Development Route Map

Development Route Map for Conservators

Becoming and remaining a successful conservator requires knowledge and skills which develop over time 

By identifying your strengths and weaknesses and creating your own personal and professional goals it is possible to plan a long and rewarding career in conservation. Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is an essential part of becoming and remaining Accredited. 

These route map sections (Record, Goal, Plan, Reflect) contain guidance and resources to help you plan your career.



Where am I now?


Before planning, the first step is to critically assess where you are now by evaluating your own expertise

When you are doing this you should bear in mind the Professional Standards of conservation, which can be found here. It is also helpful to use the Novice to Expert Scale to assess where you feel you are against each criteria. 

Ethical standards

Conservator-restorers are obliged to comply with ethical standards and practices

The formation of UNESCO in 1945 set the framework and drive for the development of national and international legislation including the International Charter for the Conservation and Restoration of Monuments and Sites (The Venice Charter 1964). 

These codes of practice cover all aspects of conservation and are key to supporting the work of organisations including Icon, the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) and the International Institute for Conservation (IIC). 

The description "conservator-restorer" is now internationally understood and helps communication across many different specialist fields.

Professional Standards

Professional Standards

There are five key Standards which apply to all conservator-restorers regardless of their specialism

The standards provide a clear set of principles which all professional conservators should adhere to and can use to evaluate their levels of understanding and skill: 

  1. Assessment of cultural heritage
  2. Conservation options and strategies
  3. Conservation measures
  4. Organisation and management
  5. Continuing Professional Development (CPD) plus Professional Judgement and Ethics


PACR Professional Standards


Novice to Expert Scale

The PACR Novice-Expert Scale was specifically devised to help conservators in self-assessment at any stage of their career

The Scale helps you assess your own strengths and weaknesses against the Professional Standards. Use it to rate yourself from 'Novice' to 'Expert' in five essential skills: Knowledge, Standard of Work, Autonomy, Coping with Complexity and Perception of Context. 

It is also a useful way to assess less tangible skills essential to all conservators, such as experience and intuition when making critical decisions.

Novice to Expert scale


How to use the scale




Where do I want to be?

Develop your practice

Once you have completed an assessment of your experience and your current abilities you will be able to see more clearly which aspects of practice you might wish to develop

This process should be ongoing and can be used to record your progress after each development opportunity. Bear in mind that some of your goals are likely to be long-term plans while others might be more attainable in a shorter space of time. 

Points to consider:

  • what you want to develop or learn and why
  • the method(s) you anticipate using
  • how you intend to use these methods
  • a realistic target date for completion and review





How do I get there?

Making plans

Once you’ve thought through what your goals are, the next step is to think of how you are going to achieve them

Your targets need to be SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-bound).  This is also where you will want to revisit your skills audit to help you identify what training or development opportunity will enable you to achieve your goal.

Points to consider:

  • skills – do you need to develop a skill? Who could help you? What do you do best and could you develop this further?
  • goals - do you have an ambition to achieve a certain goal over the next 12 months? Do you have any long-term goals - for example, achieving a senior position, starting your own business? What barriers could be in your way?
  • put your goals/needs in order of importance and identify target dates that you feel are realistic but sufficiently challenging

There are endless possibilities for you to continue your development as a conservator. These can be formal or informal and are certainly not restricted to attending courses and conferences. Your practical experience on projects, self-directed reading and discussions with colleagues are just as valuable. 

The following list of CPD activities may give you some inspiration - and if an opportunity doesn't seem to exist, create it!

Self-made opportunities

  • read relevant articles/newsletters/books/websites
  • talk to other conservators
  • join Icon Groups
  • volunteer to serve on an Icon Group committee 
  • visit museums/galleries
  • attend university conservation department open days
  • practice IT skills
  • seek an Icon mentor

Work-based opportunities

Academic study

Academic study is one of the most direct routes to getting and developing new skills

Make sure to check the course content closely to ensure it is going to help you develop the right skills to meet your goals. Icon does not endorse any particular conservation course. However, we do advise which academic courses teach our Professional Standards in Conservation - please see our up-to-date Directory.





What have I learned?

Assessing your progress

The aim of reflection is to identify what you have learnt so far, either over your career or on a project-by-project basis

It is particularly helpful to summarise your thoughts after events such as a training programme, work project, research or other relevant activities outside of your conservation work. 

Questions to ask:

  • Did it work out as you expected?
  • What was the most successful part of the project/activity?
  • Would you consider using a similar approach in the future?
  • Would you do things differently next time?
  • What would you do the same?
  • Has your knowledge and understanding changed?
  • Has your perspective or approach changed in any way?




CPD Recall for ACRs

Accredited conservators (ACRs) have a responsibility to maintain professional standards by adhering to the Code of Conduct and keeping up-to-date through ongoing career development.

A mandatory CPD process applies to all ACRs to ensure a high standard of conservation across the profession. All ACRs are periodically recalled by Icon to submit a CPD review.

Recall notifications are sent to a sample of ACRS each year between February and March. If on the recall candidates will have until May / June of that year to submit the recall documentation. 

For further information please click here. 


Planning, assessing and evaluating the effectiveness of activities you have undertaken is essential. The CPD Log sheet can be used for each activity you undertake and can help you keep on top of what it is that you have done, what you have learned and what you should do next. 

CPD Review Form