Association of Anatomical Pathology Technology

The AAPT CPD scheme

What is Continuing Professional Development (CPD)?

Continuing professional development is an on-going process, that enables APTs and other professionals to sustain, refresh and improve their knowledge and practice. Recording professional training and experiences demonstrates improvements in standards, skills and services, and reflects on the individual’s commitment to patient care and personal development.  

Why is the AAPT running a CPD scheme and who is eligible to participate?

It is the personal duty of any professional to keep their knowledge and skills up to date so that they remain competent to practise. The AAPT encourages APT staff to maintain, improve and extend their knowledge, skills and practice. The AAPT CPD scheme is free for all members of the Association regardless of grade.


The Academy for Healthcare Science have developed standards for CPD with information gathered from other professions, public and patient groups and other organisations with an interest in ensuring staff are well trained, working to the best standards of practice, and updating their skills and knowledge regularly.

You can see the standards here: to

Members who are registered with the AHCS may be asked to submit their CPD folders for audit, hence keeping your personal CPD records updated and filed means you are prepared if you become one of the randomly selected members.

A self-regulated credit-based scheme

The AAPT believes that CPD be self-regulated although participants might wish to plan their CPD activity in accordance with employers and service delivery. In order to “reward” participants for their CPD activity, the AAPT offers a self-regulated credit based system. For each hour of CPD activity, 1 credit should be recorded. The AAPT recommends the obtainment of 50 CPD credits per annum. The scheme is an automatic benefit of membership for all AAPT members.

The Association provides on-line learning for members. These are called “Read, Test and Reflect” (RTR), this has benefits over other formal and educational CPD as it does not require attendance at meetings or events.

Within the RTR domain, you will find multiple-choice questions based on articles, guidelines and publications that should be accessible to APT staff. These are set by members and can be based on new publications, best practice documents and other allied professional subjects. A set of RTR questions can only be attempted once and those who record a score of 12 or above can claim 5 CPD credits.

Extra credits, even for those not achieving a score of 12, can be obtained through a completed reflective learning sheet. You are invited to design an RTR which can be submitted for other APTs to learn form and you will be awarded 5 points for preparing the questions and answers. For more information on this contact the office for a template.

An additional 2 credits can be recorded for reflecting upon any activity. This is known as reflective learning.

What is Reflective learning?

There is an increased awareness that professional development is based on ‘reflective practice’ and ‘evidence based practice’. All professional practitioners are advised to undertake a systematic self-evaluation process following learning activities, in order to develop the potential to contribute effectively to the continuous improvement of quality.

This does help to identify opportunities for personal and professional development, recognising the importance, of and engaging in, critical reflection on professional practice. Reflective learning aims to demonstrate not only why an individual undertakes an activity but also what they experienced as a result of this and the most important aspect of continuous development is the outcome rather than the input.  The key to a high standard of continuing professional development lies in the critical evaluation of all learning (both theoretical and practical) and its application to safe and effective practice, demonstrating links with current and future learning.

How does participating in CPD benefit the individual?

  • Broadens the knowledge base and acquisition of new skills
  • Increases job satisfaction by promotion of professional ideas and new initiatives
  • Enhances curriculum vitae
  • Used during PDR
  • Provides a benchmark for performance appraisal
  • Provides evidence for regulation requirements
  • Encourages reflective practice
  • Professional networking

Of equal importance are the ‘hidden’ benefits that give professional enrichment and ownership.  In an increasingly regulated culture, CPD gives individuals the chance to direct their career progression by reflecting on and shaping their learning and development.

When recruiting staff, one of the selection criteria new employers adopt is that the candidate displays an active involvement in CPD.  An up-to-date portfolio is an excellent way for a prospective candidate to demonstrate this.

How does participating in the CPD benefit employers?

Staff who are able to shape their own learning and professional development can bring new skills and ideas into the workplace and improve the overall morale of staff. 

Participating in the CPD scheme can benefit employers by:

  • Maintaining the confidence of an up-to-date professional and competent workforce
  • Attracting confidence of service users
  • Aiding staff recruitment and retention
  • Meeting Clinical Pathology Accreditation CPA (UK) Ltd requirements
  • Providing evidence of standards attained by employees
  • Enabling greater teamwork
  • Helping to ensure that investments in the training of staff are well targeted
  • Dissemination of best practice

How does participating in professional development help and benefit the public?

By adopting a lifelong learning approach, APT staff can be assured that their knowledge and skills are kept up to date with new thinking and with new techniques. This will in turn inspire confidence in the service that the profession delivers.

Further information on the AAPT CPD scheme, including full scheme rules and the downloadable portfolio is within the Members' Area. If you have yet to join the AAPT, you can find information here.