Orthodontist Degree Program Information
Orthodontists are dentists who are specially trained to prevent and treat dental irregularities. This often includes straightening teeth and correcting bite issues with retainers and braces. Aspiring orthodontists must complete Doctor of Dental Surgery (D.D.S.) or Doctor of Dental Medicine (D.M.D.) programs, as well as additional training commonly leading to a Master of Science in Orthodontics. Read on to learn about these degree programs, including prerequisites and curriculum.
It takes six or more years of post-bachelor's degree training to become an orthodontist. After earning a bachelor's degree, aspiring orthodontists must learn the basics of the field and gain hands-on experience in dental school. Then, they must earn master's degrees in orthodontics through programs that combine classroom work, labs and clinical experience. In every state, they are required to obtain both a dental license and a license to practice orthodontics. Most orthodontists also seek board certification as well.
Doctor of Dental Surgery or Doctor of Dental Medicine
Dental training programs awarding the D.D.S. or D.M.D. are similar in content, and both prepare students for professional dental practice. Dental students are provided with a comprehensive education in the social, basic and clinical sciences.
Prior to starting dental school, students must complete a bachelor's degree program and pass the Dental Admission Test. Admissions in this field can be highly competitive. Coursework in biology, chemistry, physics and biochemistry are usually required; additional coursework in microbiology, anatomy and physiology, genetics and cell biology are recommended. Most programs also require criminal background checks to determine eligibility for future licensure.
The first two years of a D.D.S. or D.M.D. program focus on general science coursework, while the final two years are made up of clinical rotations. Specific course topics might include:
- Oral anatomy
- Pain control
Master of Science in Orthodontics
Dentists seeking to specialize in the field of orthodontics should pursue a 2- to 3-year training program following completion of their dental degrees. Such programs commonly lead to a master's degree.
Applicants to graduate programs in orthodontics must have a D.D.S. or D.M.D. Admissions officers generally consider a student's recommendation from his or her dental school, grade point average and a personal interview.
Orthodontics students typically enroll in classroom coursework and clinical rotations simultaneously. Didactic topics might include the following:
- Principles of orthodontics
- Orthodontic techniques
- Management of craniofacial anomalies
- Materials science
- Oral histology and pathology
- Research methods
Career Outlook and Salary Info
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment growth for those in the orthodontics profession was expected to grow at a rate of 21% during the 2010-2020 decade. This rate was faster than the average for all occupations and equal to those practicing general dentistry. The increase was expected due to demand for dental work and increased availability of dental insurance.
Orthodontist salaries, while generally high, vary by location of practice. For example, the BLS reported that as of May 2012, orthodontists in Illinois made an average salary of $106,150. The national mean wage for orthodontists in 2012 was $186,320.
Each state maintains its own licensing requirements for orthodontic professionals, but most require completion of 1-3 years of residency training to meet eligibility requirements for licensure. State licensure is separate from board certification processes, which are specialty-specific. Board certification for orthodontists is administered by the American Board of Orthodontics.
Related to Orthodontist Degree Program Information
- Recently Updated
Orthodontists are dentists who specialize in the treatment and prevention of dental irregularities, usually through the...
Orthodontist assistants are part of a rapidly growing industry. These professionals often obtain education through dental...
Clinical sociologists develop and apply techniques to change human behavior, usually in a group setting. Rather than just...
Find out which top schools offer formal training in alternative and complementary medicine. Learn about the program options at...
- Dental Technician Education Requirements
- Hygienist: Becoming a Dental Hygienist
- Dental Hygienist: Dental Hygiene Career Education Overview
- Orthodontist Classes, Courses and Continuing Education Programs
- Histotechnologist Classes and Certification Information
- Team Building Courses and Classes Overview
- Calculus Courses and Classes Overview
- Clinical Pharmacologist: Job Description, Duties and Salary
- Thoracic Medicine Specialist: Job Description, Duties and Requirements
- Classes for Aspiring Addictions Workers: Class and Course Overviews
- Financial Accounting Courses and Classes Overview
- List of the Top Marine Mechanic Schools in the U.S.