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 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.