Congratulations on completing your dental hygiene degree, obtaining your license, and landing your first job! However, your journey as a dental hygienist is far from over. Continued learning and growth are essential to thriving in your career. You may be wondering, how much dental hygiene continuing education (CE) do you actually need? The answer varies depending on your practice location, with most states requiring between 8 and 20 hours of CE annually. But don't worry, CE doesn't have to be a burden. By selecting the right form and content for your education, you can become an exceptional hygienist and a valuable asset to your team.
While dental hygienist continuing education may seem like a hassle amidst your busy work and personal life, state licensing boards have valid reasons for enforcing these requirements. CE ensures that hygienists:
In fact, many hygienists who approach CE as an opportunity rather than a chore find joy in meeting and exceeding the state minimum requirements. When you work hard to become an expert in your field, you naturally develop a passion for your work. CE plays a vital role in keeping you engaged and excited about your profession.
Since licensing requirements for hygienists vary from state to state, it's important to familiarize yourself with the specific CE guidelines set by your state licensing board. The American Dental Hygienist Association (ADHA) maintains an up-to-date list of state requirements on their website. However, always cross-check with your state licensing board for the most current information.
In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, many states have adjusted their guidelines for hygienist CE, including allowing more units to be completed through online courses and webinars. Be sure to review your state's guidelines to understand the current requirements. Some states have fewer restrictions on topics or formats, while others provide a breakdown of the courses necessary for license renewal.
Remember, most states grant hygienists 2-3 years to complete their CE. Instead of rushing to complete everything at the last minute, it's beneficial to spread out your CE classes over the licensing period. By taking CE seriously and planning ahead, your entire practice will reap the rewards.
As a hygienist, you likely receive numerous advertisements for CE through social media, email, and traditional mail. The ADHA and CDHA offer a selection of online courses that are free for members and available at a low cost for non-members. Your state or provincial professional association and your practice itself may also offer CE opportunities.
When taking a CE course, always document your participation and keep your continuing education records safe and easily accessible. It's essential to retain hard copies of completion and credit certificates.
If your practice owner doesn't offer CE or the options provided are not aligned with your interests, don't hesitate to communicate with them. Often, practice owners welcome new ideas for CE and may be open to suggestions. If there's a new product or service that you believe could benefit the practice, consider discussing the possibility of taking a CE course to learn more about it. Your proactive approach can contribute to practice growth and enhance the overall patient experience.
To make the most of your continuing education, it's crucial to plan ahead. Take some time to reflect on your career and identify the aspects of your day that bring you the most fulfillment. Which areas do you excel in? How can you pursue continuing education that allows you to specialize and provide even better care to your patients? On the other hand, pinpoint the areas where you feel less confident and seek out courses that can help you build the necessary skills and boost your confidence in those areas. By strategically selecting your CE options, you can truly thrive in your career.
CE requirements are not merely obligations; they are opportunities for growth and expertise in your field. While meeting the minimum requirements for licensing is important, it's equally essential to approach your profession with dedication and a drive for continuous improvement. By embracing dental hygiene continuing education, you can elevate your skills, expand your knowledge, and achieve new heights in your career.
Ready to take your continuing education to the next level? Join the RDH Inner Circle waitlist and gain access to our free Ultimate CE Tracker—an invaluable tool that will help you stay organized and motivated on your journey of ongoing learning. Say goodbye to the hassle of managing your CE documentation and tracking your progress manually. With our Ultimate CE Tracker, you can effortlessly keep tabs on your completed courses, credits, and upcoming CE opportunities. Don't miss out on this incredible resource—get your free Ultimate CE Tracker!
Contact us now to learn more about RDH Inner Circle and take advantage of this valuable offer. Let's embark on a rewarding and fulfilling professional development journey together!
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