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AMTRA - Continuing Professional Development (CPD)

All AMTRA SQPs are required to undertake Continuing Professional Development. The amount of CPD required depends on the type of SQP and on when the SQP qualified. With the exception of small amounts of personal study, all CPD must be accredited by AMTRA in advance. AMTRA will keep a record of CPD points accumulated by SQPs, and those not achieving the required minimum will not be able to renew their SQP registration unless they pass a fresh exam.

"CPD exam" to demonstrate continuing competency
Any SQP who does not gain sufficient CPD points during an AMTRA CPD period must pass an exam to demonstrate continuing competency before they will be permitted to renew their SQP status for the following year.

Additionally, those who wish to return to the SQP Register after an extended absence will normally have to pass this exam to demonstrate ongoing competency.

More information is in the guidance for SQPs which includes the exam arrangements and dates. The document also clarifies the pass mark (including explaining the negative marking) and how to gain access to the Harper Adams Moodle to prepare for the exam.

If you wish to book, please download the booking form, complete it and send to AMTRA with the appropriate payment.

CPD quiz points online
As well as gaining CPD points from seminars, the other main route to gaining CPD points is written and audiovisual material accompanied by accredited quizzes. These include those published by Overthecounter magazine and Equestrian Trade News, the NADIS quizzes circulated to farm-animal SQPs, and some produced by pharmaceutical companies - see the CPD events and quizzes page for more.

You can gain access to all of the Overthecounter quizzes on their website www.overthecounter.cc to fill in online, or if you have back copies of the magazine, they're fine too.

Frequently Asked Questions about
The AMTRA CPD Scheme

Updated 1 July 2015

1. What is CPD? Why do I need to do it?

CPD is Continuing Professional Development. It is compulsory for all AMTRA SQPs.
The whole purpose of CPD is to ensure that SQPs keep themselves up to date, which is appropriate to a professional group of animal medicine advisors. Additionally, AMTRA is required by law to ensure that its SQPs undertake CPD.

2.What changes from July 2015?

There are two key changes:

  • the previous requirement to get at least 15 points from seminars has been removed: SQPs can now gain their accredited points by whatever means is best for them – for most people that will be a mixture of seminars (whether a physical meeting or online webinars) and distance-learning supported by multiple-choice questions (including recorded webinars and magazine articles). See Q10 for more on earning CPD points.
  • additionally, all SQPs will need to pass an AMTRA-coordinated module on legal and professional obligations, focussing on the Code of Practice and the legislative requirements in the Veterinary Medicines Regulations, by 30 June 2017. This is not yet available – we hope to start offering it before the end of 2015.

3. When do I need to do CPD?

In order to maintain SQP status, SQPs have to achieve a minimum number of CPD points during each AMTRA CPD period. Additionally, each SQP must pass a new AMTRA-coordinated module on legal and professional obligations, which should be available by the end of 2015.

Currently each CPD period runs for two years. The current CPD period, “CPD period 4”, runs from 1 July 2015 until 30 June 2017. Points must be earned during that period – points earned near the end of the period may not be added to your record until after 30 June 2017, but the important thing is to have earned them by 30 June 2017.

The same deadline applies to all SQPs, including those who have qualified after the start of the CPD period.

4. How many points do I need to earn in each CPD period?

During each CPD period, SQPs must earn a minimum number of CPD points (and pass the AMTRA-coordinated module on legal and professional obligations). The number of points that each SQP type will be required to obtain during each CPD period is indicated below.
Anyone who qualifies in the second half of 2015 will still need to get the full number of points shown. Those who become SQPs in 2016 will need only achieve half the number of points given below by June 2017; those who become SQPs in the first half of 2017 will have no formal CPD obligation for this period. (See also the following answers on full allocation of points, and on adding modules, for more details.)
SQP Type Modules VPS medicines supplied CPD Points
R-SQP FAM+EQM+CAM All VPS Medicines 80 points
G-SQP FAM+EQM VPS-farm animals and equines only 60 points
K-SQP FAM+CAM VPS-farm and companion animals only 60 points
E-SQP EQM+CAM VPS-equines and companion animals only 50 points
L-SQP FAM VPS-farm animals only 50 points
J-SQP EQM VPS-equines only 30 points
C-SQP CAM VPS-companion animals only 30 points
A-SQP AVM VPS-avian only 30 points
CA-SQP CAM+AVM VPS-companion and avian only 40 points
JA-SQP EQM+AVM VPS-equine and avian only 40 points
EA-SQP EQM+CAM+AVM VPS-equine, companion and avian only 60 points

