Professional Development

Professional development refers to the continued education and training of an individual in regard to his or her career. The goal of professional development is to maintain current knowledge and stay up to date on new research and trends in your field. Professional development is the foundation of a quality assurance/continuing competence program. The dental hygiene regulatory bodies across Canada require each registered professional to maintain their knowledge, skills, aptitude, and judgement in order to ensure the delivery of high-quality evidence-informed dental hygiene care to clients and for them to be able to renew their certificate of registration/licence to practise annually.

CDHA is proud to offer a variety of evidence-informed professional development activities to practising dental hygienists. These activities strive to improve service provision, respond to technological advancement in the dental industry, and support the development of new clinical knowledge and approaches to dental hygiene care.

Professional Development Opportunities

Workshops and Conferences—CDHA offers virtual and in-person workshops on a variety of topics across Canada. CDHA also hosts a major conference one year and alternates the following year with a summit which is a conference on a smaller scale on a very specific topic. CDHA also hosts its Annual General Meetings virtually and or in-person. A dental hygienist can also attend workshops and conferences hosted by their local and provincial/territorial associations. These are great opportunities for learning but most importantly to network with like-minded colleagues.

Online Courses and Webinars—CDHA provides members with exclusive online courses, webinars, and has negotiated an exclusive pricing for the Dental Hygiene Quarterly. In addition, many provincial/territorial dental hygienists' associations provide similar offerings for their members.

Professional Development Activities Offered by the Dental Industry or Other Organizations—Many dental companies, dental distributors, commercial organizations, universities, and colleges offer virtual, in-person or distance education to dental hygienists. Federal government health agencies, departments of health, and interdisciplinary associations also offer professional development that may qualify under your provincial/territorial continuing competency program.

Explore more on CDHA’s Oral Health Events Calendar.

Additional professional development opportunities*:

*These additional professional development opportunities have not been vetted by CDHA, nor is CDHA affiliated with or endorse any of the material presented.

Publications—Most provinces/territories recognize the study of, or submission to, dental hygiene publications as part of their continuing competence program. The Canadian Journal of Dental Hygiene (CJDH), the peer-reviewed research journal of CDHA, has current and several years of archived issues online. CJDH is also indexed in the following biomedical databases: CINAHL, EBSCOhost, Gale, MEDLINE ProQuest, and Scopus. Dimensions of Dental Hygiene, a US publication, has evidence-informed articles with quiz questions that can also be used to obtain professional development credits.

Additional scientific self-study opportunities:

Study Groups—Study groups related to dental hygiene practice offer a unique opportunity to network and dialogue with dental hygienists in your area and may count towards your continuing competence program requirements. Contact your provincial association to find out about groups that may be meeting in your area.

Formal Education—In addition, degree completion and graduate studies may also satisfy your provincial/territorial continuing competence program requirements. CDHA strongly supports continuing education and there are several education pathways (transfer credits) between Canadian dental hygiene programs and Canadian and international universities that will help you develop your education pathway and advance your career. There are also numerous opportunities for dental hygienists to pursue education using microcredentials. These are short, vocational, cost-efficient courses or certifications which lead to specific skills and career advancement. Some examples of microcredentials for dental hygienists include certification in myofunctional therapy, orthodontics, geriatrics, infection prevention officer, just to name a few.

Professional Development Requirements

Each province/territory has different rules concerning the types of professional development activities that are eligible for use towards the continuing competence program requirements (educational courses/webinars/workshops, advanced study, study of professional journals, conference attendance, professional meetings, professional article writing, etc.) and how credits are calculated for each activity (hour-for-hour credit, credits per activity, credit as recommended, goal-based learning, etc.).

CDHA recommends that each dental hygienist keep records of all professional education activities taken, including certificates of completion, transcripts, receipts, speaker notes, and other supporting material to present to their respective regulatory body at renewal of their certificate of registration/licence of practice in support of their continuing competence program.

Note: It is the responsibility of each dental hygienist to ensure that the chosen professional development activities meet the requirements of the provincial/territorial regulatory body in terms of type of activities, topics, mode of delivery, post-assessment, post-event self-reflection exercise, and credibility of the speaker to name a few. To learn more about the different provincial/territorial continuing competence requirements, please consult the regulatory body of the province/territory in which you are registered to practise.