Date of Award

Spring 1998

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Dental Hygiene

Committee Director

Evelyn M. Thomson-Lakey

Committee Member

Michele L. Darby

Committee Member

Shirley P. Glover

Committee Member

Stacey B. Plichta


The purpose of this investigation was to assess the factors deemed important by dental hygienists in their selection of continuing education courses prior to and after the initiation of mandatory continuing education in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Under mandatory continuing education, dental hygiene educators must be able to plan continuing education courses that meet the needs of potential participants.

Results indicate that relative to each other, the 15 factors within this study, ranked in a hierarchy of importance in continuing education course selection by dental hygienists. Mandatory requirement for relicensure and course time ranked higher and course presenter and cost ranked lower in importance following the initiation of mandatory continuing education. Following analysis with McNemar's test, there was statistically significant evidence (p $\le$.05) that, after the initiation of mandatory continuing education, factors of professional improvement and development, cost, course time, job security, requirement of employer, and location were deemed important by more dental hygienists in continuing education course selection. Dental hygienists were found to earn significantly more continuing education units annually and perceive that there are more continuing education course topic choices available to them now that continuing education is mandatory. Results also indicated that there has been no change in how dental hygienists feel toward continuing education now that it is mandatory; dental hygienists express positive feelings toward continuing education.