Using continuing professional development to improve maintenance of professional competence: A call for change in licensure renewal requirements.

This article reviews the strengths and weaknesses of the current requirements for continuing professional education for psychologists to renew their license to practice. Whereas most states already require completion of classroom or workshop instruction during each license renewal cycle, the authors argue for a more comprehensive system of continuing professional development (CPD) that will focus on the ongoing assessment of competence throughout the professional’s career and thus better ensure public protection from the incompetent or unethical practitioner. The authors describe the major elements of this more comprehensive CPD process and how adoption of such a system in psychology licensing laws would require participation in a variety of learning activities that focus on professional engagement, practice relevant topics and better assessment of instructional outcomes; provide peer input and monitoring to better identify gaps in knowledge or skills; and reduce instances of professional isolation that could lead to lapses in judgment and decision making, occupational stress, and ultimately impairment or burnout. Challenges for the profession to move to a system of CPD, and the need for studies that can determine whether using CPD in licensure renewal requirements actually produce the desired outcomes, are also addressed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved)