Our return to practice requirements are flexible, minimum requirements. They aim to protect the public by making sure you have up-to-date knowledge and skills.
Returning to practice is a self-directed process. It is your responsibility to make sure that you meet the appropriate requirements and can practise safely and effectively within your scope of practice, in line with our standards.
Our requirements if you are returning to practice
The amount of updating (the number of activities you carry out to update your practice) that we need is a minimum requirement. This means that you can carry out more updating if you need to, so that you are confident you can meet our standards.
If you are returning to practice, we need you to update your knowledge and skills as follows.
- 0 to 2 years out of practice – no requirements
- 2 to 5 years out of practice – 30 days of updating
- 5 or more years out of practice – 60 days of updating
In the ‘days’ requirements above, we consider 1 day to be equivalent to 7 hours.
If you are out of practice and would like to re-register with us
If you have stopped practising and come off the Register but want to re-register with us, you can apply for readmission. At this point, the return to practice requirements may apply to you, depending on how long you have been out of practice.
You need to complete your period of updating within the 24 months* before applying for readmission. You should also be aware that when you apply for readmission you will need to give us other information, including certified documents to confirm your identity and address.* We would usually require that all of an applicant’s updating is completed, from start to finish, within the 12 months before they apply for registration or readmission. We are temporarily extending this period to 24 months due to COVID-19.
Do the return to practice requirements apply to me?
You may continue to practise and do not need to meet our return to practice requirements.
To renew your registration with us every two years, you need to sign to confirm that you have practised your profession at some point during the past two years (the registration cycle which is about to end).
If you have not practised your profession during this period, you cannot make that declaration.
You should either:
- come off the Register, and then potentially re-register at some point in the future if you need to return to practice; or
- renew your registration using the paper renewal form, declaring that you have not practised your profession. You will then need to complete a period of updating within six months of renewal.
You should provide a covering letter with your renewal form telling us how long you have been out of practice so that we can correctly advise you on the length of updating you need to carry out.
The only exception to this is if you have come onto the Register part of the way through a two-year registration period. This is because you will have either completed an approved course or had your application assessed, or you will have already met our return to practice requirements. As a result, we do not need you to complete a period of updating.
If you have been out of practice, but you expect to return to practice soon, we recommend that you complete your period of updating and renew your registration so that you stay on the Register.
If you have not practised for more than two years, and do not expect to return to practice soon, you should come off the Register. You should not be registered if you are not practising.
If you have not practised for two years or more, you must complete either 30 or 60 days of updating (depending on how long you have been out of practice) within the twelve months before you apply for readmission to the Register.
Please see our requirements below.
You are eligible to apply for registration with us and do not need to meet our return to practice requirements.
We do not need you to carry out an updating period before we can register you. However, you should still make sure that you have taken steps to update your knowledge and skills so that you can practise safely and effectively.
If you have never practised
You must meet our return to practice requirements by completing a 60-day period of updating before you can register with us.
If you have practised outside of the UK in the five years since your qualification
Our return to practice requirements are for people who have not been practising their profession.
If you have been practising outside the UK and have not had a break of more than two years, our requirements will not apply to you. We will ask you to give us information about where you have practised and (if it applies) your registration with another regulator while you were outside the UK.
You do not need to meet our return to practice requirements if you have practised your profession outside of the UK within the last two years.
When you apply for registration, please give us information about your work outside of the UK so that we can consider whether you need to meet our return to practice requirements.
HCPC welcomes applications to rejoin the main HCPC Register from those on the temporary register.
As you have not been on the main HCPC Register for more than two years, this means you will need to meet our Return to Practice (RTP) requirements when submitting a readmission application.
We are also offering some flexibility in our approach to this process, which includes being able to count your work while on the temporary register as evidence of the number of days of professional updating required to re-join the Register.Applying for registration is simple. You can find out more about how to do so here.
Our RTP processes apply whenever someone has been off the Register for two years or more.
We do this to make sure that professionals returning to practise have up-to-date skills and can practise safely and effectively. In general, we ask returners to undertake a number of days of updating before they are able to rejoin. You must complete either 30 or 60 days of professional updating, which depends on how long you have been out of practice and not on the main HCPC register.
If you have been practising while on the temporary register, it is very likely that this practise can be used as evidence of your professional updating.
Where can I find support?
Support provisions for returners to practice depend on which of the four nations you wish to practice in.
- England – NHS England (NHSE) operates a Return to Practice (RTP) programme to support your self-directed return back to the HCPC Register, which includes access to funding. For more information and to sign up to this support programme please visit the NHSE RTP website
- Scotland - NHS Scotland runs a programme for returners in Scotland, which includes personalised support, resources and access to a network of other returners. Eligibility information can be found on their website
- Wales - NHS Wales does not have a formal programme of guidance, but does offer some financial support. More information on both can be found on their website
- Northern Ireland - There is currently no programme of formal support for returning to practice in Northern Ireland, but we encourage individuals looking to get started to contact the relevant professional body for support.