Initial Professional Development



Professional development is learning to earn or maintain professional credentials such as
academic degree An academic degree is a qualification awarded to students upon successful completion of a course of study in higher education, usually at a college or university. These institutions commonly offer degrees at various levels, usually including unde ...
s to formal coursework, attending conferences, and informal learning opportunities situated in practice. It has been described as intensive and collaborative, ideally incorporating an evaluative stage. There is a variety of approaches to professional development, including consultation, coaching, communities of practice, lesson study, mentoring, reflective supervision and technical assistance.National Professional Development Center on Inclusion. (2008)
"What do we mean by professional development in the early childhood field?"
Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina, FPG Child Development Institute.


The University of Management and Technology notes the use of the phrase "professional development" from 1857 onwards. In the training of school staff in the United States, " e need for professional development ... came to the forefront in the 1960s".


A wide variety of people, such as teachers, military officers and non-commissioned officers, health care professionals, lawyers, accountants and engineers engage in professional development. Individuals may participate in professional development because of an interest in lifelong learning, a sense of moral obligation, to maintain and improve professional competence, to enhance career progression, to keep abreast of new technology and practices, or to comply with professional regulatory requirements. Many American states have professional development requirements for school teachers. For example, Arkansas teachers must complete 60 hours of documented professional development activities annually. Professional development credits are named differently from state to state. For example, teachers in Indiana are required to earn 90 Continuing Renewal Units (CRUs) per year; in Massachusetts, teachers need 150 Professional Development Points (PDPs); and in Georgia, teachers must earn 10 Professional Learning Units (PLUs). American and Canadian nurses, as well as those in the United Kingdom, have to participate in formal and informal professional development (earning credit based on attendance of education that has been accredited by a regulatory agency) in order to maintain professional registration.

Professional school

A professional school is a
graduate school Postgraduate or graduate education refers to academic or professional degrees, certificates, diplomas, or other qualifications pursued by post-secondary students who have earned an undergraduate (bachelor's) degree. The organization and struc ...
level institution that prepares students for careers in specific fields. Some of the schools also offer undergraduate degrees in specific professions. Examples of this type of school include: architecture school,
business school A business school is a university-level institution that confers degrees in business administration or management. A business school may also be referred to as school of management, management school, school of business administration, o ...
, divinity school,
engineering school Engineering is the use of scientific principles to design and build machines, structures, and other items, including bridges, tunnels, roads, vehicles, and buildings. The discipline of engineering encompasses a broad range of more speciali ...
, journalism school,
law school A law school (also known as a law centre or college of law) is an institution specializing in legal education, usually involved as part of a process for becoming a lawyer within a given jurisdiction. Law degrees Argentina In Argentina, l ...
, library school, schools of education (
normal school A normal school or normal college is an institution created to train teachers by educating them in the norms of pedagogy and curriculum. In the 19th century in the United States, instruction in normal schools was at the high school level, turni ...
), public policy school and social work school. The field of healthcare has many professional schools, including
medical school A medical school is a tertiary educational institution, or part of such an institution, that teaches medicine, and awards a professional degree for physicians. Such medical degrees include the Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS, M ...
, chiropractic school, dental school, pharmacy school, physician assistant school, physiotherapy school, podiatric medical school, public health school, speech–language pathology school, occupational therapy school, nursing school, veterinary school and optometry school.


