Whether you are new to the dentistry field or have years of experience, it is always a great idea to consider continuing education courses to either further your knowledge, expand the scope of your career, or learn about changes or improvements in the field.
There are many courses relating to dentistry offered by many academic institutions that will allow you to achieve these goals, but you want to guarantee that it will be helpful to you and meet your needs and expectations in the long run. The following considerations will assist you in pursuing your goals in the dentistry profession.
1. Identify your goals
Before enrolling in an advanced dentistry course, you want to confirm that the course you are considering is a necessary step in your professional development. Identify what you hope to achieve by taking the course: increased knowledge to do your existing role more effectively? Greater job prospects? An eventual specialization in the field? Answering these questions will assist you in identifying and enrolling in courses based on these factors and will save you time and money by eliminating courses not within the scope of your development plan.
Once you have specified some goals, attempt to contact people in the field related to the course. Ask questions about their role and if the course you are considering was instrumental in them being hired in their current position.
2. Will it help you achieve your goals?
Would a course in orthodontics be of immediate use to a dental assistant in a periodontist’s office? Not very likely. You want to make sure that the course you take will be useful to you in your current line of work or it is a waste of time, money, and effort. This is not to say that taking a course cannot broaden your horizons and assist you in seeking other opportunities but if this dental assistant enjoys her work in a periodontist’s office and wants to spend her career here, taking a course relating to orthodontics is not helpful.
Confirm the course that you take is related to your development plan. Your new knowledge in the field will allow versatility to take on new roles demonstrated in the course, allow you to progress in your desired field, open up a wealth of new opportunities, and complete your work with complete confidence.
3. Confirm accreditation
There are many courses offered in the dentistry field by various different academic institutions but you need to confirm that the one you choose is accredited under the Dental Assisting Regulatory Authorities (DARA), the Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario (RCDSO), or the Royal College of Dentists of Canada. Before enrolling in the course, confirm that you will receive a certificate at the conclusion of the course so you have proof that you did complete it. There are steps you can take to ensure that the course is accredited and that the completion of it will be recognized.
Checking the institution’s website will give information about what governing bodies it is attributed with. If you cannot find any information about accreditation, contact the institution directly and if they are unable to produce the requested information, consider another school. Be cautious of institutions with only a post office (P.O.) box listed or a suite number. Also do not consider courses that brag that the course can be completed in a short period of time. You actually want a course that is detailed, helpful, and gives you time to learn and complete required assignments. Institutions that offer sales for signing up for multiple courses should definitely be avoided as well. This is usually a sign that an institution is more business-minded rather than educational.