CPD requirements for Clinical Dental Technicians

CPD requirements for Clinical Dental Technicians

11 Jun 2021

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Keeping skills and knowledge up to date throughout your career is at the heart of what it means to be a dental professional. A dental technician is an essential member of the dental team and carries out all aspects of technical dentistry to complement the clinical work undertaken by the dentist. This brief overview will outline CPD as a clinical dental technician, the GDC CPD requirements, as well as provide examples of professional development within the dental industry.

Why Professional Development is important to the Dental Industry

CPD in reference to dentistry, is often referred to as “the mechanism by which dental practitioners develop their skills and knowledge and maintain up-to-date practice”. As well as being an obligation, embarking on Continuing Professional Development, known also as CPD, enables dentists to maintain and update their skills, knowledge and general practice during their career, as well as making sure personal attributes are up to the required professional standards.

CPD involves the process of active participation in formal and informal learning and training activities. For dental technicians, CPD describes as educational lectures, seminars, training courses, individual study and other learning activities that are included in a CPD record. CPD can only be included in this record if it can be reasonably expected to advance your professional development as a dentist or dental technician.

The CPD rules state that dental professionals must choose CPD that includes activities relevant to each field of practice they work in, or intend to work in, during their CPD cycle. As part of registration requirements with the General Dental Council (GDC), Dental technicians are required to develop themselves through CPD in order to deliver high quality patient care; and are required to provide evidence of this to the GDC on an annual basis.

General Dental Council GDC CPD Requirements

Once qualified, dental technicians register with the General Dental Council (GDC). The General Dental Council is an organisation which regulates dental professionals in the United Kingdom. The General Dental Council require members to maintain a level of professionalism by completing Continuing Professional Development (CPD) annually. To that extent CPD is mandatory for all dental professionals in the UK.

Enhanced CPD for Dental Technicians

Enhanced CPD focuses on following four steps: plan, do, reflect and record. Under the Enhanced CPD Scheme 2018: 

  • Dentists need to complete a minimum of 100 hours of CPD every five years, with at least 10 hours of verifiable CPD completed during any two-year period.
  • Dental nurses and technicians need to complete a minimum of 50 hours of CPD every five years.
  • Dental therapists, hygienists, orthodontic therapists and clinical dental technicians need to complete a minimum of 75 hours of CPD, with at least 10 hours of verifiable CPD completed during any two-year period. 

Note: Verifiable CPD is any activity that meets the GDC’s definition of CPD and for which there is documentary evidence that you have undertaken the CPD.

Dental technicians are required to submit a compliant CPD log annually with a Personal Development Plan (PDP). This needs to occur even if not all education has been completed. You must gain a certificate with your name, GDC number and the GDC Outcome on each certificate for a CPD activity to be counted. Undertaking CPD is a compulsory part of registration with the GDC. You must meet the CPD requirements to maintain your registration with the GDC. The GDC may also require any dental professional or dental technician wishing to restore their registration to provide us with evidence of the CPD they have done.

So, what is non-verifiable CPD?

The GDC states this is defined as: ‘A CPD activity that does not meet all of our requirements for verifiable CPD, but reasonably advances your development as a dental professional and is relevant to your practice or intended practice.” This is called general or non-verifiable CPD. There is no longer any requirement for non-verifiable CPD as a clinical dental technician. Even though there may no longer be the obligation to declare non-verifiable CPD, it is still advisable to engage with this format as long as it links in with your professional development plan.

Dental technicians GDC CPD requirements

Keeping Your CPD record

Each year, dentists and dental technicians are required to record the number of CPD hours that have been completed during the year. At the end of the five year cycle, dental professionals will be asked to confirm the hours that have been completed over the five years. The GDC will carry out a CPD audit and a percentage of dentists will then be required to send documentary evidence of their CPD. It is therefore important that records are kept of all the verifiable and general CPD that has been completed.

You must keep have a complete CPD record, which is made up of:

  • A plan (which the GDC refers to as your personal development plan);
  • Your log of completed activity
  • The evidence (e.g. certificates) you have collected from each activity 

An important part of Continuing Professional Development is being able to demonstrate it, especially if your membership of a professional body depends on it. The aim of this is to be able to show how your skills and knowledge have developed over a period. Keeping a CPD record is an important part of maintaining your registration.

CPD Quality Assurance

The GDC is a regulator, advising on core subjects – it does not provide quality control. This means that as professionals we have to use our judgements as to the quality our CPD. Dental technicians are personally responsible for ensuring their declared CPD meets the verifiable criteria. The GDC requires that CPD must be subject to some form of quality assurance in order to be counted as verifiable. This means that a CPD provider’s quality assurance processes will inevitably be a consideration for dental professionals when selecting their CPD, and this should encourage providers to take quality assurance seriously. Quality assurance should be present at all stages of verifiable CPD activity - before, during and after – no matter in what form the CPD activity is delivered or received, or whether it is paid for or free. There are a number of ways verifiable CPD can be effectively quality assured, for instance by way of CPD accreditation.

Become an accredited CPD Training Provider

The CPD Certification Service was established in 1996, and is the largest and leading independent CPD accreditation organisation working across all industry sectors. Thousands of CPD training courses, online and e-learning programs, conferences, workshops and seminars are formally certified by us every year.

CPD for Dental Technicians

We hope this brief overview article was helpful. If you are a dentist or dental technician and are thinking of applying CPD accreditation to your existing training courses and educational events, please visit our become a CPD provider page or contact our team to discuss in more detail. Alternatively please visit the Healthcare & Medical CPD Providers Directory to find CPD experts from across the sector.

CPD News Team

For more information from CPD News Team, please visit their CPD Member Directory page. Alternatively please visit the CPD Industry Hubs for more CPD articles, courses and events relevant to your Continuing Professional Development requirements.

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