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Educational Requirements to Become an Orthodontist

Indrajit Deshmukh
The education of an orthodontist lasts for 4 years and you are eligible to enroll for the program after successfully completing a bachelor's degree.
Orthodontists are dentists who specialize in dealing with crooked or out-of-sync teeth with the help of braces and other dental prosthetics. The first step is clearing the Dental Admission Test (DAT). There are different specialties that fall under the dentistry sector, like periodontics, oral pathology, maxillofacial surgery, orthodontics, etc.
Students who opt for orthodontics will primarily deal with the aesthetic part of dentistry. Individuals who go on to successfully complete their studies and get certification for practice have successful careers. The salary ranges anywhere between USD 72,000 to USD 208,000 annually, making it a very lucrative career option.

Educational Requirements

This is a specialized branch of dentistry and requires extensive training, as it deals with improving the facial appearance of clients. To get into dental school, aspiring candidates will need to have a bachelor's degree. However, nowadays, some schools also accept candidates with a two year undergraduate program. Aspiring students will need to have taken courses in the sciences, including chemistry, physics, and biology.
To get into a dentist school is not an easy task. Students will have to study hard to crack the Dental Admission Test (DAT). There are about 57 accredited dental schools in the United States and there is tough competition to get into them. Candidates will not only be judged on the basis of their DAT scores, but will also have to go through personal interviews.
Dental school duration is 4 years and students undergo classroom training, as well as laboratory training. Training covers different aspects of medicine, from anatomy to pharmacology. Last two years of the coursework involves working under clinical settings, under the supervision of licensed dentists. This practical training will help students hone their skills.
It is a special segment of dentistry. Aspirants need to complete a master's degree program. Students opting for specialization in orthodontics will have to enroll for post doctorate programs which last for 2-3 years.
The coursework will involve the study of maxillofacial deformities, treatment plans, orthodontic surgery, use of imaging, and morphing programs, etc. The cost of schooling can range around USD 74,000 to USD 300,000, depending on the school you enroll for.
In United States, you require a license to practice as an orthodontist and candidates must pass the National Board Dental Examination. Additional certification can also be obtained from the National Board of Orthodontics or the American Board of Orthodontics. Some states require individuals to have these certifications, in order to practice. Continuing education is one of the parameters for renewal of these certifications.
To become an orthodontist assistant, you will at least need a high school degree and will have to enroll in a training program. Many community colleges and schools offer two year programs. Students will be taught dental terminology, information on dental practices, insurance billing, etc. Orthodontic assistants will have to perform duties like communicating with patients, preparing them for treatment, taking measurements, and making molds.
Orthodontist assistants also have to acquire certification, in order to practice. The Dental Assistant National Board (DANB) is the premier organization for certification. Different states have varied certification needs and it is advisable to check with the local State Board of Dentistry for information about this. The salary is quite remunerative. National averages stand at around USD 49,000 annually.
The job description involves dealing with clients and hence having good communication skills will prove advantageous. Orthodontist schooling will prepare individuals to take on challenges faced during orthodontic treatment of teeth irregularity, jaw problems, and dentures.