Continuing Professional Development (CPD)

Archaeologists in high-visibility clothing sits around a table and examine finds.
© Wessex Archaeology

Continuing Professional Development (CPD) allows individuals to develop their skills and knowledge throughout their working lives. It is an ongoing process which may be related to your current job role, future professional aspirations or more personal goals and objectives. Sharing knowledge about professional archaeology improves standards, promotes best practice and attracts new people into archaeology.

This page gives you an overview of our CPD requirements for members, how to set out your Personal Development Plan (PDP) and how to identify and record relevant training. CIfA members also have free access to our e-guidance module where you can find more information. We also have an FAQs page to assist.

CPD requirements for CIfA accredited archaeologists

CIfA champions professionalism in archaeology. Our overall goal is for clients to engage only accredited professionals with the necessary skills to carry out archaeological services. To achieve this it is critical that our accredited archaeologists engage with continuing professional development.

As a CIfA accredited archaeologist, you should ensure that you have the appropriate skills and knowledge for the archaeological work you do and to keep those skills up to date. All individual accredited archaeologists must:   

  • complete at least 50 hours of CPD every two years
  • have a personal development plan (PDP)   
  • record all their CPD in a CPD log - members can login to the website Members Area and use the online CPD log to record your CPD and learning objectives or upload your own forms.

Personal Development Plans (PDP)

A woman sits at a table and is guided through a CPD document.
© Headland Archaeology

Your PDP outlines personal and professional learning targets for the next two years. It should include:  

  • your learning goals for the next two years   
  • where you might be able to acquire these skills and who can help

You can add these to the online CPD record or download and use the Personal Development Plan (PDP) proforma (Word doc) or your employers' version.

Additional guidance can be found in the TA107 article Taking control of your future: making the most of opportunities to expand your career horizons (PDF).

CPD log

Your CPD log is for recording your CPD activity and can be used as evidence of your achievements and help support an upgrade application. You can include any activities on your CPD log which help you achieve the learning goals outlined in your PDP.

You can add these to the online CPD record or download and use the CPD record proforma or your employers' version.

What counts as CPD?

We believe in self-directed CPD. This means you choose the form of training or learning that relates to your overall goals set out in your PDP. For example, if you attend a two-day conference but only one hour-long session is directly relevant to your PDP, you should only record that session in your CPD log. Some types of CPD you can include are listed below.

  • home-based learning
  • work-based learning
  • in-house training courses
  • external training courses
  • preparatory research and reading
  • conferences or workshops
  • formal research

Five tips for supporting your own professional development

  • Plan – think about and update your Personal Development Plan (PDP) regularly (we recommend every six months)
  • Awareness – make sure your employer is aware you have a PDP, take it along to your next appraisal. If you are self-employed, you will need to act as both employer and employee... even more important to add to your diary!
  • Record – ensure you record every learning opportunity you take in a CPD log. We have a template for this but you can use anything – a diary, spreadsheet, notebook – there are also apps available for smart phones and tablets, and CIfA members can use our online CPD form in the [members area](/online-cpd-log)
  • Review – establish a regular review cycle of your PDP and CPD to make sure they are up to date and relevant... or maybe ask an individual in a similar situation so you can help each other
  • Document – it is useful to keep any certificates together in case someone asks to see them - and retain the course documentation and notes so you can keep using them.

CPD diaries

Responsibility for your professional development lies with you, although other people including employers, colleagues and CIfA will be able to help along the way. To read members’ accounts of their experiences of CPD take a look at CIfA CPD diaries.