Education Portal is now Study.com! We still offer the same great content and features, with more added every day, just under a new name. Learn more x

Orthodontist: Career Profile

Working as an orthodontist requires significant formal education. Learn about the education, job duties and licensure to see if this is the right career for you.

View 19 Popular Schools »

Essential Information

Orthodontists are dentists who specialize in diagnosing dental abnormalities and realigning teeth. After earning an undergraduate degree in order to gain admission to a dental school, prospective orthodontists must earn a professional degree in dentistry. After completing dental school, aspiring orthodontists pursue a post-degree training program or a 1-2-year residency in orthodontics. All orthodontists must be licensed to practice.

Required Education Undergraduate degree; Doctor of Dental Science degree via the completion of four years of study at an accredited dental school; orthodontics residency
Licensing and Certification Licensing is required in all states; board certification in orthodontics may be required
Projected Job Growth (2012-2022) 16%*
Mean Salary (2013) $196,270*

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Profile for an Orthodontist

While some general dentists may perform orthodontic services for their patients, the majority will refer them to an orthodontist. Orthodontists work with patients to improve the functioning of their jaws and teeth, achieve their desired dental appearance and increase overall self-confidence. Orthodontists examine patients, dental records and X-rays to determine alignment and occlusion issues. They consult with patients to determine the best treatment plans and fit patients with braces, retainers and other dental appliances.

Required Education

In order to become an orthodontist, students need to complete four years of dental school. Coursework in dental school includes anatomy, physiology and microbiology, as well as classes that apply more specifically to orthodontics, such as dental anatomy and occlusion, pediatric dentistry and dental materials. Dental students learn in traditional classroom settings but are also required to gain practical experience treating patients in clinics during their last two years of study.

Licensure Requirements

In order to practice, all orthodontists must be licensed by their state. To receive a dental license, candidates must graduate from an accredited dental school, successfully complete the written National Board Dental Examinations and pass state clinical tests.

Certification Information

After becoming a licensed dentist, aspiring orthodontists may choose to be certified by the American Board of Orthodontics (www.americanboardortho.com). Board certification may help practitioners demonstrate their expertise in orthodontics to patients and peers. In order to become certified, candidates must pass both written and clinical exams after completing an orthodontics residency. To keep their credentials current, certified orthodontist must be recertified every ten years.

Career Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projected that job opportunities for orthodontists would increase 16% between 2012 and 2022 (www.bls.gov). This increase may be due to the growing number of people needing basic and advanced dental services. The BLS noted that orthodontists earned average annual salaries of $196,270 as of May 2013.

Show me popular schools

Related to Orthodontist: Career Profile

  • Related
  • Recently Updated
  • Popular
Orthodontists: Job Information & Career Requirements

Orthodontists are dentists who specialize in the treatment and prevention of dental irregularities, usually through the...

Orthodontist Assistant: Career Profile

Orthodontist assistants are part of a rapidly growing industry. These professionals often obtain education through dental...

Orthodontic Assistant Career Info

Learn about the work responsibilities of an orthodontal assistant. Discover what education is required as well as salary and...

Orthodontist Classes, Courses and Continuing Education Programs

Orthodontics is a specialized branch of dentistry that strives to align the teeth, jaw and lips to improve a patient's...

Orthodontist Tech Career Profile

Popular Schools

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be a high school graduate or have completed GED
    School locations:
    • Online Learning

    What is your highest level of education?

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Applicants must have completed 12 college credits
    School locations:
    • Online Learning
    • California (19 campuses)
    • Washington (1)

    Online and Classroom-Based Programs

    • Non-Degree
        • Certificate - Health Administration

    What is your highest level of education?

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be a high school graduate or have completed GED
    School locations:
    • Online Learning

    Online Programs

    What is your highest level of education?

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be a high school graduate or have completed GED
    School locations:
    • Online Learning

    What is your highest level of education completed?

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must complete an application online and submit transcripts for their highest degree earned.
    School locations:
    • Online Learning

    Online Programs

    What is your highest level of education?

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must live within close proximity to school locations
    • Must be graduated from high school by 2011
    School locations:
    • Florida (1 campus)
    • Texas (2 campuses)

    Classroom-Based Programs

    What is your highest level of education?

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be a high school graduate or have completed GED
    School locations:
    • Online Learning
    • Arizona (2 campuses)
    • California (5)
    • Colorado (1)
    • Florida (1)
    • Georgia (1)
    • Hawaii (1)
    • Texas (2)

    Online and Classroom-Based Programs

    Do you prefer online or campus based learning?

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be a high school graduate or have completed GED
    • Eligibility and relevancy of sample programs below will vary by article and program
    School locations:
    • Online Learning
    • Arizona (3 campuses)
    • California (15)
    • Colorado (3)
    • Florida (5)
    • Georgia (5)
    • Illinois (7)
    • Indiana (2)
    • Michigan (1)
    • Minnesota (1)
    • Missouri (2)
    • North Carolina (2)
    • New Jersey (2)
    • Nevada (1)
    • New York (2)
    • Ohio (4)
    • Oklahoma (1)
    • Oregon (1)
    • Pennsylvania (4)
    • Tennessee (2)
    • Texas (6)
    • Utah (1)
    • Virginia (3)
    • Washington (2)
    • Wisconsin (1)

    Online and Classroom-Based Programs

    What is your classroom preference?

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be a high school graduate or have completed GED
    School locations:
    • Online Learning

    Online Programs

    • Master
        • Master of Business Administration - Healthcare

    What is your highest level of education?

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be at least 16 years old and have a high school diploma or GED.
    School locations:
    • Online Learning

    Online Programs

    • Master
        • MBA --Healthcare Management

    What is your highest level of education?

Popular Schools

Avg. Wages For Related Jobs

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics