Continuing Education Courses for Dental Hygienists: What You Need to Know

Dental hygienists are health professionals who are trained and authorized to clean teeth, take dental x-rays, and provide related dental services and care, under the supervision of a dentist. To obtain a dental hygiene license (RDH), candidates must submit a certificate of graduation from a dental hygiene school accredited or provisionally accredited by a regional accrediting agency approved by the United States Department of Education or by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA) of the American Dental Association. No experience requirements are necessary upon completion of an associate degree. However, dentists, dental hygienists and dental assistants with expanded functions who are currently licensed or certified in another state or territory or in Canada can be licensed if the credentials presented meet Pennsylvania requirements.

Licensing and certification through criteria approval will be granted only to applicants whose licensing boards confirm that they are reciprocal with the Commonwealth. Act 41 allows the portability of professional licensees from other states who come to work in Pennsylvania. In order to maintain their license, dental hygienists must complete 20 continuing education credits every two years. Of these credits, 10 must be live (the webinar will count if broadcast live) and 10 can be earned online. Temple University's e-dental campus is a great resource for online courses and webinars with continuing education credits.

Manor College also offers dentistry courses for general information and class registration forms. The State Board of Dentistry can audit dental professionals for four years before the current licensing period. To stay up-to-date on the latest developments in the field, dental hygienists should consider reading Dimensions of Dental Hygiene, a monthly peer-reviewed journal that reconnects practicing dental hygienists with the country's leading educators and researchers.

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