the desktop version of 1CPD. Click ‘Pause CPD’ on the main menu and fill in the form. Once you’ve filled in this form, you’ll also be asked to complete a return to work plan.

Applications can’t be made retrospectively, but there are no restrictions on how many times you can apply to pause your CPD.

When to tell us you’re pausing your CPD

If you can, please let us know you want to pause your CPD as far in advance as possible. We understand this isn’t always possible.

Giving evidence when requesting a pause

When you fill in our request form to pause your CPD, you’ll be asked to select a reason from a dropdown menu. You don’t have to give us more information than this – our system is built on trust.

However, if a concern is raised about your request for a pause, we may ask for evidence as part of the concerns investigation process.

If you need to take longer than six months off work

You can only pause your CPD for six months per calendar year. If you’re planning to take longer than six months off work, it might be best to:

  • join the non-practising register if you’re a vet, or
  • remove yourself from the register if you’re a vet nurse.

If you do either of the above, you won’t have to do CPD at all. Your CPD requirement will start again from the date you re-register.

Paying to re-register

If you’re a vet nurse and re-register after a period of six to 18 months, you won’t have to pay a fee.

How we can help you with CPD

We want to make sure that you have everything you need to complete your CPD.

If you’ve got a question that we haven’t answered on this page, email us at [email protected] and we’d be happy to help.

CPD courses and webinars

Our RCVS Academy course is designed to help you better understand CPD requirements.

We've also held several webinars on a range of topics related to CPD.

One to one support

Need extra support using 1CPD? Want to talk through your questions with us? Our education team offers one to one support sessions. To arrange a session, please email [email protected]

Back to top