Want to know how to be an orthodontist? You have come to the right place. The field of orthodontia is challenging, rewarding, and lucrative. It doesn’t come easy, though, and you should be prepared for several years of hard, tiring work in order to become an orthodontist.
Much like becoming a doctor, becoming an orthodontist requires a doctorate and certification test. For more details about how to become an orthodontist, read below.
What Is An Orthodontist?
Before you read about how to be an orthodontist, it would be helpful to know what an orthodontist does. Simply speaking, an orthodontist is a dentist the straightens crooked teeth and misaligned jaws. An orthodontist is who is seen when someone needs braces.
Obtain Your Undergraduate Degree
The first step toward learning how to be an orthodontist is to go to college and get your undergraduate degree. You should focus on science classes such as biology, chemistry, and physics. A high GPA certainly helps when you are applying to dental schools. Dental school admissions departments look at all sorts of things when determining who to accept, and the GPA is important to them.
While you are getting your undergraduate degree, it is also helpful to find things outside of school that will show that you are a well rounded person. Find ways to volunteer. Find a part-time job in the dentistry field.
Dental Aptitude Test (DAT)
Similar to the MCAT for medical schools, the DAT is an entrance exam for dental schools. You will take this during your undergraduate career, and dental schools will use your score to help them during the admissions process. It is a very important test.
Search around for study courses and books that will help you do the very best you can on the DAT. Talk to friends that have taken the exam, and see what worked for them.
You can’t learn how to be an orthodontist without being prepared for dental school. Before you are trained in orthodontia you will learn how to be a dentist. Eventually you will earn your Doctorate in Dental Medicine or Dental Surgery.
From there you will go to an orthodontic specialties program, which you have to apply and be accepted to. Some schools require a separate specialization degree to be accepted into their orthodontic specialties program. The program will take 2-3 years to complete.
One you have successfully completed dental school and the orthodontic specialties program, your next step is to take the certification test so that you will be allowed to practice orthodontia.
The certification test is different in each state is different so check with the state where you plan to practice to get their specific requirements.
Find a Mentor
Being successful in any field is helped when you find a good mentor, and learning how to be an orthodontist is no different. A mentor can show your the ropes, and can be a sounding board when you are feeling frustrated.
A mentor also will have connections that help you with jobs and other networking opportunities.
How To Be An Orthodontist?
An career as an orthodontist can be a lot of fun. You get to meet new people every day, and you get to help people feel better about themselves. It is not an easy road to travel, but learning how to be an orthodontist, and then actually becoming an orthodontist is well worth the effort!