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Dental: Industry: Training and Continuing Education

Although dentists professionals go through years of training for initial certification and licensing, they must continue their education indefinitely to continue practicing.

Dentists

Most dentists are well acquainted with the details surrounding board certification and re-certification for their particular specialties. That said, every discipline in these professions requires meeting certain continuing education requirements, which vary from state to state and discipline to discipline.

Most states require renewal of dental licenses every two years, as well as a requisite amount of continuing education credits each renewal period. Practitioners may take advantage of credit-earning activities through their specific professional organizations. Some of the best opportunities are listed here.

Journal of American Dental Association (JADA):
JADA's online continuing education program designates four articles in each issue to serve as vehicles for continuing education credits. Candidates can earn up to two credits each month by reading one or more of the written pieces, and then answering related questions through online test forms. This opportunity is in partnership with the University of Colorado School of Dentistry and the American Dental Association both ADA -CERP recognized providers and accepted by the Academy of General Dentistry.

American Dental Association
The American Dental Association provides a wide range of continuing education opportunities for general dentists and specialists. Through extensive resources such as online courses and a database of recommended CE providers, as well as other opportunities by which to earn CE credits such as authoring a course or attending the ADA annual meeting, professionals in the field can complete and earn CE credits as needed. These tools also represent a great way to stay current on industry-related litigation, licensing issues, laws, new technology and best practices.

Academy of General Dentistry (AGD)
AGD offers a comprehensive directory of continuing education courses and locations. It also presents self-instruction programs through its bimonthly journal, General Dentistry. Free online certified CE programs are offered through a partnership with Proctor and Gamble/Crest. Practitioners can also earn CE credit by attending the AGD Annual Meeting and Exhibits.

American Association of Orthodontists (AAO)
The AAO also provides continuing education courses and credit opportunities for its members. CE credits can be earned through distance learning, webinars, attendance at association meetings and seminars, and presentation of white papers.

Dental Office Professionals

Dental Hygienists, assistants and other dental office professionals often seek continuing education for career advancement or to satisfy state licensure and renewal requirements. In addition to dental programs at local universities, continuing education programs can also be found through dental trade associations.

American Dental Assistants Association (ADAA)
The ADAA provides continuing education for dental assistants with a comprehensive catalog of courses. Courses are available at roundtables, online, or by a home study workbook, with tests graded by the ADAA. All courses are approved by the Dental Assisting National Board and state dental boards for certification and registration renewals.

American Dental Hygienists' Association (ADHA)
The ADHA partners with state and local hygienist organizations to provide continuing education. Webinars and online courses are also offered, and the Website has a chart listing the CE requirements for each state.

American Association of Dental Office Managers
Through its "Virtual Study Club," this industry group provides dental office managers with continuing education and certification opportunities. The online eight-week courses include conference call meetings with other office managers and a facilitator so that managers of practices can exchange ideas and learn from each other.