Renewing qualifications is a must for most professions
Most of the city's professions are required to ensure their license to practise is up to date
Patsy Moy and Austin Chiu
From accountants to doctors, most professions in Hong Kong have had mandatory continuing education for at least 10 years.
In medicine, all 5,672 practitioners in 54 specialties must meet the requirements of an Academy of Medicine programme every three years to renew their qualifications.
In the past three years, the Medical Council has removed seven doctors from its Specialist Register after they failed to do so.
Even the 7,000-odd non-specialists are strongly encouraged to advance themselves.
In 2001, the council introduced a programme to grant a certified title to those who voluntarily completed the accreditation over a three-year cycle.
Figures for 2010 showed that some 2,200 out of 7,000 non-specialist doctors obtained the certified title that year.
For accountants, they must fulfil a continuing education requirement to renew their membership with the Institute of Certified Public Accountants.
A spokeswoman said this was necessary to maintain high-quality professional services to meet the needs of the public and clients and to uphold public trust in accountants.
"Accounting is a demanding, dynamic profession and our members must constantly refresh their skills," she said.
"The institute is committed to [helping our accountants] maintain and develop their professional competence and perform their roles competently."
Some 122 certified public accountants - out of a total of more than 35,000 - were struck off the list between 2008 and last year for failing to comply with the programme's requirements.
In the legal field, both solicitors in private practice and public prosecutors are also required to receive continuing education.
Since 2003, the Law Society has required all trainee and practising solicitors to undergo continuing legal education each year to renew their practising certificates.
Last year, 18 solicitors failed to do so. While none were refused practising certificates, their cases were referred to the society's compliance department for follow-up sanction.
The Department of Justice also organises workshops and seminars for government lawyers to ensure they keep pace with changes in the law.