FAM - Farm Animal Module; EQM - Equine Module; CAM - Companion Animal Module; AVM - Avian Module

There is no maximum number of CPD points - all SQPs are encouraged to undertake as much CPD as they can.

5. Does everyone have to get the full allocation of points?

Those who qualify as an SQP part-way through a CPD period should attain the following points:

  • SQPs who qualify with less than 6 months of the CPD period remaining (e.g. during the first half of 2017): no formal CPD obligation, including no obligation to pass the AMTRA module on legal and professional obligations.
  • SQPs who qualify with more than 18 months of the CPD period remaining (i.e. by 31 December 2015 in the case of the current CPD period): full CPD points obligation including an obligation to pass the AMTRA module on legal and professional obligations.
  • Other SQPs who qualify part-way through the CPD period (e.g. during 2016): half the normal CPD points obligation, but the obligation to pass the AMTRA module on legal and professional obligations remains.

Those absent due to maternity leave or long-term sick leave:

  • for 6 to 18 months in the current CPD Period (July 2015 to June 2017) then CPD points obligation is halved - but the obligation to pass the AMTRA module on legal and professional obligations remains.
  • for more than 18 months in the current CPD Period then CPD points obligation is waived - but we may ask such people to undertake the the AMTRA module on legal and professional obligations before or immediately after returning to work.

You may be required to produce appropriate documentary evidence of maternity leave or long-term sick leave. We cannot confirm any reduction in point target for maternity leave or long-term sick leave until you return to work – otherwise we don’t know how long you were absent.

6. What if I do additional modules after I become an SQP?

Some SQPs add additional species modules after they first become an SQP - this might be a career progression, or the other module exams may have been failed at the first attempt.

Additional CPD points are added to the total needed, consistent with the principle of half points or no points for part-way through the CPD period, as described in the previous two answers.

The number of CPD points required is best illustrated by an unusual example:

  • Chris passes the Base and Companion Animal modules in 2015, becomes a C-SQP, and thus needs 30 CPD points.
  • She passes the Equine module in 2016 to become an E-SQP: as that is between 6 and 18 months from the end of the CPD period, her additional points requirement is half of the difference between a C-SQP and an E-SQP, i.e. an extra 10, making 40 in all.
  • Finally, she passes the Farm Animal module in early 2017: as that is less than 6 months from the end of the CPD period, there is no additional CPD points obligation, so the total required stays at 40.

From July 2017, her points requirement will be the full 80 for an R-SQP for the following two years. It's not essential to understand this calculation - your personal points target is on every points update from AMTRA.

7. What happens if I don't get enough points?

SQPs who do not meet their points target by the end of the CPD period will not be permitted to renew their SQP status for the following year. The points need to be earned by the deadline date, but as always there will a delay before they are added to the SQP's record - the requirement is to earn the points by the end of the CPD period, not have them on the record at that date.

AMTRA will offers an examination to demonstrate ongoing competency for those who haven't gained enough points by the deadline but passing the exam is challenging, time-consuming and relatively costly, so that option should not be relied upon.

8. How do I know how many CPD points I've got?

The easiest way is to log in to your AMTRA record - on the AMTRA website just click 'Login' in the top right-hand corner, then login with your SQP number (starting with the letter Q) and password. If you've forgotten your password, you can use the login page to request another password be sent to you.

CPD points earned are added to each SQP's records when they are received from the CPD provider. SQPs are advised of the number of CPD points they have accumulated from time to time. If we have an email address for you then we will send you an update every time your record is updated – another good reason to ensure that we always have an up-to-date email address that will reach you directly – but if we only have a postal address for you, we will send you an update approximately every two months.

