Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is a process implemented by the South African Council for Natural Scientific Professions (SACNASP) that promote the systematic maintenance, improvement and broadening of knowledge and skills, as well as the development of personal qualities necessary for the execution of professional and technical duties throughout a registered scientist’s professional career.

How CPD Works

All professionally registered and certified scientists must accumulate a total of 25 CPD points over a five-year period in order to maintain their professional status. CPD points can be collected over 3 categories through a number of activities including attending conferences, belonging to a voluntary Association (VA’s), assisting SACNASP as a referee or as a member of a committee.

Random audits will be conducted on an annual basis by SACNASP to ensure that registered scientists are CPD compliant.

Category 1: Developmental Activities

Registered scientists should obtain a minimum of 1 point (activity lasting 10 hours or one day) annually or 5 points over a 5-year cycle for this category. Activities within the Developmental Category are compulsory and include:

  • Industry related conferences, congresses, seminars and workshops
  • Presentations of seminars, SACNASP accredited courses, workshops and papers.

Candidates and retired scientists not working are exempt from this category.

Category 2: Work-based Activities

Registered scientists will receive CPD points for work done as a professional within this category. Activities within the Work-based Category are:

  • Science work in a practitioner’s field of specialization
  • Work-based activities that includes management (1 point received for 400 hours of work, with a maximum of 2 points for 800 hours may be earned annually under this activity)
  • Mentoring young science practitioners in the work place and offering career guidance (1 point received for 50 hours of mentoring annually can be earned under this activity)

Category 3: Individual Activities

Registered scientists can choose for a range of individual activities in order to receive CPD points within this category, with a maximum of 3 points (30 hours) earned on an annual basis. Activities within the Individual Category are:

  • Membership of recognized science voluntary associations (1 point received annually - not linked to hours)
  • Part-time lecturing to undergraduate and postgraduate students
  • Publication of research in peer reviewed journals
  • Publication of science articles
  • Papers presented at conferences
  • Participation in statutory, professional, institutional, science committees or task groups

When Audited

As SACNASP conducts random audits of up to 10% of the CPD records of all registered persons in the different categories of registration on an annual basis, there is a responsibility on professionals to keep their CPD records up to date

When selected for an audit, the registered scientists will be required to submit their CPD records within four weeks of initial notification to the SACNASP.

CPD Records

These CPD records should include verification of all their CPD activities in the form of a certificates, list of results, record of attendance, receipt of course payments, or a written verification from the recognised voluntary association or accredited tertiary educational institution that presented the developmental activity. Where the CPD activity was presented by any other provider, proof of approval of the activity from the recognised voluntary association together with proof of attendance must be submitted.

The Process

The audit of CPD submissions will be done by members of SACNASP’s Registration and Professional Advisory Committees to ensure that the principle of peer-group evaluation and judgment is maintained. Registered persons being audited will be advised of the outcome. Those who do not pass the audit, will have their record and verification documentation referred to the relevant Registration Committee or Professional Advisory Committee for decision. Possible actions that may be taken by SACNASP.


When a registered natural sciences professional is found non-complaint with the requirements of the CPD system, SACNASP can impose any one or more of the following conditions:

  • Require the registered person to follow an approved remedial programme of CPD within a period prescribed by SACNASP
  • Removing the registered person’s name from the relevant register
  • The decision can be appealed by the registered scientist