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 College36,146 2-year, Public
City College of San Francisco34,868 2-year, Public
Palomar College26,805 2-year, Public
Pasadena City College26,713 2-year, Public
Sacramento City College26,128 2-year, Public
El Paso Community College25,818 2-year, Public
Orange Coast College24,742 2-year, Public
Cerritos College23,236 2-year, Public
San Diego Mesa College23,059 2-year, Public
San Antonio College21,766 2-year, Public
Diablo Valley College21,205 2-year, Public
Chaffey College20,304 2-year, Public
Foothill College19,485 2-year, Public
Modesto Junior College19,307 2-year, Public
Tulsa Community College18,325 2-year, Public
University of Alaska Anchorage16,649 4-year, Public
Brevard Community College15,607 2-year, Public
Grand Rapids Community College15,403 2-year, Public
Kirkwood Community College15,241 2-year, Public
Camden County College15,198 2-year, Public

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