Continuing Professional Development

CPD documents for chiropractors


CPD update

CPD guidance 2018/ 19


Other documents

2015/ 16 Learning points

CPD personal development plan

waiver of CPD in exceptional circumstances

Guidance for providers of CPD learning activities

CPD requirements

All registered chiropractors (whether practising or non practising) must keep up to date with developments within the profession to make sure they are practising in the best interests of themselves and their patients. The way the GCC checks that chiropractors are broadening and deepening their knowledge is through a system of Continuing Professional Development (CPD for short).

The General Chiropractic Council (Continuing Professional Development) Rules 2004 set out the system of CPD and the requirements all chiropractors must complete each year. These rules are legally binding, which means that only those who can demonstrate they have exceptional circumstances for not completing their annual CPD, will be granted exemption by the Registrar.

2018/ 19 CPD year

We are currently making changes to the online CPD summary and will publish details of our timeframe on this shortly.


What each chiropractor must do

The CPD year begins on 1 September each year and ends on the 31 August the following year, for example, 1 September 2015 to 31 August 2016. During that CPD year each chiropractor must complete at least 30 hours of learning, although we recognise that most chiropractors complete a lot more than this. 

Half of the 30 hours (15 hours) must include ‘learning with others’. This means that there must have been some direct and immediate interaction between the chiropractor and other people as part of the learning activity. The rest of the learning may either be more learning with others, or learning on their own, such as reading books or research.

Every year chiropractors must send us a summary of their CPD activities to show the legally required 30 hours they have completed before 30 September each year. This can either be done by filling in the CPD summary online or filling in a paper CPD record summary and posting it to us.

The table below gives information on some learning activities which have caused issues in the past. We have set out why they wont be accepted as CPD.

Example activity

It probably isn’t learning and development if …

Using social media

You are logging the time you spend tweeting and on Facebook as general activities but do not tell us how you were learning and developing in doing this

Spine checks

You are telling us about the time you spent at a community event offering spine checks but not what you learnt while you were there

Voluntary work

You are volunteering because you see it as a good thing to do and you don’t tell us about how the learning from your volunteering has contributed to your professional learning and development

Committee work

If you simply log that you are a member of a committee and do not describe how this contributes to your or the profession’s learning and development


You are repeating a session you have run before or teaching a class where your own learning and development is not taken forward

Gaining practice building information

You are finding out how to increase your patient numbers solely for your business purposes

Visiting exhibition stands at conferences

You wander round the stands briefly noting what is there but with no detailed discussion or thought as to what you are looking at.

The learning cycle

CPD for chiropractors follows a simple format. Each year chiropractors must complete at least one learning cycle. A learning cycle is a learning need that the chiropractor has identified through reflecting on their practice, for example, looking into a specific condition or learning a new technique. Refer to the CPD Guidance Document and also the Learning Points from the 2015/ 16 CPD year for more information.

As part of their CPD activities each year, chiropractors are asked to give details of:

  1. the learning need they have identified
  2. how they plan to meet that learning need
  3. the learning activities they have done as part of that learning need; and
  4. their thoughts on the learning they did. We ask them to reflect on how effective the learning activities were and whether they have applied anything they have learnt to their work as a chiropractor.

Any learning that chiropractors do must aim to either:

  1. Improve the care they provide for their patients; and/ or
  2. Develop the chiropractic profession.

Formal and informal learning with others

The GCC rules do not specify that learning with others must be in a formal setting, such as a lecture or seminar, but may also include informal learning, such as practice meetings and discussions with colleagues. However, chiropractors must remember that they will need to keep some evidence to show they have done this learning in case we audit their CPD.

CPD audit

To check that chiropractors are doing the learning they tell us they are doing, each year we ask some of them to send in evidence of their learning.

We select a number of chiropractors randomly by computer and try not to pick the same people too often. They send to us evidence, such as a certificate of attendance or a letter from the organiser of an event for a formal learning activity. For an informal learning activity we may accept a letter from colleagues who also attended the same learning activity.

Where CPD requirements have not been met?

Each year there will be a small number of cases where registrants have not met the requirements of the CPD scheme, or they have not submitted a CPD record summary at all. In these cases the GCC always attempts to open a dialogue with the chiropractor to resolve any issues. However, there are instances where registrants do not engage with the process, or their CPD is so far wide of the mark, that the Registrar will have little option but to remove them from the Register.

In these cases the registrant will always be given the opportunity to engage with the process so that the Registrar may take as much information into account as possible on which to base his decision. In the unlikely event that a registrants name is removed from the Registrar for failing to comply with the CPD requirements, an option will be open to them to appeal the Registrars decision. An appeal must be lodged within 28 days from the date of the removal notice. Further information on the appeals process can be found here.

If you have any questions about CPD please contact the GCC at [email protected]

Links to CPD documents