Dentists are required to attest they have completed of a minimum of 48 hours of continuing education over the three-year licensing period. Hygienists will be required to attest to 36 hours of continuing education over the three-year period. Anyone who renews late or is audited by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, will have to show proof of completion of all courses.
A number of new requirements have become law that require dentists to complete continuing education in specific areas in order to be licensed in Illinois. The Illinois State Dental Society has specific information and courses that meet this new requirement.
- 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 Illinois Dental Practice Act which outlines dental professionals' continuing education requirements.
For dentists that have Permit A or B, proof of 9 hours (of the 48-hour requirement) in sedation techniques, including education in medications, recognition and management of complications and emergencies.
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 for 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.
CE credit may be earned for verifiable attendance at or participation in any courses that meet the requirements given by one of the following sponsors: American Dental Association and National Dental Association, its constituent and component/branch associations and the American Dental Association Continuing Education Recognition Programs. The Illinois State Dental Society is an approved continuing education sponsor.
- What amount of CE must be "in-person" vs. online (correspondence)?
During the 2021 renewal cycle, the Illinois Department of Financial Professional Regulation (IDFPR) issued a variance that allowed all continuing education credit was able to be obtained online by either live, real-time presentations, or through on-demand provided by approved CE sponsors. IDFPR issued the variance because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Recently, IDFPR has indicated to ISDS that the variance will not be re-issued for the 2024 renewal cycle. Therefore, the in-person vs. “correspondence” requirement will revert back to the way it was prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. This means no more than 50% of the required continuing education credits will be allowed to be obtained through a “correspondence” (i.e. on-demand webinar or journal articles) class.
- Does a "live" webinar classify as an "in-person" course?
Yes. The licensee must receive a certificate of completion displaying the title of the live webinar and date.
- 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 this, 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 administer monitor nitrous oxide levels, dental hygienists 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 36 hours of continuing education dental hygienists need to renew their license. If a dental hygienist does not administer and monitor nitrous oxide, or there is no nitrous oxide used in his or her dental office, the dental hygienist 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 additional coursework.
- 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.
- 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 Regulation-approved sponsor.
- 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 hours.
- 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. You may find these courses by visiting the American Red Cross.
- Can I find specific information from Illinois Dental Practice Act online?
- Yes! See:
Full Administrative Code
- How do I access my ISDS CE certificates?
- Login to https://isds.ce21.com/Account/Login (note this is a different login than isds.org)
- Once logged in, your homepage will load.
- All the courses you took with ISDS will be on your homepage.
- Click the “certificate” button under the course title
Please note, you only need to show proof of CE certificates if you get audited or miss the deadline to renew. When you renew on the IDFPR website, you will only need to attest that you have the required CE.