Continuing professional development

It is a practitioner’s responsibility to ensure that they maintain competence through participation in continuing professional development.

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CPD requirements up to 31 December 2021

Notice of waiver of recertification requirements — 05 May 2020

Recognising the impacts of COVID-19 on oral health practice, the Council has waived recertification requirements for 12 months.

This means:

  • You have extra time to complete the same number of hours
  • All practitioners will have until 31 December 2021 to meet CPD hours and peer contact requirements notified on 28 August 2019 as shown in the table below.
  • Practitioners will need to submit a self-declaration of their CPD activities and peer contacts after 31 December 2021.


Current recertification programme requirements to be completed by 31 December 2021 

Minimum number of verifiable CPD hours

Minimum number of peer contact activities

01 January 2017 - 31 December 2021


Dental specialists 



01 January 2018 - 31 December 2021 

Dental hygienists

Dental therapists

Oral health therapists



Orthodontic auxiliaries



Dental technicians



Clinical dental technicians



New registrants from March 2020

New registrants (from March 2020 until 31 December 2020) are required to complete the following minimum numbers of verifiable CPD hours and peer contact activities by 31 December 2021:

  • Dentists and dental specialists — 20 CPD hours and 3 peer contact activities
  • Dental hygienists, dental therapists, and oral health therapists — 15 CPD hours and 2 peer contact activities
  • Orthodontic auxiliaries — 7 CPD hours and 1 peer contact activity
  • Dental technicians— 10 CPD hours
  • Clinical dental technicians — 15 CPD hours

New registrants after 31 December 2020 will have their CPD requirements adjusted in proportion to the time left of the cycle ending 31 December 2021. 

CPD requirements

For each profession, the Dental Council sets a minimum number of verifiable continuing professional development (CPD) hours and a certain number of peer contact activities per recertification cycle.

Examples of verifiable CPD activities include:

  • conferences, courses and workshops
  • web-based learning (with verifiable outcomes)
  • postgraduate study (leading to a qualification relevant to the practitioner’s scope of practice)
  • approved in-service training or peer contact activities
  • presentation at an oral health seminar. 

We have set minimum requirements, but expect that most practitioners will participate in a far greater number of hours of CPD than the minimum. Practitioners have a mandatory professional responsibility to be involved in learning activities to update their knowledge and skills throughout their career.

How CPD relates to scopes of practice

CPD activities should be relevant to your scope of practice. 

Your CPD could help you to keep up to date with developments in areas of your scope of practice. Understanding such developments helps to ensure that a patient receives appropriate care and that you make appropriate referrals.

Furthermore, CPD can be used to up skill in areas where refreshing or more experience is required.

CPD requirements for different practising statuses

The same CPD is required if you work part-time

The CPD requirements are the same for full-time and part-time practitioners.

CPD requirements are adjusted if you start practice part-way through the cycle

If you register after the CPD cycle has started, your CPD requirements for that cycle will be reduced in proportion to the time left of the CPD cycle. For example, if you registered 12 months after a four-year cycle starts, you will need to do three-quarters of the full cycle CPD requirements.

CPD requirements if you are registered in more than one profession

If you are registered in more than one profession, you only need to complete the CPD requirements of the profession with the greater number of hours. 

Maintaining CPD when not practising

Every registered oral health practitioner, whether practising or on retention, must meet the CPD requirements.

Maintaining CPD while overseas

If you are registered in New Zealand but practising overseas, you have to comply with our requirements.  You can submit the international activities completed to Council’s CPD Advisory Committee for verification.


Verification of CPD activities

The Council has waived the requirement for CPD to be verified but it still must be verifiable. This means you must be able, if called upon to do so, to provide documentary evidence of attendance, and documentation that shows the activity or the training provided is approved for verifiable CPD purposes by an approved CPD provider or verifier.

The professional associations can assess and approve an activity as verifiable CPD for their members.

It is your responsibility to ensure that activities planned or undertaken are approved as verifiable CPD before the end of the CPD cycle.

More information on the CPD requirements is available in Council’s Policy on Continuing Professional Development Activities.

A list of verified CPD activities  

The professional associations maintain their own lists of CPD activities that they have approved.

Recording of CPD

Keeping adequate records of your completed hours and peer contact activities is your responsibility.

You are required to keep a record of CPD and peer contact activities, for two complete cycles (eight years), and to make this available on request.

Practitioners who have logged their CPD activities through an online recording facility with one of the approved verifiers, and have met the minimum requirements, will not be required to submit a paper-based declaration and schedule.  

Those practitioners who have not recorded the minimum requirements with the verifiers, or those practitioners without access to an online CPD recording facility will be required to complete and submit a signed schedule. The schedule will contain a record of your CPD activities completed during the period. Details will include, for example, the date and name of the activity; the provider/organiser; the location; a course code (where relevant); and the duration of the activity.

You may be asked to submit your CPD records, for example, if concerns about your competence or conduct have been raised.

CPD audits

At the close of a CPD cycle, 10 percent of each of the professions is randomly selected and asked to submit their CPD records to Council for audit and assessment.

Practitioners who have used approved verifiers’ online CPD recording systems, such as NZDA, NZAO and NZDOHTA, and have met the minimum CPD requirements, are exempt from this audit process.

Non-compliance with CPD

CPD has been established by the Council as a formal recertification programme under section 41 of the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act 2003 (the Act). Any failure to meet the requirements of the programme is likely to have legal implications for your practice.

If you do not meet your CPD obligations, we may exercise our discretion under section 43 of the Act. If you have failed to satisfy the requirements of a recertification programme, we may make either of the following orders:

(a)    that your scope of practice be altered

(i)      by changing any health service that you are permitted to perform; or

(ii)     by including any condition or conditions that we consider appropriate

(b)    that your registration be suspended.

Approval of CPD providers

We approve and monitor CPD providers. CPD offered by an approved provider provides you with the assurance that the activities offered meets the minimum criteria of verifiable CPD. These providers normally request verification for their CPD activities from a Council-approved verifier before the activity.

A list of Council’s approved CPD providers

Providers interested in applying to be considered as a Council-approved CPD provider, will find the criteria and submission process set out in the Policy for approval of CPD providers.