Continuing Professional Development (CPD)

It's not about age, it's stage

Public Relations is a profession, and the Public Relations Institute of Australia (PRIA) are here to set, promote and regulate the standards that professionals are expected to meet. If you want to be a professional and if you want PR to maintain the respect other professions get, take your own professional development seriously, join PRIA, and start working on your continual learning through our CPD.

Change is the only constant. When you graduated from university you probably thought you knew it all, but whether it was last century or last year, PR has changed. Continuing to study will help you develop the skills and knowledge to meet each new challenge with confidence. Study will make you more valuable to your team, your clients or company, and the profession. It will also keep you interested and interesting.

You don’t need to spend any money; we have plenty of free resources on our website. You don’t have to do our courses although we think they’re some of the best around. Like most other professions these days you do need to show us that you’re keeping up with what’s going on, staying current, and continuing to develop professionally.

CPD tracking commenced 1 January 2015 for New and Emerging Practitioners (NEP), Associate (APRIA), Members (MPRIA) and Fellows (FPRIA).

A review by the National Professional Development Think Tank in early 2015 saw the following broad guidelines adopted:

  • 20 points in one year is required to upgrade from NEP to APRIA;
  • 20 points per year averaged over three years is required to upgrade from APRIA to MPRIA; and
  • 30 points per year averaged over three years is required to maintain MPRIA/FPRIA​.

A point generally equates to an hour's learning although some activities may be given a positive or negative weighting depending on whether they relate specifically to globally accepted competencies, in accordance with the National Professional Development Think Tank (NPDTT).

All PRIA and kindred supported activities will have an allocated value. Generally, this will be one point per hour of learning (1:1) excluding social or entertainment time. Networking or entertainment events not specifically targeted at PR practice will carry half a point per hour.

Professional Development events include:

  • PRIA Conference; Master Classes; RCG Conference; ‘101’ style training; webinars; Preparatory or Certification programs - one point per hour excludes social time.
  • Delivering half a point for 0-20 minute speech, one point for a 20-45 minute speech, and five point for a conference* presentation (covering research, writing, and presentation) - one point for poster presentations. *Conference is defined by one of PRIA's annual events including; National Conference, RCG Conference, and the Masterclass Series
  • Being a panel member for a conference or event (presentation time under 10 minutes of off the cuff remarks) - one point (research and panel participation)
  • Chairing a session - one point
  • PRINKS events - 0.5 points per hour

PRIA voluntary activities: participation in National Board, Board Committees, PRIA advisory panels, State Councils, SIGs, and RCG will have a 1:1 for all attended meetings. Members can claim for preparation time of position papers for discussion through the NPDTT.

Research Papers: a member may request points for preparation of an in-depth research paper on the PR or communication industry through the National Education Committee (NEC). Points value will range up to a maximum of 10 points per event.

Mentoring: (PRIA approved program): A mentor may earn a maximum of 10 points per mentee in any one year. A mentee may earn a maximum of 8 points in any one year.

Pro-bono work: points are also applicable for pro-bono work done in the industry (experiences provided would be assessed on a case-by-case basis).

All other activities: Attendance at kindred events* (where applicable), conferences or any other activity may earn points to a maximum of 10 points in a year. *applications are reviewed on a case-by-case basis (ranging from 0.5 - 1 point per hour).

There may be some limits to claiming in various categories so for example not all professional development comes from one category.

CPD tracking for PRIA events will be automatic via PRIA’s web site or for other events by upload of certificates.

PRIA Professional Framework:

In 2013 the PRIA, in consultation with the National Education Committee, published the PRIA Education Framework as a guide for education providers, and to ensure that the PRIA had an agreed standard of education and learning that was aligned to the Federal Government’s Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) for communication.

Recognising that practitioners and employers also need a framework for professional development pathways, qualifications and benchmarks within a changing industry, the Professional Framework has been developed to complement the Education Framework.

The Professional Framework was developed by a working group, including senior PR and Communication practitioners, consultancy owners, recruiters and international industry representatives, in consultation with the PRIA National Education Committee and industry reference groups, as well as the wider communication and marketing industry. It will be revised as and when substantial industry changes create a need for updates.

The Framework’s objective is to ensure that both new and experienced PR practitioners are adequately educated and qualified for their roles, and that there is a clear industry-wide understanding of professional development, the progressive stages of a PR practitioner’s career, and a clear understanding of remuneration, rewards and recognition for each role.

Central to the Framework is a competencies matrix to help both agency and in-house PR and Communication practitioners understand potential career paths as well as the required skills and knowledge needed for various roles, both traditional and emerging.

The Australian Government requires PR and Communication to align to the Australian Qualifications Framework for the public relations industry. The PRIA is working closely with the AQF development team to align the AQF’s standards with the Framework’s competency matrix, as well as the information contained within the PRIA Education Framework. The PRIA will work closely with the Federal Government’s new commitment to Industry Skills development, as well as education and training providers to ensure that the agreed standards are met and promoted.

The Framework has also been developed in consultation with the Global Alliance as they work to develop an international competency framework by 2016. The PRIA Professional Framework will be used as a reference point internationally, and will be updated as necessary to align to the recommendations made by the Global Alliance project.

Finally, the Framework will guide the development and delivery of the PRIA CPD program to ensure all profession education and training opportunities can be counted towards your career development plans.

PRIA Educational Framework: In 2013, the PRIA National Education Advisory Committee (NEAC) produced an Educational Framework, a cutting-edge summary of the skills needed at any stage of a career in PR. Reflecting the latest international standards, the framework will underpin the consistent development and recognition of educational initiatives across Australia. It describes four stages of practice with increasing competencies, reflects industry trends and future needs and integrates the requirements of the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF). The educational framework gives PR practitioners the opportunity to keep up with developments in this fast changing industry.

The Educational Framework also provides the basis for a current project to define a comprehensive set of Public Relations Industry Competencies. When completed in early 2015, the Professional Framework will be an invaluable tool on recruitment, performance management, CPD and succession planning.

FAQs on the introduction of CPD points.

If you require further assistance on the introduction of CPD points, please email

Last Updated: Thu, Jan 05 2017