Learn More About Professional Competence

Professional competence.
Two trainees talking.

What does a Professional Competence Scheme involve?

Over the course of the professional competence year (1 May to 30 April) you will need to:

  • complete one Clinical (Practice) Audit
  • gather and record a minimum of 50 Continuing Professional Development (CPD) credits across four CPD categories:
    • External (maintenance of knowledge and skills) - minimum 20 credits per year (required)
    • Internal (practice evaluation and development) - minimum 20 credits per year (required)
    • Personal Learning - minimum 5 credits per year (required)
    • Research or Teaching - 2 credits per year (desirable)

The remaining credits can be made up of any combination of these four categories.

You must record your CPD and Clinical (Practice) Audit activities and keep documentary evidence that you have taken part in these activities. Doctors on our Professional Competence Schemes record their activities in the ePortfolio for Professional Competence, which is like an online logbook.

Each year we issue you an Annual Statement of Participation, which lists a summary of the CPD and Clinical (Practice) Audit claims that you entered in your ePortfolio.

The Medical Council may ask you for evidence of participation in a Professional Competence Scheme. It will accept your Annual Statement of Participation as appropriate evidence.

Your Professional Competence Requirements Explained

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Minimum requirement for Professional Competence: 1 per year

You are required to complete at least one clinical (practice) audit or quality improvement project per year.

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Minimum requirement for Professional Competence: 20 credits per year

You can claim CPD credit in this category for attending:

  • regional, national or international scientific meetings relevant to your area of practice
  • educational activities organised by your training body, college or medical society
  • courses, workshops, seminars, diplomas or other courses, including online learning, that are relevant to your area of practice.
A Minimum requirement for Professional Competence: 20 credits per year You can claim CPD credit in this category for attending:
  • case conferences
  • journal clubs
  • Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) and similar courses
  • other educational activities that are department-based, hospital-based or practice-based.
Read more about Verification of Internal Events. If you are in independent practice or do not work in a clinical environment, find out more about CPD for Doctors in Non-Clinical Practice.
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Minimum requirement for Professional Competence: 5 credits per year

You can claim CPD credit in this category for:

  • reading journals
  • studying for a diploma or postgraduate examination
  • online learning where there is no learner interaction or evidence that you have completed the activity.

You don’t need to collect evidence that you have taken part in personal learning activities.

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Minimum requirement for Professional Competence: This is desirable, not mandatory. You should aim to gather at least two credits per year

You can claim credits for:

  • the first-time preparation and delivery of a presentation at an academic meeting (5 credits)
  • acting as an examiner for a postgraduate medical training body
  • setting postgraduate exam questions
  • delivering postgraduate lectures
  • Publications
  • national standards development.

You need evidence of participation for this CPD category.

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You can claim CPD credits for online learning in either the External or Internal category if it:

  • involves learner interaction or self-assessment
  • the learning objectives describe what you may learn or achieve by taking part in the activity
  • the site provides links to appropriate further study that reinforce and clarify the activity topics
  • the site provides evidence that you have completed the activity.

What Scheme Should I Enrol On?

Doctor performing check up.

Specialist Division Schemes

If you are on the Specialist Division of the Medical Council Register, simply choose a Scheme appropriate to your registered specialty.

You only need to enrol on one Scheme, even if you have multiple registered specialties.

We operate six Specialist Division Schemes:

  • Faculty of Occupational Medicine Specialist Division Scheme
  • Faculty of Paediatrics Specialist Division Scheme
  • Faculty of Pathology Specialist Division Scheme
  • Faculty of Public Health Medicine Specialist Division Scheme
  • Institute of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists Specialist Division Scheme
  • Irish Committee on Higher Medical Training Specialist Division Scheme (Medicine)

General Division Schemes

If you are on the General or Supervised Division of the Medical Council Register and are practising in Ireland, choose a Scheme that suits your area of practice:

All of our General Division Schemes, except for the Irish Committee on Higher Medical Training General Division Scheme, require a relevant Membership or Licentiateship qualification (or equivalent) such as MRCPI, LFOM, MFOM or MFPHMI.

If you are on the General or Supervised Division and working in Occupational Medicine, Paediatrics, Public Health Medicine or Obstetrics and Gynaecology and do not meet the entry requirements for the relevant General Division Scheme, you can enrol on the Irish Committee on Higher Medical Training General Division Scheme. If you are not sure, our team will be happy to advise you.

Doctor with patient
Courses and Masterclasses.

How We Can Help You Maintain Professional Competence

We have a highly experienced Professional Competence support team in our Dublin headquarters. They are always happy to answer your questions and advise you on how to maintain Professional Competence.

If you need help with your ePortfolio, we can arrange a convenient time to work with you to ensure your records are up to date.

We can also help you actively maintain professional competence - gather those all-important CPD credits while developing useful new skills, knowledge and expertise that will help you be a better doctor.

Opportunities for Continuing Professional Development at RCPI include:

  • Our popular, long-running Masterclass series, delivered by leading national and international experts who are passionate about sharing the latest research relating to their specialty.
  • A diverse range of one-year diplomas covering areas such as Patient Safety, Syncope and Related Disorders, Cerebrovascular and Stroke Medicine, Core Pathology Management, Immunology, and Leadership and Quality in Healthcare.
  • Practical one-day workshops covering a wide range of clinical and non-clinical skills.
  • Bespoke educational programmes on research, mentoring and leadership to help doctors take on leadership roles within the health service.
  • A fast-growing range of innovative online learning packages.

Would you like to talk to us?

We have a dedicated Professional Competence team available to deal with your queries Monday to Friday from 09:00 to 17:00. 

If you need help with your ePortfolio, we can arrange a convenient time to work with you to ensure your records are up to date. Please contact us by phone or email to arrange an appointment or callback.

Jennifer Noordman

Administrator, Professional Competence

Tel: +353 1 863 9739

Contact Jennifer for advice on enrolling on a Professional Competence Scheme or applying for CPD approval of an event

Deirdre Donegan

Senior Administrator, Professional Competence

Tel: +353 1 863 9739

Contact Deirdre for advice on enrolling on a Professional Competence Scheme or applying for CPD approval of an event