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Purpose of ADA CERP

The ADA Continuing Education Recognition Program (CERP) was created to assist dental professionals in identifying and participating in quality continuing dental education. It is also a goal of the ADA CERP to promote continuous quality improvement of continuing dental education and to assist dental regulatory agencies to establish a sound basis for increasing their uniform acceptance of CE credits earned by dentists to meet the CE relicensure requirements currently mandated by the majority of licensing jurisdictions.

The ADA CERP evaluates and approves organizations and individuals that provide continuing dental education. It does not approve the specific courses and educational activities offered by those organizations, nor does it approve the credit hours that continuing education providers offer.

Specific objectives of the recognition program are:

  1. To improve the educational quality of continuing dental education programs through self-evaluation conducted by the CE program provider in relation to the ADA CERP standards and criteria for recognition, and/or through counsel and recommendations to CE providers from the ADA CERP Committee.
  2. To assure participants that recognized continuing education program providers have the organizational structure and resources necessary to provide CE activities of acceptable educational quality, i.e., activities that should assist the participant in providing an enhanced level of care to patients.
  3. To promote uniform standards for continuing dental education.
  4. To assist regulatory agencies and/or other organizations responsible for granting credit in identifying those continuing dental education providers whose activities are acceptable for credit toward licensure or membership requirements or voluntary recognition programs.

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ADA CERP Recognition Standards and Procedures

ADA CERP represents a mechanism for reviewing continuing education providers and recognizing those that demonstrate that they routinely meet certain basic standards of educational quality. ADA CERP Recognition Standards and Procedures (PDF) are the basis for evaluating the processes used by CE providers to design, plan, and implement continuing education programs.  

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Eligibility Requirements

The ADA CERP approves providers as defined in the Lexicon of Terms in ADA CERP Recognition Standards and Procedures (PDF). The ADA CERP recognizes providers of continuing education (CE), not individual courses.  Providers of continuing dental education must meet the following eligibility criteria to be considered for ADA CERP recognition.

  1. The CDE provider offers a planned program of continuing dental education activities consistent with the definition of continuing dental education provided in the Lexicon of Terms. The CDE provider must demonstrate oversight by an independent advisory committee. The provider must have offered a planned program of CDE activities for at least 12 months. 
  2. A CDE provider must ensure that all courses offered for continuing education credit have a sound scientific basis in order to adequately protect the public. ADA CERP reserves the right to require that the applicant provide documentation that courses offered by the provider have a sound scientific basis and proven efficacy in order to promote public safety.
  3. The CDE provider must demonstrate that it assumes the financial and administrative responsibility of planning, publicizing and offering the continuing education program consistent with the definition of provider in the Lexicon of Terms.
  4. The CDE provider must ensure that the educational methods are appropriate to the stated objectives for the activity and, when participation is involved, enrollment must be related to available resources to assure effective participation by enrollees.
  5. The CDE provider must ensure that the facilities selected for each activity are appropriate to accomplishing the educational method(s) being used and the stated educational objectives.
  6. CDE providers that are not based in the United States or Canada must meet the additional eligibility criteria and requirements outlined in the Pre-application Process for International Providers before they will be considered eligible to apply for recognition. 

Although ADA CERP may not directly benefit some smaller groups, such as local CE study clubs, such groups are encouraged to explore possible affiliation agreements with their local or state dental societies.

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Overview of Application and Recognition Process

The ADA CERP application process is based on an assessment of a continuing education provider’s compliance with the ADA CERP Recognition Standards and Procedures. The CERP application asks providers to assemble specific documentation of their policies and procedures and CE activities and to conduct a self-assessment of whether they meet the CERP Standards. This self-assessment is intended to be a tool to stimulate each organization’s growth as a provider of continuing dental education.  It is an opportunity to identify strengths and areas for improvement based upon defined descriptions of the CERP Standards.