In a broad sense, professional development may include ''formal'' types of vocational education, typically post-secondary or poly-technical training leading to qualification or credential required to obtain or retain employment. Professional development may also come in the form of pre-service or in-service professional development programs. These programs may be formal, or informal, group or individualized. Individuals may pursue professional development independently, or programs may be offered by human resource departments. Professional development on the job may develop or enhance process skills, sometimes referred to as leadership skills, as well as task skills. Some examples for process skills are 'effectiveness skills', 'team functioning skills', and 'systems thinking skills'. Professional development opportunities can range from a single workshop to a semester-long academic course, to services offered by a medley of different professional development providers and varying widely with respect to the philosophy, content, and format of the learning experiences. Some examples of approaches to professional development include: *Case Study Method – The case method is a teaching approach that consists in presenting the students with a case, putting them in the role of a decision maker facing a problem – See Case method. *Consultation – to assist an individual or group of individuals to clarify and address immediate concerns by following a systematic problem-solving process. *Coaching – to enhance a person’s competencies in a specific skill area by providing a process of observation, reflection, and action. *Communities of Practice – to improve professional practice by engaging in shared inquiry and learning with people who have a common goal *Lesson Study – to solve practical dilemmas related to intervention or instruction through participation with other professionals in systematically examining practice *Mentoring – to promote an individual's awareness and refinement of his or her own professional development by providing and recommending structured opportunities for reflection and observation *Reflective Supervision – to support, develop, and ultimately evaluate the performance of employees through a process of inquiry that encourages their understanding and articulation of the rationale for their own practices *Technical Assistance – to assist individuals and their organization to improve by offering resources and information, supporting networking and change efforts. The
World Bank The World Bank is an international financial institution that provides loans and grants to the governments of low- and middle-income countries for the purpose of pursuing capital projects. The World Bank is the collective name for the Inter ...
's 2019
World Development Report The World Development Report (WDR) is an annual report published since 1978 by the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) or World Bank. Each WDR provides in-depth analysis of a specific aspect of economic development. Past ...
on the future of work argues that professional development opportunities for those both in and out of work, such as flexible learning opportunities at universities and adult learning programs, enable labor markets to adjust to the future of work.


Initial professional development (IPD) is defined as "a period of development during which an individual acquires a level of competence necessary in order to operate as an autonomous professional". Professional associations may recognise the successful completion of IPD by the award of chartered or similar status. Examples of professional bodies that require IPD prior to the award of professional status are the Institute of Mathematics and its Applications, the Institution of Structural Engineers, and the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health.


Continuing professional development (CPD) or continuing professional education (CPE) is
continuing education Continuing education (similar to further education in the United Kingdom and Ireland) is an all-encompassing term within a broad list of post-secondary learning activities and programs. The term is used mainly in the United States and Canada. ...
to maintain knowledge and skills. Most
profession A profession is a field of work that has been successfully '' professionalized''. It can be defined as a disciplined group of individuals, ''professionals'', who adhere to ethical standards and who hold themselves out as, and are accepted by ...
s have CPD obligations. Examples are the
Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) is a global professional body for surveyors, founded in London in 1868. It works at a cross-governmental level, and aims to promote and enforce the highest international standards in the valu ...
American Academy of Financial Management The American Academy of Financial Management (AAFM) was a US-based board of standards, certifying body, and accreditation council focused on the finance sector and wealth management professionals.. AAFM was superseded by the Global Academy of Fi ...
, safety professionals with the International Institute of Risk & Safety Management (IIRSM) or the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH), and medical and legal professionals, who are subject to continuing medical education or
continuing legal education Continuing legal education (CLE), also known as mandatory or minimum continuing legal education (MCLE) or, in some jurisdictions outside the United States, as continuing professional development, consists of professional education for attorneys ...
requirements, which vary by jurisdiction. CPD authorities in the United Kingdom include the CPD Standards Office who work in partnership with the CPD Institute, and also the CPD Certification Service. For example, CPD by the
Institute of Highway Engineers The Institute of Highway Engineers (IHE), formerly the ''Institute of Highway Incorporated Engineers'', is the professional institution for practitioners in highway and traffic engineering in the UK, offering Engineering Council registration an ...
is approved by the CPD Standards Office, and CPD by the Chartered Institution of Highways and Transportation is approved by the CPD Certification Service. A systematic review published in 2019 by the Campbell Collaboration found little evidence of the effectiveness of continuing professional development (CPD).Filges, T, Torgerson, C, Gascoine, L, Dietrichson, J, Nielsen, C, Viinholt, BA. Effectiveness of continuing professional development training of welfare professionals on outcomes for children and young people: A systematic review. Campbell Systematic Reviews. 2019; 15:e1060.

See also

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External links

* {{DEFAULTSORT:Professional Development Personal development Vocational education Professional ethics