Training and Professional Development

A woman leading a professional development class

Professional development (PD) is a consciously designed, systematic process that strengthens how staff obtain, retain, and apply knowledge, skills, and attitudes.

The tools and resources on this site can be used by those who provide PD services for staff in state departments of education, state departments of health, school districts, school communities, and national organizations.

Understanding Professional Development

Professional Development is an excellent way to teach specific learning objectives to a targeted group. Choosing the correct type of PD event is important to understand the level of knowledge and skill that may be acquired. Providers of PD events need consistent definitions to provide and promote the appropriate type of PD event. It is critical to understand that trainings and workshops do not mean the same thing—one can produce long-term benefits, while the other may simply increase awareness.

There are six CDC PD practices—Sustain, Design, Promote, Deliver, Follow-Up, and Evaluate. When developing and delivering PD events, integrate all six of these practices. PD is consciously designed to actively engage learners and includes the planning, design, promotion, delivery, follow-up, and evaluation—such as, events, information sessions, and technical assistance.

The PD standards require up to 3-hour informational presentations and 3 or more hours to transfer skills and to practice the skills acquired. Include action planning, and evaluation, as well as a 1-year follow-up as part of this process.