Applications, including all documentation and the self-assessment, are submitted to the ADA CERP Committee, a standing committee of the Council on Dental Education and Licensure. The Committee conducts an independent review of each application and evaluates the provider’s self-assessment and supporting documentation to make an independent recommendation regarding accreditation. ADA CERP recognition is granted by the ADA Council on Dental Education and Licensure based on a provider’s demonstration of eligibility to apply and compliance with ADA CERP Recognition Standards and Procedures.

Applications for recognition are reviewed by the ADA CERP Committee twice a year in the spring and the fall. Deadlines for submitting applications are in January and June according to the published schedule.  Applicants receive a Decision Report informing them of the recognition decision approximately 5-½ months after submitting an application.

Recognized providers are awarded terms of recognition of two, three or four years, based on the level of compliance demonstrated and the complaint history of the provider. Terms of recognition are effective the first day of May or November.

If the ADA CERP Committee determines that more information is required to make a decision regarding recognition status, or the provider only minimally meets the standards and criteria, action to determine recognition status may be postponed definitely pending submission of additional information or a new application, or, recognition may be granted, contingent upon submission of a progress report within six months to one year.

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Information for New Applicants

CE providers in the United States and Canada that wish to apply for ADA CERP recognition should:

  1. Download the current edition of the ADA CERP Recognition Standards and Procedures (PDF).
  2. Review the ADA CERP eligibility requirements to determine if the organization is eligible to apply.
  3. Download the current ADA CERP Standard Application Form (DOCX) and Application Instructions (PDF) or request copies from staff.
  4. Review the application and instructions carefully to determine whether all required documentation is available to demonstrate compliance with the 14 areas outlined in the ADA CERP Recognition Standards.  Applications will be evaluated based on documented compliance with the eligibility requirements and Recognition Standards & Procedures.
  5. Complete all sections of the application form and assemble samples of the required documentation.
  6. Submit three typed, tabbed, and bound copies of the completed ADA CERP Application for Recognition and all required documentation by the specified deadline. Applications that are not typed or that are submitted on obsolete forms cannot be accepted.
  7. An application fee of $735 is required for new applications.
  8. Applications submitted by the deadline will be reviewed by the ADA CERP Committee, a standing committee of the Council on Dental Education and Licensure, at the Committee’s next regularly scheduled meeting. Providers will be notified of the recognition decision according to the published schedule (see below).

CE providers that are not eligible for ADA CERP recognition, or that may not  be able to demonstrate compliance with the Standards, may wish to consider partnering with an ADA CERP recognized provider to offer CE credits for jointly planned activities.

International providers, CE providers that are based outside the United States or Canada, must meet specific eligibility criteria and complete a pre-application process before submitting an application for initial recognition. See the Information for International Providers below.

Information for International Providers

Continuing dental education providers whose primary location is outside the United States or Canada (international providers) that are interested in participating in ADA CERP must meet additional eligibility criteria outlined in the CERP Policy on the Pre-application Process for International Providers (PPIP) (PDF). An international provider wishing to apply for CERP recognition must first submit a Pre-application Survey (DOCX). If the provider demonstrates that it meets the requirements outlined in PPIP, it will be invited to submit a Standard Application for ADA CERP recognition.  International providers must also complete an ADA CERP training session before recognition will be granted.

Pre-application Surveys may be submitted at any time. Eligible providers will be invited to submit an application according to published application deadlines. Providers must complete all PPIP requirements within 18 months of notification of eligibility.

Interested providers should review the complete CERP PPIP Policy (PDF), the Pre-application Survey (DOCX) and the fee schedule for international providers (PDF).

Initial Recognition

New applicants will be eligible for an Initial Recognition period of two years. If approved, providers will be eligible to apply for continued recognition at the end of the Initial Recognition term.

If recognition is granted, the provider will be supplied with the following information:

a. The effective dates of the recognition term;
b. The authorized statement that must be used to announce or publicize ADA CERP recognition;
c. Responsibilities and procedures for documenting participation in CE activities;
d. Procedures regarding expiration of recognition and reapplication;
e. A Decision Report outlining requirements and recommendations for improvements in the provider's CE program.

