Orthodontist Assistant Schooling Information

Orthodontist assistants, also known as dental assistants, must be certified to work in many states. The minimum educational requirement for certified dental assistants in states that require certification is an undergraduate certificate or diploma, but associate's degree programs are also available.

Whether or not an aspiring orthodontist assistant lives in a state that requires certification, formal education can provide valuable training and improve job prospects. Undergraduate certificate and associate's degree programs are commonly available at community colleges and technical schools.

10 Schools with Dental Assisting Programs

These schools have been accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA):

College/University Location Institution Type Programs Offered Tuition & Fees (2015-2016)*
University of Alaska Anchorage Anchorage, Alaska 4-year, public Certificate, Associate $5,545 In-state
$17,177 Out-of-state
City College of San Francisco San Francisco, California 2-year, public Certificate, Associate $1,598 In-state
$7,554 Out-of-state
Pikes Peak Community College Colorado Springs, Colorado 2-year, public Certificate, Associate $3,240 In-state
$12,538 Out-of-state
Eastern Florida State College Cocoa, Florida 4-year, public Diploma, Associate $2,496 In-state
$9,739 Out-of-state
Kirkwood Community College Cedar Rapids, Iowa 2-year, public Diploma, Associate $4,194 In-state
$5,034 Out-of-state
College of Western Idaho Nampa, Idaho 2-year, public Certificate, Associate $3,264 In-district
$4,264 In-state
$7,200 Out-of-state
Wichita Area Technical College Wichita, Kansas 2-year, public Certificate, Associate $7,317 In-state
$8,728 Out-of-state
Middlesex Community College Bedford, Massachusetts 2-year, public Certificate, Associate $4,514 In-state
$9,458 Out-of-state
Hennepin Technical College Brooklyn Park, Minnesota 2-year, public Diploma, Associate $5,159
Luzerne County Community College Nanticoke, Pennsylvania 2-year, public Certificate, Diploma $4,770 In-district
$8,700 In-state
$12,630 Out-of-state

Source: *NCES College Navigator

College Selection Criteria

Here are some important factors to consider when deciding upon a school include:

  • Students should ensure that the program has been accredited by CODA.
  • It is important to make sure that the program covers all of the educational requirements for certification in the state in which the student wishes to work.
  • Students may want to find out about the pass rates for graduates of the school on the National Dental Certification Exam.
  • Aspiring orthodontist assistants may want to find out if the school provides hands-on training opportunities in orthodontist offices.

Certificate/Diploma Programs

In certificate and diploma programs in dental assisting, students learn about basic dental treatment techniques, office procedures and safety measures. These programs are typically designed specifically to prepare students for the National Dental Assistant Certification Exam, which is required for practice in many states. In total, certificate programs usually take one year of full-time study to complete, although there are some single-semester programs as well.

Associate's Degree Programs

Associate's degree programs include the same technical training and exam preparation as certificate programs, but they also include general education requirements. Therefore, they take two years of full-time study to complete. Graduates are typically awarded an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree.

Many schools offer certificate, diploma and associate's degree programs in dental assisting for aspiring orthodontic assistants. Accreditation and exam preparation are both key factors to consider when choosing between schools.

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