Tips for Maintaining Your Continuing Education (CE) Credits

Posted by Amy Carbone on Jan 15, 2020 9:00:00 AM

Maintaining your continuing education credits can be a daunting but crucial task. Manage your CE with these tips.

Don't Underestimate the Importance of Maintaining Certifications via Continuing Education

Once you graduate from dental school, it can be more challenging to advance your career. You can obtain and maintain certifications, as well as sharpen your skillset through continuing education, or CE. The last thing you want to do after a long day is to fire up your laptop and study for an hour, but CE is too important to put off until later.

Tips for maintaining continuing education

Continuing education can help you improve and learn new techniques after dental school. It allows you to stay competitive in your field, discover new technology and develop business relationships that help improve your practice’s reputation. Simply put, continuing education is a must for dentists, dental associates, hygienists, and dental assistants who want to keep their edge in the industry.

Take Online Courses in Your Spare Time

One way to get in your CE credits when you're short on time is to take classes online in your "off" time. This does require a bit of sacrifice on your part, but most CE classes can be completed fairly quickly, depending on the class and your overall understanding of the material.

Take classes on topics that interest you or in areas where you need to improve. Look for on-demand options that don't require you to log into an online classroom or attend lectures at a specific time so you can complete coursework when it's most convenient for you. Squeeze in a class over a long weekend if working on CE at night after working in the office is challenging for you.

Turn Continuing Education into a Business Trip

State organizations often offer in-person continuing education at seminars, expos, and other business engagements. Schedule a business trip to your nearest convention and buckle down for a day or two of classes. This allows you to get the year's CE credits done in one fell swoop, and gives you opportunities to network with other dental professionals in your area. Hotel, food, travel, and other related expenses may be considered tax-deductible, making the trip an investment that is hard to argue with.

Bring along qualified employees (e.g. employees who have been working for the practice for a year or more) to facilitate their continuing education as well. For larger groups, you may be able to negotiate discounted admission or hotel and travel fares.

tips for maintaining continuing education

Venture Outside Your Comfort Zone

It's easy for dental professionals to get stuck in their comfort zone. After all, doing fillings and simple restorations all day poses little risk to your practice, and it's often faster to do procedures you know well versus trying new techniques. However, your comfort zone impacts your overall bottom line; if you never get out and create more value for patients, you'll find it more difficult to grow your revenue year after year.

Look into new materials, new equipment, or new techniques to use during various dental procedures. Make an effort to stay abreast of what patients want in a dental practice and look for ways to offer those services. Look at what your competitors are doing and find ways to take a slightly different approach.

Promote a CE Culture Within Your Dental Practice

Your staff will likely only be as motivated to take continuing education courses as you are. If CE is something that isn't often discussed at your practice or very few employees make the effort to get the CE credits they need to maintain certifications, it might be difficult to get new employees on board. Create a culture within your practice that puts a high value on continuing education.

Offer to pay for eligible or qualifying employees to attend continuing education workshops. Or, offer incentives to employees who obtain a new or higher-level certification. Send emails or memos to your staff giving them information about where to sign up for online continuing education classes with the ADA or JADA. Show extra appreciation to employees who go out of their way to prioritize continuing education.

Are You Making Continuing Education a Priority for Your Office?

If your office could take or leave continuing education, your practice could become stagnant over time. You may find that your patient base dwindles as they find cutting-edge treatments elsewhere. Or, your turnover rate may increase as employees look for jobs that offer an opportunity to grow. Continuing education may seem like a luxury or added bonus, but not something your practice really needs to function.

However, quite the opposite could be true. Without continuing education, it might be impossible for your practice to stay ahead of your competitors. In time, you likely won't be able to compete and your practice may become obsolete. Use continuing education to help keep your staff sharp and your services up-to-date.

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Topics: Dental Practice Business Tips