Recognition is effective the first day of the month of May or November after action is taken by the ADA CERP Committee. In no case will recognition be granted retroactively or prior to action taken by the Committee.

Recognition may be contingent on the submission of one or more progress reports at specified intervals. The ADA CERP Committee reserves the right to reevaluate a provider at any time by surveying participants in the provider's CE activities, by reviewing activities in person, or by requiring additional information concerning the provider and/or its activities.

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Continued Recognition

ADA CERP recognized providers that wish to be considered for another term of recognition must submit an application for continued recognition and a reapplication fee by the established deadline prior to the expiration date of the provider’s current term of recognition.  Recognized providers will receive instructions and application materials for continued recognition approximately 12 months before the end of their current term of recognition.  Providers will have approximately 6 months to prepare the application before the submission deadline.

The ADA CERP standards and criteria are subject to review and modification from time to time by the ADA at its discretion. To retain recognition, continuing dental education providers must comply with ADA CERP standards and criteria as modified.

If approved, recognition terms of two, three or four years will be awarded based on the provider’s level of compliance with the Recognition Standards and the complaint history of the provider.

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Abbreviated Application for Continued Recognition

ADA CERP recognized providers that receive a term of recognition of three or four years after submitting a Standard Application at the time of their last comprehensive review, will be eligible to complete an Abbreviated Application for Continued Recognition as long as the ADA CERP Committee has not received any substantiated complaints about the program or the Committee has not identified the need for additional information as a result of a substantive change to the program.  The Abbreviated Application contains fewer questions than the Standard Application.

Providers completing the Abbreviated Application in one review cycle must complete the Standard Application at the time of their next review. If the provider receives a three or four year term of recognition after submitting the Standard Application, they will once again be eligible to complete an Abbreviated Application.

Providers eligible to complete the Abbreviated Application will be notified by ADA CERP.

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Standard Application for Continued Recognition

Providers that submitted an Abbreviated Application at the time of their last review, or received a 2-year term of recognition, must complete the Standard Application for Recognition. Providers will receive application materials for continued recognition approximately 12 months prior to the end of the current recognition term, or may download the current ADA CERP Standard Application for Recognition (DOCX).

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Deadlines for Submitting Applications

Applications for recognition and continued recognition are accepted and reviewed by the ADA CERP Committee twice a year. Important dates for the 2014 review cycle are listed in the table below.

Activity Spring 2014 Review cycle  fall 2014 Review Cycle 
Application deadline  January 3, 2014 June 27, 2014
ADA CERP Committee meeting March 27-28, 2014  September 11-12, 2014
Decision reports sent to applicants  May 2014 November 2014
New recognition term begins  May 2014 November 2014

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All ADA CERP-recognized providers are required to pay an annual fee, as well as an application fee. ADA CERP fees are based on the operating expenses of the program.

The non-refundable application/re-application fee must be paid when the application form for initial recognition or continued recognition is submitted. ADA CERP-recognized providers are billed for the annual fee when the review process is completed and recognition has been awarded. The annual fee will subsequently be due at 12-month intervals.

All ADA CERP recognized providers must also submit an annual report with current contact information and basic data about the number of CE activities offered in the previous year.

Failure to submit an annual report and/or non-payment of required fees within the established deadlines will be viewed as a decision by the ADA CERP-recognized provider to voluntarily withdraw from the program.  Any provider wishing to reinstate its recognition following discontinuation for non-payment of fees will be required to submit an ADA CERP Application and follow the established procedures for recognition.

Providers in the U.S. and Canada

Fee type 2014
Application for recognition—new  $735
Application for continued recognition  $610
Annual fee  $390
Extension fee  $295
Reconsideration/appeal fee  $735

Fees for International Providers (PDF)

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