In orthodontic assistant certificate programs, students learn about applications and equipment in the field and how to administer care to patients, and serve dentists and orthodontists.
In specialized orthodontic assistant certificate programs, students concentrate on tooth and jaw alignment and on-bite problems. Curriculum covers dentistry and orthodontia terms and the use of orthodontic braces, brackets, dental cements and wires. Students also gain skills in patient interaction, data management and billing. In a clinical practicum, pupils have the opportunity to practice treatment techniques on models called typodonts before working with patients.
As dental assistant training programs that include orthodontics are more common, these programs are sparingly offered. They usually take 1 year to a year and a half to complete and require a dental assistant certificate or degree, previous courses in composition and psychology and a current cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) designation for admission. Bachelor's and master's degrees are also available in addition to certificates.
Orthodontic Assistant Certificate
Orthodontic assistant certificate program lectures discuss a wide-range of topics related to both dental science and business including:
- Oral anatomy and pathology
- Dental devices
- Medical software
- Office administration
- Clinical procedures
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicted an employment growth rate of 18% for dentists, a category which includes orthodontists, over the years 2014-2024. According to PayScale.com, orthodontic assistants earned a median wage of $31,275 as of May 2015.
Continuing Education Information
Master's degrees in orthodontia are available for those who want to become licensed orthodontists. However, students have to earn a D.D.S. degree before they may enroll in a program. Certification is available from the Dental Assisting National Board, which requires passing an examination. The DANB exam consists of 310 multiple choice questions on orthodontic assisting and infection control.
Individuals interested in becoming orthodontist techs can attend a certificate program that provide a combination of coursework and hands-on experience. Additional degrees may be required for more advanced positions in the field.