Dental school students are often faced with the tough decision of choosing which program in orthodontics is right for them. To properly launch your future career, you must find the best major for orthodontist jobs. Your interests, the admission requirements, and the cost of attendance are all things that will help you know how to choose a major for orthodontists.
To learn what degree for orthodontists you should take, we walk you through various undergraduate degrees, provide information on dental school applications, and orthodontist careers outlooks.
Why Choose a Career as an Orthodontist
Orthodontists are dental professionals specializing in the correction of facial and dental irregularities, as well as dental health issues. They also collaborate with oral and maxillofacial surgeons to perform complex procedures such as jaw surgery. Orthodontics is a rewarding dental profession offering high-paying salaries and flexible work schedules.
Those graduating from an orthodontic program have the honor and pleasure of bringing a smile to their client’s face with a brand new set of healthy teeth. Oral health care goes a long way for someone’s self-esteem, and you get to be the one responsible for their joy.
Orthodontist Job Outlook
Orthodontics is a promising medical field to consider if you seek to join the dental practice. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment rate of Orthodontists will rise by eight percent from 2020 to 2030, adding 500 jobs to the field. Orthodontists are lifelong students as they seek effective medical processes for treating dental irregularities.
Orthodontist Job Satisfaction
Students should consider crucial factors like stress level, flexibility, and upward mobility when assessing the job satisfaction of orthodontists. Data from Statista shows orthodontists have a median annual net income of $249,410. A high salary and promising job outlook are two key factors in positive job satisfaction for many careers.
For orthodontists, the stress level tied to the work environment and job complexities is below average. Orthodontists are on the average job satisfaction level regarding opportunities for career advancement and salary increments. Additionally, the flexibility factor shoots above average, promoting better work-life balance and alternative work schedules.
Orthodontist Salary Potential
|Minimum Level of Education
|Orthodontic lab technician
How to Choose a Major to Work as an Orthodontist: Tips for Selecting the Right Orthodontics Degree
Tip 1: Identify your values, ability, and interest
Selecting the right major for a career as an orthodontist requires understanding your area of interest and ability. For instance, a dental school graduate who’s taken many courses in biology could easily specialize in bone biology.
Each program has its specific set of essential skills, such as critical thinking, dexterity, and knowledge of various life sciences. Identifying your core subjects of interest will propel you towards the best dental degrees for you in college and dental school. You can build on these skills further in an orthodontic residency program.
Tip 2: Research the prerequisite requirements
Generally, medical residency programs have specific requirements that students need to meet. An orthodontics specialty education requires completing a Doctor of Dental Medicine (DDM) or Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) program from a dental school.
Professional schools and dental programs need to be accredited by the American Dental Association (ADA), which indicates quality training. Your school may also request Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores.
Tip 3: Consider the career outlook
Like other professions, it’s essential to consider if your undergraduate major would be relevant in the years to come. Reviewing factors like career advancement, stress level, and job flexibility can improve your career choice.
By comparing the salaries, job opportunities, responsibilities, and work hours of different orthodontics majors, you get a better sense of your possible future work-life balance. To get the most out of any school of dentistry, you want to ensure a steady and balanced career.
Tip 4: Pick the right school
The school in which you choose to pursue a degree in orthodontics can impact your career in two ways. A college or dental school provides learning resources, coursework, and tutors that could determine the quality of your training.
While top schools might have expensive fees, their excellent reputation will improve your chances of successfully entering the field. If you graduate from a top-quality school, employers are more likely to have a positive impression when reviewing your resume.
Tip 5: Get support
You should consider external sources if you’re still unclear on the right path for you in orthodontics. Visit your college advisors and discuss how you can pick the best major for an orthodontist that aligns with your long-term goals. Their in-depth experience can set you on the right track.
It’s highly recommended to reach out to senior students or school of dentistry graduates. They are in the best position to offer useful tips to aid your decision based on their personal experiences. These students can give you advice on pre-dentistry studies, your dental school application, and tips for applying to grad school.
