Choosing a career is a big commitment. For some, the choice is simple but for others, it means researching several career options and then choosing the right one for themselves. No matter which type of person you are, you should make your career choice carefully.
There are thousands of options out there but if you like biology, you should consider a career in dentistry. Be warned though, becoming a dentist and then specializing in orthodontia is a huge commitment. You will have to study and invest a lot of time and money in this career option.
So with no further ado, here is a short guide to how and why you should become an orthodontist.
An orthodontist salary is definitely more than a dentist salary. Orthodontia is a specialization of dentistry and most orthodontists specialize in orthodontic surgery. According to Payscale, an orthodontist salary range is roughly the same as an oral surgeon salary.
On an average, an orthodontist can easily earn about $162,000 per year. In case you study more, the average salary range will increase from $81,540 – $260,419. On the other hand, it is definitely double the orthodontist assistant salary or a pharmacist salary.
Requirements for Becoming an Orthodontist
Being an orthodontist takes a unique combination of skills and talents. If you still want to become an orthodontist, here are a few skills that you should have:
• Enjoy working with your hands – Orthodontists work a lot in a patients mouth and a little artistic skill is necessary
• Interest in biology and science — In order to become an orthodontist, you will have to study biology as a basic science and then continue studying as a dentist. A basic interest in biology and science is mandatory.
• Patience — Orthodontic treatment takes a long time to complete. Most orthodontists have the same patients for a year or two and they work on the same patients for an extended period of time. It would help if you have a high threshold of patience.
• Leadership and Organization Skills — Most orthodontists work in their own clinic and they also travel or consult at other dental clinics as well. As a result, they do require leadership and organizational skills to keep their practice and patient records in careful order.
• Physical Stamina — Organizing a practice and working on patients requires a lot of hard work and stamina. As a result, you will require a lot of stamina and energy to keep you with a hectic work day.
Working as an orthodontist is quite strenuous but if you have the patience and the skills, you can easily become a very successful dentist in your community.
You have to prepare for a career in orthodontics by first studying to be a dentist. Orthodontia is a post-graduate specialization in dentistry and it is completed after the five year dental course.
College undergraduates will benefit by taking a major in science and then sitting for the DAT or dental admission course. High grade point averages and recommendations may also be necessary.
Once you have gained admission to the dental course, you will complete the course in five years and then study for 2-4 years more to become an orthodontist. After that, you have to complete an additional certification and licensing exam to be allowed to work in the US.
In case you want to study further, you can also study to become a fellow in orthodontia. This may take a year or two more to complete. A Ph.D in orthodontia is also possible and it provides a complete grounding in the field. the main point to note is that the more you study, the higher the salary and the better the career options.
Time Required To Become an Orthodontist
It usually takes four to five years to become a dentist. After than the student has to study for two years more, to become an orthodontic residency.
After completing the residency, you can choose to study more to complete a fellowship or a doctorate in orthodontia. Depending on your schedule, this may take anywhere from two to three years more to complete. On an average, it takes anywhere from seven to ten years to complete your education.
Most orthodontists work at their own clinic but they may choose to consult at other dental clinics as well. Professionals, who have a fellowship or a PhD, can work as lecturers or teachers at dental colleges. You can also work with other dentists or doctors at a shared practice.
Some dentists may complete other degrees like an MPH (master of public healthy, ) or an MSW ( Master of Social Work). In this case, additional career options open up in the form of government jobs or private sector jobs with higher pay.
Apart from the hard work required to become an orthodontist, you will also require a substantial financial investment in your career. For example, your basic dental college education will be substantial.
For example, in 2008, the Arizona School of Dentistry charged about $48,895 for the basic dental degree. The Penn Dental College now charges $107,764 per year for the four year dental course. The cumulative cost will come to $500,000 odd which can be quite expensive.
After the four year DMD course, students have to sit for a residency in orthodontia. The cost for a residency or a specialization in orthodontia has increased to $111,999 per year. As you can see, studying to be an orthodontist can be quite expensive but most colleges do offer financial aid and scholarships to help you out.
After completing your education, you will have to spend more money to set up your clinic and your practice. Most dentists work at hospitals or as consultants but you can also set up your own clinic as well.
There is already a very high shortage of dentists in the US. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there demand for orthodontists will increase by 16% in the coming decade. As awareness of dental problems increases, more and more patients are opting for preventive orthodontic treatment.
As a result, the current generation is proactive about their dental treatment and the demand for dentists and orthodontists will double and triple in the coming years.
As you can see, the demand for trained and qualified orthodontists is quite high. If you have the necessary qualifications and expertise, you can easily find a job in almost any dental clinic anywhere in the world. Of course, salaries will vary according to experience but the sky is the limit for a qualified orthodontist.
Learn the best ways to make the most out of your career as an orthodontist.