How to Become an Orthodontist

An orthodontist fixes misaligned teeth so that patients aren't embarrassed to smile and can eat and talk without difficulty. Would you like to train for a career as an orthodontist? Keep reading to learn how to become an orthodontist.

  1. Earn a bachelor's degree at a college or university. Some dental schools accept undergraduates without a bachelor's degree, provided they've studied in a pre-dental program for at least two years.
  2. Take the Dental Admissions Test (DAT), which is given by the American Dental Association [source: Dental School Requirements]. Send your scores to accredited dental schools, and apply to study there.
  3. Study for a doctorate degree at an accredited dental school. The two relevant degrees are: Doctor of Dental Medicine (DDM) and Doctor of Dental Surgery (DOS). The coursework generally takes four years to complete [Orthodontist Training].
  4. Seek volunteer or temporary work while taking your coursework. This will help you gain some field experience.
  5. Sign up for an accredited orthodontist specialty program after finishing dental school. There are 67 such programs in the United States and Canada. This program can take from two to three years to complete.
  6. Apply for a state-required license after completing the orthodontist program. You'll need to pass a written and practical exam to receive the license.
  7. Consider becoming a certified orthodontist. Contact the American Board of Orthodontics (ABO) to apply. This is purely voluntary.
  8. Seek employment at a reputable dental clinic or private practice. Eventually you may consider starting your own business.