What Degree for Orthodontists: Best Majors for an Orthodontist Career
Orthodontic laboratory technician
An orthodontic laboratory technician fabricates dental braces, retainers, and other dental appliances for correcting teeth misalignment. They typically work with metallic or acrylic materials to design said appliances and construct them specifically for a patient’s dental care. The University of Maryland and New York University offer dental degree programs in this field.
Orthodontic lab technicians deploy technical skills such as hand-eye coordination and manual dexterity while carrying out their daily functions. They collaborate with orthodontists on dental procedures like gum grafting, sterilizing lab instruments, and placing patients on new appointments.
Associated Career Paths: Dental lab technician, clinical dental technician
Levels of Education: Bachelor’s degree, associate degree
Orthodontist assistants, also called orthodontic hygienists, help dentists improve a patient’s oral health using jaw expanders and brackets for dental and jaw alignment. As special aides, they assist orthodontists to provide dental care. They are responsible for storing and managing patients’ health records.
Orthodontic assistants require high-end communication and interpersonal skills to work with patients and other professionals. Concorde Career College is a popular institution for becoming an orthodontic assistant. Professional certificates in orthodontics like dental assistant (RDA) and Certified Orthodontic Assistant (COA) can greatly improve your career profile.
Associated Career Paths: Dental assistant, dental hygienist
Levels of Education: Bachelor’s degree, associate degree
Orthodontic therapists are dental professionals that give orthodontic treatment based on a dentist’s prescription. They pour and trim models, fit tooth separators, and advise patients for better dental and human health.
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Orthodontic therapists need cooperation and communication skills when interacting with patients and dentists. You can venture into orthodontic therapy at top institutions like Boston University, which offers undergraduate studies and other degree programs.
Associated Career Paths: Associate orthodontist, dentist orthodontist
Levels of Education: Bachelor’s degree
Pediatric orthodontists specifically deal with correcting teeth alignment problems for children between the ages of seven to 10. When working on children’s teeth in pediatric orthodontics, braces and Invisalign are some common treatment plans.
Some responsibilities of pediatric orthodontics are patient care, oral diagnosis, and front desk office management. University of Virginia and Howard are popular colleges for launching a pediatric orthodontics career.
Associated Career Paths: Pediatric dentist
Levels of Education: Bachelor’s degree, doctoral degree, master’s degree, and associate degree
Similar to the doctor-nurse professional collaboration, orthodontic nurses assist orthodontists in providing dental care to improve oral health. They set up the necessary tools for surgery and disinfect surfaces after dental procedures.
Orthodontic nurses help ease patients’ tension in preparation for dental surgeries, and they provide counseling and advice on a speedy recovery after surgery. Western Reserve University offers degree programs that can prepare you for a career as an orthodontic nurse.
Associated Career Paths: Dental nurse, orthodontic laboratory technician
Levels of Education: Associate degree, certificate
Other Orthodontist Related Majors
Although we’ve listed a few, there are several related orthodontist roles if you seek to become a dental professional.
- Pediatric dentist
- Restorative dentistry
- Oral surgeon
- Dental laboratory technician
- Oral surgeon
- Dental hygienist
Is a Career as an Orthodontist Right for Me?
Yes, a career as an orthodontist is right for you if you’re interested in the field of dentistry and helping people fix their smiles. With the high salary and positive job outlook, a career as an orthodontist is a good choice.
Best Major for Orthodontists FAQ
The educational requirements to become an orthodontist are completing high school, college, dental school, and dental residency programs. It’s essential to major in basic sciences like cell biology to prepare for further dental programs.
The best majors for dental school are biology and chemistry. Although, the alternative majors include math, engineering, and art history.
Math and science are the best subjects for orthodontists. It’s essential to have in-depth knowledge of these subjects if you aim to have a successful career, as it prepares you for your training in dental school.
Similar to an orthodontist, dentists major in natural and physical sciences like chemistry and biology. Generally, undergraduate students major in general sciences.
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