Continuing Education FAQs

Below are several FAQs regarding continuing education. You can find these same questions, plus many more on the New York State Education Department's website at

How many hours of continuing education are required for a dentist?

New York State Education Law requires dentists to complete 60 contact hours of continuing education in each three-year registration period.

What is a continuing education hour?

An hour of continuing education is one contact hour of at least 50 minutes in duration. Most continuing education providers give credit in hours; however, you may see credit given in continuing education units.

One continuing education unit (CEU) equals 10 contact hours. Therefore, .1 CEU equals one contact hour, .2 CEUs equals two contact hours, .3 CEUs equals three contact hours, and so on.

Individuals completing college-level course work should note that one semester hour equals 15 contact hours.

If I complete more hours than required during the registration period, can I use them toward the hours required in my next registration period?

No. Continuing education hours can not be carried over from one registration period to the next. The hours must be completed between the effective date and expiration date of the registration period for which they will be applied.

Am I required to complete a certain number of hours per year?

No. You can complete the hours any time during the three-year registration period as long as you have completed the required hours prior to the expiration date of your registration. However, we recommend that you complete courses each year so you are sure to have them completed before it is time to reregister.

Are there specific courses that I must take to be eligible to renew my registration?

Yes. All dentists who have a continuing education requirement must take the following courses.

1. During your first registration period after January 1, 2002, you must complete on a one-time basis, a two-hour course regarding the oral health effects of tobacco and tobacco products.

2. During your first registration period which begins on or after January 1, 2008, you are required to complete, on a one-time basis, a State approved course in dental jurisprudence and ethics.

3. Beginning January 1, 2009, all dentists must achieve certification in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and from that point forward, continually maintain certification.

4. Dentists must also complete a State approved infection control course every 4 years.

Am I required to physically attend courses to meet the continuing education requirement?

Yes. Dentists are required to complete at least seven-tenths of their continuing education hours via live courses (42 of the 60 contact hours required for a three-year registration). The balance of the remaining hours may be completed through appropriate self-study courses.

Live courses are those in which you are able to interact with the instructor. For example: a live lecture; a telecourse or teleconference in which you and the instructor can speak directly with each other; a course in which you and other practitioners discuss a taped presentation with a facilitator's assistance; a computerized course in which you are able to interact directly with the instructor. On the other hand, a televised lecture with no means of direct interaction would not be acceptable as a live course even if it is a live telecast.

What records will I have to keep for the continuing education courses I attend?

You will need to keep verification of attendance for each course for six years from the date of completion. Verification should include the following items:

- title of the course;
- number of hours completed;
- the sponsor's name;
- the location the course was taken;
- the date of the course; and
- verification by the sponsor of your attendance.

This information is likely to be provided on a certificate of completion from the sponsor. Dentists' records must include verification that the sponsor has at least one full-time employee.