Orthodontists: Job Information and Requirements for Becoming an Orthodontist
Orthodontists are dentists who specialize in the treatment and prevention of dental irregularities through methods including the application of dental braces. Like other dental specialists such as dental surgeons and prosthodontists, prospective Orthodontists must complete several years of specialized postgraduate education in addition to earning a bachelor's degree.
Orthodontist Career Definition
Orthodontists generally work with the help of an orthodontic assistant to analyze and solve the dental problems of their patients. They see patients regularly as treatment such as braces is applied. Daily work may include tasks such as evaluating the needs of new patients, creating a mold of teeth in order to design and fit orthodontic appliances, checking on the progress of individual patients and providing instructions to orthodontic assistants. After receiving the proper education and certification, an Orthodontist may choose to open his or her own practice or join an established practice.
How to Become an Orthodontist
Required Education for a Career as an Orthodontist
Orthodontists are required to hold a bachelor's degree, graduate from an accredited 4-year dental school and receive an additional three years of specialized Orthodontic training upon completion of dental school. Orthodontists will generally need to be licensed by a state licensing board in order to practice legally and may receive additional certification from the American Dental Association and the American Board of Orthodontists.
Skills Required for a Career in Orthodontics
According to O*Net, the most important aspect of practicing Orthodontics is in-depth dental and medical knowledge, which is acquired primarily through academic study and hands-on practice while in dental and orthodontic school (www.onetcenter.org). Orthodontists also need to be able to pay close attention to detail, operate advanced technological tools, work well with their hands and communicate clearly with assistants and patients, including children and adolescents.
Career and Economic Outlook for Orthodontics
The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that while income depends on experience and location, Orthodontists earned an average annual salary of $194,930 as of May 2008 (www.bls.gov). Employment prospects for Orthodontists should remain favorable in the near future, with O*Net forecasting future growth of about 7% - 13% through 2016 (www.onetcenter.org).
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