Learning never stops. There’s always new information, new techniques, advancements in technology, innovations in health care…the list goes on.
Did you know that it’s the dental professional’s responsibility to keep up with current learning and updated practices? State and Provincial authorities call it “maintaining competence”.
How Do You Maintain Competence?
With continuing education (CE) credits.
Not just any course will count towards your CE credits though—it needs to be an approved course. You’ll need a minimum amount of credits to keep your dental license current.The same goes for registered hygienists and registered dental assistants.
The minimum number of credits and renewal periods vary widely from state to state and province to province. Be sure to check with the governing body in your district for your specific requirements.
Unfortunately, if you earn more credits than the minimum needed, you can’t roll them over for the next license renewal period. Keep in mind that credits need to come from a variety of areas associated with the dental profession including (but not limited to):
- Clinical Dental—directly related to the care and treatment of patients including CPR, first aid training, and managing any dental or medical emergencies
- Practice Management and Financial—course topics relating to the day-to-day operations and management of a practice: marketing products and services to patients and personal financial education and future planning
- Personal Wellness—anything mentally or physically health related for patients, staff, and self including how to deal with mental illness, sexual harassment, drug, and alcohol abuse
How Do You Get The Credits?
Credits can be obtained from a variety of sources, but make sure it’s an approved source so it counts towards your license:
- Online courses
- Dental association meetings
- Dental conferences
- Dental workshops
Who Offers These Learning Opportunities?
- Dental schools
- Product sponsors
- Federal associations
- State and provincial associations
Other Advantages Of Continued Education
Besides needing credits to keep your license current, what are some other important reasons to keep learning?
- With how fast technology is changing, it wouldn’t take long to fall behind and be treating your patients with outdated techniques. Always staying current will ensure your patients get the best care possible—as they should
- Career advancement is an option when you’re keeping up with your education. It shows your employer motivation and eagerness to grow
- Social awareness is higher than ever. When someone wants to know something, they just hop on the internet and read about it. Dr. Google isn’t always right, of course, but the point is—you don’t want your patients knowing more about new dental procedures than you do
By taking courses throughout the year, you’ll easily accomplish your minimum CE credit target (without having to cram them all in right before the deadline). Continued education can do more than just improve your knowledge and get you credits for your license—choose courses that will benefit the practice by expanding on the services currently being offered. That’s a win for everyone involved.
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