New Continuing Education Rules for Wisconsin Dentists

On August 1, 2012, new rules clarifying continuing education (“CE”) requirements for Wisconsin dentists and dental hygienists became effective.  These rules provide additional information and guidance on a number of topics relating to CE, including all of the following:

  • Number of Credit Hours Required –  For dentists, 30 credit hours every 2 years, including not less than 25 credit hours of instruction in clinical dentistry or clinical medicine.  For dental hygienists, 12 credit hours every 2 years, with no more than 2 of the 12 hours satisfied by life support or CPR training and no less than 2 of the 12 hours spent on training in infection control.  
  • Calculating Credit Hours –  1 credit hour means 60 minutes, of which at least 50 minutes are instruction attended by the student.  1 hour of teaching or preparing a professional dental or medical program counts as 1 credit hour of CE, but not more than 4 credit hours of a dentist’s required 30 credit hours may be from teaching.  1 credit hour of a college level course counts as 6 credit hours of CE.
  • Acceptable CE Programs – An acceptable CE program for a dentist must relate to the practice of dentistry or the practice of medicine and must also be: (1) sponsored or recognized by a dental professional organization or by a medical professional organization; (2) a college-level course offered by a post-secondary institution accepted by the ADA Commission on Dental Accreditation or by another recognized accrediting body; or (3) a study group.  An acceptable CE program for a dental hygienist must relate to the clinical practice of dental hygiene or the practice of medicine and must be:  (1) sponsored or recognized by a dental, dental hygiene, dental assisting, or medical-related professional organization; or (2) a study group.
  • Study Groups Both dentists and dental hygienists may count hours spent attending a study group toward their CE requirements.  The new rules define a study group as a group of 2 or more dentists or dental hygienists who discuss CE topics related to the practice of dentistry or medicine, or the clinical practice of dental hygiene; provided that the study group also satisfies all 3 of the following requirements:  (1)  the study group must have existed for at least 1 year; (2) the study group must meet face-to-face at least once each year to discuss issues; and (3)  the study group must have adopted by-laws governing the operation of the group.
  • Distance Education – CE requirements may be satisfied by independent study, correspondence or internet programs or courses.
  • Accredited Residency Training Programs – For dentists, active enrollment in an accredited post-doctoral dental residency training program for at least 12 months of the current licensure cycle will be accepted as meeting the required 30 credit hours of CE .
  • Certificate of Compliance – At the time of license renewal, every Wisconsin dentist and dental hygienist must sign a statement certifying that, within the 2 years immediately preceding the renewal date, he or she has completed all required CE courses.

This article was written by Janice L. Gauthier, Esq. Ms. Gauthier has an A.B. from Harvard University and a J.D. from Harvard Law School.  She is the owner of The Gauthier Law Group, LLC, a boutique law firm that represents dentists, physicians, health care providers, professional service practices and other businesses and business owners in Wisconsin and Illinois.  You can contact Ms. Gauthier at 414-270-3857 or by email. To learn more about Ms. Gauthier’s background and experience, visit her Google or LinkedIn profiles.

© 2012, 2013 The Gauthier Law Group, LLC