Guidance for writing your CPD plan - Museums Association

Guidance for writing your CPD plan

We have developed a template that helps you think about your CPD, articulate it, record it and highlight priorities. It asks you to think about:

  • Where you would like to see your career take you, your career aspirations and the steps to get there – your goals.
  • What skills, knowledge and experience you need to develop.
  • How you are going to develop the skills, knowledge and experience.

To make the most of your AMA you need to think to the future. Where would you like to be at the end of your AMA? Where would you like to be in five years time?

There is no right or wrong answer. It could be about having a particular job or expertise. It could be about working for a particular organisation or in a particular location.

Here are some questions to help you:

  • Is there a discipline you want to excel in? Is there an organisation, or organisation type, you would like to work in?
  • Do you have aspirations to be a paid member of staff?
  • Do you have aspirations to become a freelancer?
  • Do you want to have a particular job title or grade?
  • Do you want to deliver a particular public benefit?
  • Do you want to work in a particular location, region or nation?

These are your overarching career aspirations. We then ask you to reflect on the steps to get there to create professional development goals to achieve by the end of your AMA.

One goal is standard for everyone doing the AMA:

To achieve the AMA award – becoming a well-rounded museum professional by developing experience to meet the established level of competency.


Identifying what you need to develop to achieve your CPD goals and your AMA is the foundation of your CPD Plan. This can be developing knowledge – what you know. This can be developing skills – what you can do. This can be gathering experiences – what you have done. Knowledge, skills and experiences creates expertise which is what you will be measured on at your Professional review.


You now need to reflect on how you are going to develop the skills, knowledge or experience to meet the established level of competence.

We all have preferred ways to learn; this can accelerate our learning making it more effective and efficient. However certain topics are best developed in particular ways and so it is important to think about the variety.

If an activity enables you to think or act differently then this is a relevant development activity. Some of the ways you develop are by:

  1. Reading – Museums Journal, blogs, set texts, policy documents.
  2. Observing – experts in their field, role models.
  3. Reflecting – on what you have done and would do differently.
  4. Watching – films, TED talks.
  5. Listening – experts in their field, podcasts, interviewing.
  6. Participating – networks, Twitter hours, workshops etc.
  7. Visiting – other museums, websites.
  8. Doing – the area you want to develop.

Submitting your plan

Once you and your mentor are happy with your CPD plan and you have ensured that all the requirements have been met, then you can submit your CPD plan to the Museums Association. The CPD plan is then sent to an external verifier to review. This usually takes four weeks, during which time you can continue to log CPD activities.

The formal date your AMA starts is the date you submit your plan to be approved.

Occasionally CPD plans are not approved. These are the common reasons:

  1. The goals do not contribute to the over-arching career aim.
  2. The goals are too big and need to be separated out.
  3. The development activities do not deliver to the development needs.
  4. The CPD plan is too ambitious – the extent to which it is achievable.
  5. There are no dates to complete, or frequency of development activities.


Your CPD Plan:

  • helps you identify your aspirations and direction
  • helps you articulate these and reflect to develop a clear plan of action for professional development
  • is about you and your aspirations and as such should not always be grounded in your current role or organisation
  • is just a plan – this means that it may change over time – it is dynamic – and as such you need to be responsive to these changes.