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Continuing Education: Requirements & Opportunities

Saturday, July 8, 2017   (2 Comments)
Posted by: Steven Niethamer
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Continuing Education: Requirements &


Kim Whippy, D.M.D.

Almost three years into my post-university career, I’m still learning about our continuing education (CE) requirements and trying to create systems to help myself stay organized. When I started writing this article about various CE requirements and opportunities, I realized that maybe some of my colleagues were also still learning about CE and getting organized. What’s my system? Simple, I made a list for myself on the back of an old manila folder to help keep everything straight:

  • California Dental License:
    - First renewal exempt from CE requirements

    - 50 CE units required per 2-year cycle: 25 must be live courses and 25 may be correspondence courses

    - Basic Life Support (max of 4 units), Infection Control (2 units) and California Dental Practice Act (2 units)courses required each cycle
  • Oral Conscious Sedation for Minor Patients Certification:
    - 7 CE units of approved courses per 2-year cycle: must be related to oral conscious sedation of minor patients
  • Conscious Sedation Permit (IV and intranasal drug administration):
    - 15 CE units of approved courses per 2-year cycle: must be related to conscious sedation and medical emergencies
  • American Board of Pediatric Dentistry:
    - 15 CE units pertaining to dental/medical care for pediatric patients required annually to maintain Diplomate status

As a newer graduate with a hefty student debt load, it can be tough to afford the missed work, course registration as well as travel and lodging expenses associated with attending larger, in-person meetings. Ski-getaway CE meetings or rendezvous in Europe are appealing, but aren’t practical for someone early in their career. Each annual CSPD meeting provides an opportunity to obtain up to 20 in-person CE units. These meetings are usually local and allow you to network with the community of professionals practicing within California and other western states. I like attending quarterly dinner meetings at my local component dental society where you can earn about 1.5 CE units each session. Occasionally, I come across webinars through ABPD or ADA that provide additional units. I follow the Collaborative Pediatric Dentist Facebook group iPEDO somewhat obsessively, and read journals when I can to stay up to date. Nonetheless, if I didn’t actively seek out extra CE units beyond these basics I think I’d fall short on my license renewal requirements.

One resource that I wasn’t aware of a few years ago is CSPD’s online continuing education library. On the CSPD website there is a tab for Online Continuing Education; it’s a few tabs to the right of the Professional Opportunities tab many of us clicked so often during our last year of residency. You have to create a user name and password that is separate from your regular CSPD website login. However, once you’re logged in you have access to a variety of recorded videos from experts in our field. Many courses are lectures recorded at previous annual meetings and I found the majority of the topics to be relevant and up-to-date. In particular, I appreciated the courses on oral sedation and was happy to see that the oral sedation CE requirement could be fulfilled using these online videos.

The process is pretty simple: once logged in, you select a video. Videos range from short (1 CE unit, 30-60 minutes) to long or multi-part (up to 4 CE units and several hours). The cost is about $35 per CE unit, and you have access to the video and slides for a 4-month period once you make the purchase through PayPal. When you finish watching the video lecture, you take a 5-10 question multiple-choice quiz to assess your knowledge and after passing the quiz can print your CE certificate right away. The course material is edited professionally with high quality sound and graphics.

Personally, I like that I can download a video and watch a bit each day or view it on my iPhone while getting fitbit steps on the treadmill. I like that I can pause if I get a call and rewind and rewatch parts that are more helpful. My mind often wanders after a few hours during long in-person lectures and I like that from home I can watch a bit at a time. I also love that I don’t have to change my work schedule at all to take these courses. All of the courses available are ADA CERP approved and fully permitted though the AAPD. So, if you’re trying to stay up-to-date on CE requirements while balancing multiple obligations, consider trying out an online CE course through CSPD.

Finally, develop some sort of system for organizing and maintaining CE certificates. The Dental Board of California recommends written CE certificates be maintained for three renewal periods, 6-years total. I use the same simple manila folder with my written CE requirement list for each 2-year cycle. I date the front, throw my certificates inside as I receive them and tally the CE number with a big marker on the front so I have an idea of how many more I need. My more organized friends have Excel spreadsheets or 3-hole binders with color-coded consecutive certificates neatly aligned. Just make sure you have a system that works for you because I’ve discovered it’s way too easy to lose those certificates, especially over a 6-year period. Happy spring and happy learning!


Andrea D. Salazar DDS says...
Posted Sunday, July 9, 2017
Thanks for the break down! It's useful Dr. Whippy!
Steven J. Niethamer DMD says...
Posted Saturday, July 8, 2017
Great article, Dr. Kim. Thank you!

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