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Core competency

Professional development is learning to earn or maintain professional credentials such as academic degrees to formal coursework, attending conferences, and informal learningopportunities situated in practice. It has been described as intensive and collaborative, ideally incorporating an evaluative stage.[There are a variety of approaches to professional development, including consultation, coaching, communities of practice, lesson study, mentoring, reflective supervision and technical assistance.


The University of Management and Technology notes the use of the phrase “professional development” from 1857 onwards.[i

In the training of school staff in the United States, “[t]he need for professional development […] came to the forefront in the 1960s”.[


A wide variety of people, such as teachers, military officers and non-commissioned officers, health care professionals, lawyers, accountants and engineers engage in professional development. Individuals may participate in professional development because of an interest in lifelong learning, a sense of moral obligation, to maintain and improve professional competence, to enhance career progression, to keep abreast of new technology and practices, or to comply with professional regulatory requirements.Many American states have professional development requirements for school teachers. For example, Arkansas teachers must complete 60 hours of documented professional development activities annually.Professional development credits are named differently from state to state. For example, teachers: in Indiana are required to earn 90 Continuing Renewal Units (CRUs) per year; in Massachusetts, teachers need 150 Professional Development Points (PDPs);and in Georgia, must earn 10 Professional Learning Units (PLUs).[ American and Canadian nurses, as well as those in the United Kingdom, have to participate in formal and informal professional development (earning credit based on attendance of education that has been accredited by a regulatory agency) in order to maintain professional registration.