Dental Hygiene Continuing Education Options

Dental hygienists' responsibilities vary by state, but they typically complete the practical tasks associated with sanitizing patients' mouths and teeth, such as cleaning and examining patients' teeth and removing plaque. There are several continuing education options for professionals seeking further training in the field.

After earning licensure, dental hygienists need to take CE courses in order to maintain their professional status. They may also choose to continue their education through advanced studies in the field.

What Are the Options for Hygienists Who Want to Continue Their Education?

Some continuing education programs are designed for dental hygienists who need CE credits to renew licensure and might offer refresher courses covering basic skills.

Other programs are designed for professionals interested in advanced positions, such as research, teaching or clinical practice at public health organizations or within schools. Relevant programs typically result in a bachelor's degree or master's degree. For example, students can earn a Master of Science in Dental Hygiene or a professional Master of Dental Hygiene. Some of these programs are available in online formats for hygienists who want to continue their education without giving up their jobs.

Where Can I Find CE Courses?

The American Dental Hygienists' Association (ADHA) offers a list of continuing education courses and degree programs, along with program discounts for hygienists who become association members. Topics discussed in the ADHA classes, some of which are offered online, include the following:

  • Dental hygiene education
  • Infection control
  • Periodontology
  • Clinical research

The American Dental Institute (ADI) and many dental schools at universities throughout the United States also offer dental hygienist continuing education courses. Popular CE topics for dental hygienists that are offered by the ADI include the following:

  • Oral health
  • Oral piercings
  • Digital imaging
  • Preventive dentistry

Who Needs to Take CE Courses?

All dental hygienists must fulfill continuing education requirements in order to maintain licensure. Hygienists must be licensed in all states, but specific continuing education requirements and renewal cycles vary by state, so hygienists must consider the standard of their state's medical or health board when choosing between continuing education options.

All licensed dental hygienists need to fulfill periodic continuing education requirements. Those who want to advance in the field can also choose continue their education through higher-level degree programs.

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