Background. Mandatory continuing education (CE) is an almost universal requirement for relicensure of dentists in the United States. In recent years, computer-based methods have become more widely adopted as a vehicle for earning CE credits. To obtain a comprehensive overview of CE requirements in the United States, the authors conducted a survey on how computer-based CE methods are regulated. Methods. The authors reviewed the dental statutes of 50 states and the District of Columbia regarding the license renewal period, required number of CE hours, limitations on clinical and nonclinical subjects, on-site versus independent-study courses, and other requirements regarding CE. Results. The authors found that 45 states and the District of Columbia mandate CE for relicensure at this time. Most dentists were required to complete approximately 20 hours per year. Ten states specified a minimum number of clinical hours, 17 states limited nonclinical hours, and seven states placed constraints on both clinical and nonclinical CE. Sixty-five percent of states limited the number of CE credits that could be accumulated through independent study. Specific requirements for computer-based methods of earning CE credits were absent in general. Conclusions. State licensing boards across the United States have implemented comprehensive requirements for CE. Few, if any, provisions addressed computer-based methods of earning CE credits. Practice Implications. Given the increasing adoption of computer-based methods of earning CE credits, state dental boards and accrediting agencies may want to consider steps to improve the quality of computer-based methods of earning CE credits.
- Continuing education
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