Tiburon, CA, June 19, 2007 --(PR.com
)-- The average dentist logs about 75 hours of dental continuing education
annually, far more than needed to meet state requirements. In a recent dental survey conducted by TheWealthyDentist.com, dentists were asked how many hours of formal continuing education they log per year. Though the most common response was 50 hours a year, a remarkable number of dentists reported 150 or more hours a year.
State boards mandate continuing education hours for dentists in all states except Colorado, Wisconsin and Wyoming. Yearly requirements vary on a state-by-state basis; Indiana requires only 20 hours of dental CE every two years, whereas Arizona's standard is 72 hours every three years. In addition, some states require dentists to complete CE courses on specific subjects such as infectious diseases, child abuse or CPR. Some will also grant dentists partial CE credit for providing volunteer care to underserved patients. In most states, dental boards ensure compliance with continuing education requirements via random audits.
Interestingly, general dentists reported more CE hours than did specialists. The generalists in this survey logged significantly more hours of continuing education (78 hours) than did the specialists (60 hours). One possibility for this trend is the desire of some general dentists to expand their dental practices to include specialty treatment.
Virtually every dentist responding to this poll reported far more hours of continuing education than required by state dental boards. "State CE requirements are ridiculously low," commented an Illinois dentist who logs 175 hours per year. "My state only requires 32 hours every two years, and they don't all need to be healthcare-related topics that might actually be something that would help you deliver better care for your patients."
"More CE should be required," declared a Georgia dentist who logs 200 hours a year. Specialists, it seems, are in the same boat as well: "The orthodontic world is exploding with information, and the state CE requirement is 20 hours a year," moaned a Michigan orthodontist who spends 120 hours a year on CE classes. "Hopelessly inadequate."
Many were baffled as to the purpose of state involvement. "I think state requirements should be done away with," suggested a Tennessee dentist, "but states should keep a public record of hours accessible to the public for each dentist." A Virginia dentist agreed: "As professionals, the State shouldn't have to dictate a minimum number of hours of CE; but dentists should take much more than 15 hours mandated by Virginia."
Some dentists love continuing education "I'm a CE junkie," confessed a Tennessee dentist who boasts 150 hours a year. "I also chase extraneous awards and distinctions from various organizations." A New York dentist was particularly critical of dental practitioners who neglect their continuing education. "You are not a dentist if you do not educate yourself. Too many get their degree and run."
Many doctors go above and beyond what's required. One California dentist reported 225 hours annually, more than any other respondent in this survey. "I teach about 125 hours a year (implants and bone grafting for GPs). I also take about 100 hours per year personally." Continuing education classes are, of course, only one of the ways dental professionals keep themselves up-to-date. "My formal CE hours do not include reading, tapes, etc.," mentioned a Maine dentist.
"The fact is, formal CE classes are only a small part of a dentist's actual continuing education." commented Jim Du Molin, founder of The Wealthy Dentist and an expert on dental seminars
. "Journals, books, studies, reviews - and especially the internet - these are the avenues through which dentists get their most valuable current information. Of course it's essential that a dentist maintain his or her education, but you can't help but wonder if formal continuing education classes are the best way to do that."
For additional information on this and other Wealthy Dentist surveys, as well as more dentist comments, visit www.thewealthydentist.com/survey.
The Wealthy Dentist is a dental marketing and dental practice management resource featuring dental consultant Jim Du Molin. The site’s weekly surveys and dental newsletters are viewed by thousands of dentists across the United States and Canada. The Wealthy Dentist is a sister company of the Internet Dental Alliance, Inc. (www.internetdentalalliance.com). IDA is the largest provider of websites for dentists, email patient newsletters and dental directories in North America.
Jim Du Molin