9. What if the number of points you have recorded for me is wrong?

If there are points missing, please contact the organisation or company that provided the CPD - but do leave them six weeks after the event to advise AMTRA of points earned and for AMTRA to process the information received. Please don't contact AMTRA regarding missing points (unless it was an AMTRA event).

If the points are wrong rather than simply missing, please email, fax or write to us with details of which points are wrong.

10. How can I obtain CPD points?

1. Attending AMTRA-accredited CPD seminars - the seminars need not be run by AMTRA (most aren't) but must be accredited by AMTRA in advance. Live webinars (online seminars) count in the same way as ordinary seminars. (Unlike in CPD period 3 and before, there is now no requirement to get a minimum of 15 points from seminars.)

2. Distance learning supported by multiple choice quizzes - i.e. by reading or watching supportive material and answering sets of accredited questions, such as online or in magazines. Recorded webinars (i.e. not shown live with scope for interaction) and other videos with accompanying multiple-choice questions are included in this category;

3. Personal study - this may be of AMTRA training modules, updated Code of Practice, magazine articles, IT expertise, etc. AMTRA recognises the increasing professionalism of its SQPs and will accept a degree of self-certification of this form of CPD. However, only 5 points may be allocated to personal study in any CPD period. SQPs are required to maintain a record of this activity for inspection if required.

4. Relevant Further Education or Higher Educational qualifications - SQPs gaining a relevant FE or HE qualification within the CPD period may claim one CPD point for each academic credit. Evidence of the qualification will be required, and should be submitted along with the FE/HE CPD points claim form.

See also Q16 if you are a vet nurse or pharmacy professional.

11. How many points are gained from attending a CPD Seminar?

CPD Seminars and online studies will be accredited and allocated points by the AMTRA CPD Accreditation Panel, who will ask AMTRA Assessors to advise on the CPD Seminars and Studies submitted by third parties. The number of points allocated will be based on the duration and content of the seminar or study.

12. Can I gain points more than once for the same content from the same provider?

Only if the events or distance learning take place at least 12 months apart. This applies even if the two occasions are in different CPD periods - they must be more than 12 months apart.

However, you may gain points for similar topics from different CPD providers - for instance, both providers may be talking about equine parasitology, but the discussion and emphasis given will be different and the result is complementary, whereas there is much less additional benefit from hearing the same presentations twice in a short period.

Generally we will spot duplicates before they are added to your record, but if we spot them later we will remove the points and notify you - do not rely on duplicated points to reach your points target.

13. How do CPD points get onto my CPD record?

Seminar organisers provide AMTRA with details (name & SQP number) of those who attended the whole seminar with the number of points accredited to the seminar, together with a signed attendance sheet or equivalent. Those marking distance-learning quizzes provide AMTRA with the names & SQP numbers, together with the number of CPD points gained, of those answering the questions.

SQPs can each claim up to 5 CPD points for personal study in each CPD period. SQPs should keep appropriate records as they may be asked for details of personal study following the close of the current CPD period.

14. Can I carry over CPD points from one period to the next?

No - the whole purpose of CPD is to ensure that SQPs keep up-to-date.

15. Can I get credit for CPD taken before I qualify as an SQP?

No - CPD is by its nature a post-qualification process. It would also be very difficult to differentiate between training to support the qualification and accreditable CPD, meaning that the majority of qualifying SQPs would have enough CPD pointed accumulated for their first CPD period, something AMTRA does not wish to see.

16. What about veterinary nurses and pharmacy professionals who are SQPs?

AMTRA recognises that veterinary nurses and pharmacy professionals who are also SQPs do undertake a significant amount of CPD through the obligations of their other profession, though much won't be directly relevant to the SQP role. VNs and pharmacy professionals are still required to undertake the same amount of SQP CPD as other SQPs, but may earn 50% of their points requirement via certified attendance at non-AMTRA-accredited events which are CPD for the other profession and which the SQP asserts as relevant to their SQP role.

Such individuals can at any time complete the application form and return it to the AMTRA office.

This page last updated 29/09/2015