Continuing Education: Q & A
Members often contact the Illinois State Dental Society staff with questions about certain topics, including
continuing education. To help increase members' knowledge of these topics, we have listed some of the more common
questions and their answers. If you have a question about continuing education that we haven't covered here,
Director of Education and Membership Kathy Ridley is available to assist
you, or to put you in touch with someone who can.
As of October 2006, the licensure renewal period extends from two years to three.
Continuing education requirements have been increased by one third, and dentists
will be required to show proof of a minimum of 48 hours of continuing education
over the three-year licensing period. Hygienists will be required to show proof
of 36 hours of continuing education over the three-year period.
- How many continuing education credits do I need to renew my license?
- During each three-year licensing period, every dentist must take 48 hours
of approved continuing education courses and every dental hygienist must take
36 hours of approved continuing education courses. When you send in your license
renewal application to the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional
Regulation (IDFPR), you must include an affidavit indicating that you have
taken the necessary hours of continuing education in the preceding three-year
period. IDFPR does not require you to list the specific courses on the affidavit;
however, if you do not include this affidavit, your license will not be renewed. For
complete information, refer to the
which outlines dental professionals' continuing education requirements.
IDFPR will only accept credits from approved continuing education courses which
cover clinical topics, practice management skills, legal and ethical responsibilities
and stress management. The Illinois Dental Practice Act states that courses about
estate and financial planning, investments or personal health will not be approved
continuing education purposes. It also specifies that "approved courses may include…courses that are offered or
sponsored by approved colleges, universities, and hospitals and by recognized national, state and local dental and
dental hygiene organizations." Before you take a continuing education course, make sure it is being provided by an
approved sponsor and is about an approved topic. The Illinois State Dental Society is an approved continuing
- Can I obtain continuing education credits from other states?
- Maybe. If you are not licensed in the jurisdiction in which you received
(or will receive) continuing education credits and the program was not presented
by an IDFPR-approved sponsor, ask IDFPR to review the program and determine
if it is acceptable for CE credits prior to your license renewal. To do so,
submit and individual program approval request form (available from IDPR at
217/782-0458) along with a $20 processing fee. If you have questions about
call the IDFPR Licensure Maintenance Unit at 217/782-0458.
- As a dental hygienist or dental assistant, how many hours of continuing education do I need to monitor levels of nitrous oxide?
- In order to monitor nitrous oxide levels, dental hygienists and dental assistants must show their dentist proof of
certification that they have completed a 6-hour nitrous oxide course, including both didactic and clinical components.
These hours related to nitrous oxide count toward the 24 hours of continuing education dental hygienists need to renew
their license. If a dental hygienist or dental assistant does not monitor nitrous oxide, or there is no nitrous oxide
used in his or her dental office, the dental hygienist or assistant does not need the 6 hours of continuing education
about nitrous oxide.
- As a dental hygienist, what are the educational requirements to administer nitrous oxide?
- The dental hygienist must complete a course of 6 hours relative to the administration of nitrous oxide.
This course must contain both didactic and clinical components and should have been completed no earlier than
January 1, 1998. A certification showing successful completion of the course must be provided to the dentist.
If the dental hygienist has previously completed a 12-hour course on monitoring nitrous oxide, the dental hygienist
must complete a two-hour course on the administration of nitrous oxide. If the dental hygienist has graduated from
a dental hygiene curriculum after January 1, 1998, which contained nitrous oxide administration in the curriculum,
they have already fulfilled the educational requirements to monitor and administer nitrous oxide and need no
- As a new dental school or dental hygiene graduate, when am I required to comply with continuing education requirements for my license renewal?
- New graduates are not required to comply with the continuing education requirements until the second renewal of
their license. In other words, you do not have to prove that you have taken the necessary continuing education credits
to receive your initial license, or to receive your first license renewal. But the second time you renew your license,
you must provide proof of compliance with the mandatory continuing education requirements.
- How many of my continuing education courses may be obtained from individual correspondence courses?
- By law, only 50% of your continuing education credits may be obtained from correspondence courses, and they
must be given by a sponsor approved by the Illinois Department of Professional Regulation. For a list of approved
sponsors, contact IDPR's licensure maintenance unit at 217/782-0458.
- If I listen to an audiotape about a relative dental topic, does it qualify for continuing education credit?
- Audiotapes do not qualify for continuing education credits unless they are
accompanied by a test and given by an Illinois Department of Financial & Professional
- As a retired dentist on inactive status, am I required to comply with continuing education requirements?
- No. Inactive, retired dentists are not required to comply with continuing education requirements.
On the licensure renewal form, you can check the statement that says you want to waive your continuing education
requirements due to retirement.
- If I'm retired, may I still choose to maintain my license?
- Yes. To maintain your license, you will need to comply with the continuing
education requirements and prove you have taken the necessary 48 hours of continuing
education each time you renew your license.
- If I have extra credits (more than 48 hours of continuing education for a
dentist, and more than 36 for a dental hygienist) at the end of a licensing
period, may I carry them over to the next licensing period?
- No. Any credits over 48 hours for dentist and 36 for dental hygienists cannot
be carried over.
- How many credits can I receive for presenting continuing education courses?
- You can receive 50% of your mandated continuing education credits by presenting
such courses. (This equals a maximum of 24 hours for dentists and 18 hours
for dental hygienists.) You can only receive credit for the first presentation
of your continuing education course. For example, if you present five two-hour
courses on "What’s New in Oral Hygiene," you will only receive
continuing education credits for the first presentation, for a total of two
- Can cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) re-certification be counted toward the continuing education
requirements for dentists or hygienists?
- Yes. Both Dentists and hygienists can obtain continuing education for a CPR course.