Certified Orthodontic Assistant Schools

Learn what qualifications you need to become a certified orthodontic assistant. Read about the various programs you could follow to prepare for certification and get to know the various pathways to qualify for the certification exam. Schools offering Dental Assisting degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Some dental assistants go on to specialize in several fields of dentistry, and one of these is orthodontics. Read on to see what you need to do to become a certified orthodontic assistant.

What Qualifications Do I Need to Become a Certified Orthodontic Assistant?

To become a certified orthodontic assistant, you have to pass an exam that is administered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB). There are several pathways to fulfill the eligibility requirements for the exam, but they all include certification as either a dental assistant or a dentist.

One of the pathways requires you to complete a preparation course in orthodontic assisting at a school that is accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA). This can be done as a standalone program after you've done a dental assistant program. Some dental assistant programs also offer orthodontic assisting as an integral part of the curriculum to prepare their students for the orthodontic assistant certification exam.

See the certification section below for more details on taking DANB's orthodontic assistant exam.

What Will I Learn in My Orthodontic Assistant Program?

You will learn about the sizing, fitting and cementing of orthodontic bands, as well as removing the bands and any excess cement from the patient's teeth. The placing and ligating of arch-wires are also covered.

The program should also cover how to prepare the patient's teeth for bonding, as well as how to apply orthodontic brackets to the teeth. You will learn how to remove orthodontic brackets.

Which Schools Offer Orthodontic Assistant Programs?

The following schools either have a complete dental assistant program that includes orthodontics or offer a special course in orthodontic assistance for current certified dental assistants, both of which will prepare you for the DANB exam to become a certified orthodontic assistant. All of these schools are accredited by CODA.

  • Loma Linda University, in California, has a permit program in orthodontic assisting for current registered dental assistants or dental assistants who have been working as one for at least six months.
  • Cerritos College, in Norwalk, California, offers an orthodontic assistant course for the graduates of its dental assistant program.
  • South Florida State College, in Avon Park, has a certificate in dental assisting that leads to certification as an orthodontic assistant.
  • Lane Community College, in Eugene, Oregon, has a nine-month certificate program in dental assisting that prepares the student to sit for all Expanded Function Dental Assistant certificate exams in Oregon, including orthodontics.

How Do I Get Certified as an Orthodontic Assistant?

After you've done your orthodontic assistant program, you will also need to meet the following requirements to be allowed to take the DANB certification exam: You must have a current certification as a dental assistant from DANB and you must have a current certificate in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) from a provider that is accepted by DANB.

Pathways to taking the DANB certification exam that don't involve going through an orthodontic assistant program include having worked at least 3,500 hours as a dental assistant or being a dentistry graduate. In both cases, you will also need the CPR certificate.

What Will My Career Prospects Be as a Certified Orthodontic Assistant?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the need for dental care is due to increase because of an aging population and the fact that people tend to keep more of their teeth than was the case with previous generations. Therefore, dental assistant roles, including orthodontic roles, are expected to increase by 19% between 2016 and 2026, which is higher than the average expected job growth of 7% during this period.

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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