Chat with us, powered by LiveChat

Your Guide to Veterinary CPD Requirements in the UK

Continuing Professional Development: Your Guide to Veterinary CPD Requirements in the UK


Whether you need to complete your CPD hours or want to find new ways to offer support for the veterinarians at your practice, every veterinarian in the UK needs to keep up with this requirement. But do you fully understand what CPD hours entail and the ways you can acquire your CPD hours? Well, you’re in the right place. In this comprehensive article, we’ll provide you with all the information you need to know about CPD hours for veterinarians in the UK. From the CPD requirements for veterinarians in the UK to keeping track of your hours and where you can get them, we’ve got you covered.



What are Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Hours?

For veterinarians in the UK, CPD is a mandatory requirement set by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS). It ensures that veterinary professionals continue to provide safe and effective care to animals based on the latest best practices in the industry.

Although the RCVS sets the standards for CPD hours in the UK, they can change over time. So, veterinary professionals need to keep up-to-date on the latest releases from the RCVS regarding CPD to maintain their licensing in good standing.

For example, in 2020, the RCVS updated its CPD requirements to reflect the changing needs of the profession and the wider veterinary industry. The RCVS used to require all registered veterinary professionals to undertake a minimum of 105 hours of CPD over a rolling three-year period. However, this recently changed in 2020. Now, veterinary surgeons need 35 hours of CPD and veterinary nurses need 15 hours of CPD every year.

CPD Requirements for Veterinarians in the UK

All practicing veterinary surgeons and nurses must complete their CPD hours as required by the RCVS to maintain their licensing. Even part-time workers need to keep their licensing in good standing and therefore need to complete their yearly CPD hours. As discussed, veterinary surgeons need to complete 35 hours of CPD and veterinary nurses need to complete 15 hours of CPD every year.

Of these CPD hours, a minimum of 10 hours for veterinary surgeons and 5 hours for veterinary nurses must be from interactive CPD. Interactive CPD refers to learning activities with other individuals or with the support of a tutor. Additionally, a minimum of 5 hours for veterinary surgeons and 1 hour for veterinary nurses must be related to ethics and animal welfare.

Veterinary professionals are also encouraged to undertake a range of CPD activities across different categories, such as clinical, non-clinical, and reflective practice, to ensure they meet the RCVS standards for professional development. Veterinary professionals must keep a record of their CPD activities to demonstrate their compliance with the RCVS requirements.

Where Can You Get CPD Hours in the UK?

The RCVS lets veterinarians in the UK choose from a wide range of activities to fulfil their CPD requirements. Here are a few examples of activities veterinarians can choose from to fulfil their CPD requirements to showcase the wide range of activities available:

  • Attend conferences and workshops: Attending conferences and workshops is an effective way to earn CPD hours while also staying up-to-date with the latest developments and trends in veterinary medicine. There are many conferences and workshops organized by veterinary associations and organizations across the UK.
  • Online courses and webinars: There are many online courses and webinars available for veterinary professionals that cover a range of topics, from clinical skills to business management. Many of these courses and webinars are interactive and allow participants to ask questions and interact with other professionals.
  • Peer-reviewed publications or research projects: Writing and publishing articles in peer-reviewed journals or participating in research projects can also earn veterinary professionals CPD hours. This is an excellent way to develop research and writing skills, as well as to stay up-to-date with the latest research and developments in the field.
  • Self-directed learning: Self-directed learning involves reading books, journals, and other resources to improve knowledge and skills. This can include attending grand rounds, journal clubs or simply reading relevant articles.
  • Mentoring and coaching: Mentoring and coaching can be a useful way for veterinary professionals to gain insights from experienced colleagues and improve their own skills and knowledge. This can be done either informally or as part of a formal mentoring or coaching program.

On top of these examples, veterinarians can also participate in in-house training, online forums, and peer-to-peer learning for their CPD requirements.

Do You Need to Choose Accredited CPD Activities?

Unlike what most veterinarians assume, the RCVS does not require veterinarians to take accredited CPD activities. However, the RCVS does recommend that veterinary professionals choose CPD activities that are relevant to their area of work and are delivered by credible and reputable organizations.

Accredited CPD activities can provide veterinary professionals with additional reassurance that the activity meets the standards of the RCVS. It also guarantees the RCVS will accept the activity as part of your CPD hours. So, regardless of the type of professional development activities you participate in, always keep track!

How Much Do CPD Activities Cost?

CPD activities can range significantly in price. From free learning activities to paid in-person seminars, you can find CPD activities to fit any budget. Oftentimes, veterinary practices allocate some budget to go towards their staff’s CPD requirements. You can use this allocated budget to participate in more specialized CPD activities that better fit your individual learning needs.

How to Keep Track of Your CPD Hours

Keeping accurate records of CPD activities and the hours spent is an essential component of fulfilling your CPD requirements. Thankfully, the RCVS created 1CPD to help you keep track of your CPD requirements. Available as both a mobile and web app, 1CPD gives you a platform to manage your CPD activities. In 2022, the use of 1CPD became mandatory.


Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is a crucial part of veterinary professionals’ careers in the UK. It helps veterinary professionals to stay up-to-date with the latest developments in their field, improve their skills and knowledge, and provide the best possible care for their patients.

The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) requires veterinary professionals to complete a minimum number of CPD hours every year, to ensure high standards of professional practice. While the RCVS does not require veterinary professionals to undertake accredited CPD activities, it is recommended that they choose CPD activities that are relevant to their area of work and delivered by credible organizations.

You can help the veterinarians at your veterinary office keep better track of their CPD requirements with the use of a practice management system. High-quality practice management systems keep a log of all your veterinarians’ CPD hours and when they need to participate in more CPD activities. This helps you ensure your staff keeps their licensing up-to-date and helps your staff stay better organized.