CPD Requirements for Occupational Therapists

Hello Rehabhub readers,
Thanks for all the feedback from last week’s post. It seems there is quite a need for more information about national registration particularly for Occupational Therapists. I have RSVPed for the information session at Westmead Hospital on 13 Feb and I hope I will see some Rehabhub readers there. If you recognise me from my bio under About Us – Editor, please come over and say “hi!” I would love to meet you! Details on the information sessions to be held by the Occupational Therapy Board of Australia can be found here. for NSW and here for Victoria. Information sessions for other states have not been announced.

Now for CPD Requirements…
You may recall in my last post that I made a distinction between Occupational Therapy Australia, that is the professional association for OTs and the Occupational Therapy Board of Australia, the registration board, the body set up by the government to regulate the practice of Occupational Therapy. They are two separate organisations and have two seperate sets of CPD requirements.

CPD stands for Continuing Professional Development.

This picture is attributed to Deutsch Lernonden in Glossop's photostream from Flikr. It depicts one example of an adult learning environment

The professional association has introduced a requirement for CPD in anticipation of what the registration board would do. If you do not fulfill the requirements then you are not able to be a member of OT Australia (with some exceptions but that is the gist of it). The registration board has also released its CPD requirements. If you fail to meet the requirements of the registration board, your ability to practice will be effected. Ultimately it is possible that you could be prevented as practicing as an OT in Australia. Initial registration does not depend on the completion of the CPD points.

You can have a look at the requirements for the professional association and for the registration board. at the links provided.

Similarities and Differences
I have had a look through the two types of requirements to see if they are the same. They are not, which does confuse things a little.

Both the professional association and the registration board require thirty hours of CPD points per year. They both require that the individual OT maintain a record and evidence of completion of the points. Both bodies have auditing systems to ensure that the requirements are being met. The points can be accrued in a range of ways in either programme so you are not limited to doing seminars or any other individual activity.

There are a number of differences. Please note that this analysis is not exhaustive by any means, it is just to give you an overview of the two systems as they currently stand. The differences are substantial and mean that if you want to practice as an OT and be a member of your professional association, you will need to navigate through what is effectively two completely different systems to gain the acceptable amount of CDP points.

The registration board divides activities into three categories, Formal Learning, Informal Learning and Engagement with the Profession. Caps of maximum hours apply within these catagories. Although practising OTs can be registered on 1 July 2012, without having to complete all their CTP requirements, they are required to have the full thirty hours completed by 30 November 2012. From that point onwards, OTs will be required to have completed their thirty hours of CPD points by 1 December each year to maintain their registration. If you would like to be registered from 1 July 2012, the board “encourages” you to apply for registration by 30 March 2012. OTs who have been registered in their own state will initially received automatic registration. Please check the requirements for yourself. The applications forms are not available yet but will be available at the registration board’s website.

The professional association has divided the CPD activities into nine categories and requires that each OT gain their points from at least three of these categories with the exeption of Formal Studies and Courses. No caps apply in this programme. The categories are: OT Practice Development, Peer Support, Providing Mentoring/Formal Supervision, Receiving Mentoring/Formal Supervision, Informal Studies and Courses, Formal Studies and Courses, Research and Publications, CPD Planning and other CPD Activities. There is a helpful matrix outlining the types of activities included in each catagory here.

The professional association’s programme commenced on 1 July 2011 so it would seem that you need to have your 30 hours by 1 July 2012 to maintain your membership of Occupational Therapy Australia. That point requries clarification and I will check with Occupational Therapy Australia and get back to you on that.

The categories do not translate easily to each other. For example activities such as journal clubs and seminars are included under Formal Learning for the registration board but under Informal Studies/Courses for the professional association with Formal Studies only including courses where there is a formal assessment process such as a university post-grad qualification. In relation to the category, Formal Studies/Courses, the professional association states, on page 12 of the Continuing Professional Development Programme 2011-1013 Manual, that most Formal Studies include a range of educational activities such as literature review, research projects, peer presentations etc. Therefore if you are claiming credit in Catagory 6: Formal Studies, a variety of learning formats are assumed to be embedded in your course and you are not requried to participate in CPD in other catagories and may 30 hours in this catagory.

The registration board, on the other hand, has a cap of twenty-fice hours on the catagory entitled Formal Learning. So whilst you can claim your full thirty hours of CPD points if you are doing a formal education such as a degree or diploma, you can only claim twenty-five hours of this in the registration board’s requirements.

The professional association allows a catagory for “Other CPD” events which allows for activities which don’t fit neatly into any other catagory whereas the professional registration board has not catagory of this type.

Additionally the professional association allows a category for planning your CPD. Two hours is allowed for this and from what I can see we will be needing that two hours to work around these two systems. The professional registration board does not have this category.

How to Handle Two Systems of CPD Requirements
The professional association wrote its CPD requirements prior to 1 July 2011 in anticipation of the requirements that would be released by the registration board. It is stated in page 2 of the professional association’s CPD manual that our expectation is that they will be the same. The registration board comes from a different perspective and clearly followed a quite different model in deciding on the CPD requirements. The core principles are similar, evidence based practice is endorsed, there is encouragement to gain CPD from a number of areas, an audit system is introduced etc, but the actual structure of the two systems is quite different. We are really operating under two completely different sets of requirements. The professional association has said that it will maintain the same system until June 2013. I am hoping that the profession and the registration board can agree to some simplification of these two sets of requirements before then.

In the meantime I suggest it is worthwhile using your two hours of CPD planning allowed by the professional association to work out what you need to learn and how it is going to fit into these two systems. By planning in advance you can avoid a panic in July and/or November when you should have finished your points and also ensure that your CPD points are meaningful to your professional development.

I think this is one of the questions we should be asking at the upcoming information sessions. We do need more information on how this is going to operate. Please come with me!

Can Rehabhub Help?
Well I hope so! It is possible to arrange some informal events such as journal clubs, presentations or other online meetings or something similar through this site. If you are interested in doing that please let me know your ideas either in a comment below or by sending an email to rehabhub@gmail.com. The feedback I have received so far suggests to me that there is a real need for help with CPD points.

If you found this post helpful, please click the “like” button or write a comment below. Also please let me know if there is any topic you would addressed on Rehabhub.

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About RehabHub

I am the Rehabhub editor
This entry was posted in CPD, national registration, Occupational Therapy and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to CPD Requirements for Occupational Therapists

  1. Sammy says:

    I would be interested in finding out more about events organised by rehabhub.

  2. Sylvia says:

    Nice to read your blog

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