Degrees for Orthodontists

Learn about prerequisites for enrolling in an orthodontics education or training program, and explore the typical coursework. Find out the licensure requirements, job outlook and median salary for orthodontists. Schools offering Dental Assisting degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Types of Orthodontics Degrees Are There?

Orthodontics degrees are available as post-doctoral programs. Many grant a master's degree in orthodontics, oral and craniofacial sciences, medical sciences or oral biology. Some schools also offer doctoral orthodontics programs to students who want academic careers. These programs include additional research and thesis requirements. Due to the extensive clinical hours in both programs, you will not be able to complete an orthodontics degree online.

Types of Orthodontics Degrees Master's degree or doctoral programs
Program Prerequisites D.D.S. or D.D.M.
Program Curriculum Biomechanics, anatomy, tooth movement, biostatistics, facial development
Licensure National Board Dental Examination, American Board of Orthodontics
Job Outlook 18% growth between 2014 to 2024*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Are There Any Prerequisites?

You will need to have completed a Doctor of Dental Surgery (D.D.S.) or Doctor of Dental Medicine (D.D.M.) program accredited by the American Dental Association (ADA). You may also need to submit scores from the first part of the ADA's National Board Dental Examination. Some schools also require Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores.

What Courses Can I Expect to Take?

Orthodontics programs offer courses in oral biology, facial development, bone biology, anatomy, tooth movement, patient care and biostatistics. Biomechanics courses are included to help you learn how bone and teeth react to force. You can also study the differences between adult and pediatric tooth structure or learn how to keep track of patient development and predict treatment results.

Your program's clinical requirements will allow you to work with faculty members to diagnose and treat patients in need of corrective surgeries or preventative treatments. You may also learn how to create and apply corrective apparatuses.

What Can I Do After Graduating?

Once you graduate from an orthodontics program, you can apply for licensure from your state board of dentistry. Most states license orthodontists as dental specialists. To complete this process, you may need to submit dental school transcripts and passing scores on both parts of the National Board Dental Examination. You may also need to take a state specialty exam for orthodontists.

Other states may grant licenses to applicants certified by the American Board of Orthodontics (ABO). This process entails completing an ADA-accredited orthodontics program and passing the ABO's written and clinical exams. Once you're licensed, you can join an already established practice or start your own.

How Is the Job Outlook?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment opportunities for orthodontists were expected to grow 18% between 2014 and 2024 ( The mean annual salary for orthodontists was $221,390 as of May 2015.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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