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Continuing Professional Development

The Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia requires all Fellows of the College in active practice to participate in the RCPA Continuing Professional Development Program (CPDP) if they are domiciled in Australia or New Zealand (see below for other countries). The College no longer accepts CPDP certificates or ‘sign offs’ from other Colleges’ CPD programs as satisfying RCPA requirements. For many Joint Fellows, compliance with RCPA CPDP will only require re-documenting activities that they currently already record for other Colleges. Others will need to consider their scope of practice in laboratory medicine when planning and recording their CPDP and peer review activities for the year (see IQA Framework information below). Participation in the RCPA CPDP is also mandatory for Faculty Fellows.

Why are you required to participate in the RCPA’s CPDP?

Compliance with the RCPA’s CPDP provides evidence of continuing medical education and maintenance of professional standards in the practice of pathology. The Australian Medical Council mandates that

‘The education provider requires participants to select CPD activities relevant to their learning needs, based on their current and intended scope of practice within the specialty(s). The education provider requires specialists to complete a cycle of planning and self-evaluation of learning goals and achievements’.

This is in addition to the requirement for Fellows to confirm their CPDP compliance and their “recency” of practice as part of your annual medical registration renewal. If you have both clinical and laboratory clinical practices, then you should comply separately for these two areas fulfilling the relevant College requirements.

As you may be aware the Medical Board of Australia (MBA) continues to strongly signal that it will be introducing measures (sometimes referred to as “revalidation”) to not only ensure continuing education in your scope of practice, but also competence in the areas in which you practice. The MBA has also recently indicated that it will be enlisting the help of Colleges for guidance in appropriate activities for assuring individual specialist practitioner competence.

Peer Review Activities: RCPA Internal Quality Assurance (IQA) Frameworks

Guidance on suitable peer review activities can be found under Section 1 of the Frameworks for Internal Quality Assurance that the College has developed for all disciplines. From the calendar year 2017 all Fellows are required to undertake 10 hours of peer review activities in addition to the current 10 hours required under Category C. For guidance, please see the link below.

Internal Quality Assurance Framework information.

CPDP and international practitioners

Fellows who live in countries other than Australia and New Zealand and are not registered to practise medicine in Australia and or New Zealand may participate in their country of domicile Pathology College/Organisation’s CPD Program to be compliant with the RCPA CPDP requirements. If however they wish to apply for Medical Registration in Australia or New Zealand, the College will only support this application if they can demonstrate at least 12 months of compliance with RCPA CPDP requirements.

Fellows who live in countries other than Australia and New Zealand and are registered to practice medicine in Australia and or New Zealand must participate in the RCPA CPD program or apply to the BEA for possible special dispensation.

How do you complete your annual CPDP return?

The College CPDP is hours based, broken down into 3 categories with minimum annual requirements for each of these:

  • Group Activities & Meetings – minimum 20 hours
  • Personal Study – minimum 20 hours
  • Quality Activities - minimum 20 hours which must include 10 hours of peer review activities as guided by the IQA Framework for your discipline

The CPDP manual lists the activities which may be included in each category.

The College encourages all fellows to use the web-based CPDP tool to submit logbook entries or an annual return.

  • CPDP Annual return: one submission that includes all required hours for the appropriate calendar year.
  • Logbook CPDP Entries: submission of individual entries, likely to be submitted throughout the year. Each activity has an appropriate code, and a description must be included.

Below you will find an Excel recording spreadsheet you can use to maintain your records offline and the annual activity summary if you wish to make a paper-based submission for 2017.

CPDP Tool


If you have any queries regarding compliance with the College's CPDP, please contact Dr Bronwen Ross at bronwenr@rcpa.edu.au. Any general CPDP queries should be sent to cpdp@rcpa.edu.au.

Did you know you can boost your category B and C hours by engaging in activities from RCPA Education Online? Find out more.