Orthodontic Assistant Schools and Colleges in the U.S.
Orthodontic assistants support orthodontists in administrative and clinical procedures. Orthodontic assistants can begin their careers with training in dental assisting through an accredited certificate or degree program. Graduates qualify to work as dental assistants and orthodontic assistants in a variety of settings, including dental clinics, hospitals, armed forces dental facilities and general and specialty clinics.
How to Select an Orthodontic Assistant School
Educational programs can prepare orthodontic assistants for state and national certification exams. When not required for state licensure, these certification exams may help make orthodontic assistants more marketable when looking for work. Students looking for an orthodontic assistant school may want to prioritize schools that prepare students for certification exams. Orthodontic assistants can be certified through exams administered by the National Board of Orthodontics (www.nbous.org), which administers the Certified Orthodontic Dental Assistant (CODA) exam, and the Dental Assisting National Board (www.danb.org), which administers the Certified Orthodontic Assistant (COA) exam.
Another factor to consider when selecting an orthodontic assistant school is the range of orthodontic education offered by the school. Specialized degree programs in orthodontic assisting are less common than programs in dental assisting, which cover competencies needed by both dental and orthodontic assistants. In addition to standard dental assisting topics like dental anatomy, dental pathology, clinical dental practice and dental equipment, aspiring orthodontic assistants may want to look for programs that cover orthodontic equipment and techniques as well. Prospective orthodontic assistant students may also prioritize programs that offer certifications in relevant areas like a radiology occupation skills certificate or a pit and fissure occupational skills certificate.
Because orthodontic assisting work generally involves hands-on time interacting with patients, students looking for an orthodontic assistant school may want to consider the amount of practical experience they will gain from the program. Lab-based coursework and internships are two common approaches to gaining hands-on experience, and students may want to attend a school that offers both opportunities. In some cases, students might get course credit for internships or off-campus orthodontic assisting work, which may be appealing to students looking to build their resumes while in school.
Largest Colleges by Student Enrollment
|College/University||Student Population||Institution Type|
|Riverside Community College||36,146||2-year, Public|
|City College of San Francisco||34,868||2-year, Public|
|Palomar College||26,805||2-year, Public|
|Pasadena City College||26,713||2-year, Public|
|Sacramento City College||26,128||2-year, Public|
|El Paso Community College||25,818||2-year, Public|
|Orange Coast College||24,742||2-year, Public|
|Cerritos College||23,236||2-year, Public|
|San Diego Mesa College||23,059||2-year, Public|
|San Antonio College||21,766||2-year, Public|
|Diablo Valley College||21,205||2-year, Public|
|Chaffey College||20,304||2-year, Public|
|Foothill College||19,485||2-year, Public|
|Modesto Junior College||19,307||2-year, Public|
|Tulsa Community College||18,325||2-year, Public|
|University of Alaska Anchorage||16,649||4-year, Public|
|Brevard Community College||15,607||2-year, Public|
|Grand Rapids Community College||15,403||2-year, Public|
|Kirkwood Community College||15,241||2-year, Public|
|Camden County College||15,198||2-year, Public|
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