Physical Therapists' Continuing Professional Development Needs

What we wanted to know

Little information was known about the relationship between physical therapists (PTs) in British Columbia (BC) and their lifelong learning needs, specifically with respect to how continuing professional development (CPD) related to the profession of physical therapy. This suggested that a comprehensive assessment was needed in order to fully understand matters.

What did we do?

In partnership with provincial stakeholders, we created an online survey to better understand the situation. This survey was sent to all registered PTs in BC in the Fall of 2013.

What did we learn?

  • Survey participants were representative of the BC PT population (76% female; average age of 43; 9% in rural areas; 71% full-time practice)
  • PTs think CPD is important or very important for practice (94%)
  • Many PTs think CPD should be mandatory for their profession
  • About half of PTs are satisfied with workplace support for participation in CPD (52% satisfied)
  • Many PTs actively participate in CPD on a regular basis, with self-study, online sessions, and lectures being most popular
  • Clinical content is the post popular content area for CPD activities (94% interested)
  • Most PTs want to participate in CPD with other health care professionals (76% interested)
  • 39% are involved in teaching/supervising a PT student
  • 25% are involved in developing, organizing, and/or teaching CPD

Want to know more?

The Executive Summary and Full Report are available on the UBC Department of Physical Therapy website.


The UBC Division of Continuing Professional Development would like to acknowledge the UBC Department of Physical Therapy and the Physiotherapy Association of British Columbia who were partners in the development and execution of this project and provided funding for this study.

We would also like to acknowledge the College of Physical Therapists of BC, the Canadian Physiotherapy Association, the College of Health Disciplines at UBC, and all the Advisory Committee members for their valued support and input into this final report.

Finally, we would like to thank the numerous physiotherapists who gave valuable feedback and their time to participate in this needs assessment.

For further information about this needs assessment and report, please contact Allison Macbeth, UBC CPD Research Assistant, at

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