Career Profile: Orthodontist Assistant

By Brenda on November 9th, 2011


One of the integral careers in the growing market of dentistry is the orthodontist assistant.  An orthodontist assistant works closely with an orthodontist and is the liaison between the dentist and the patient.  Obtaining the necessary skills and education requirements is crucial to embarking on a career in this promising and fast-growing niche.

Job Details

A day in the life of an orthodontist assistant is anything but ordinary.  This exciting career is responsible for providing much needed support to the specialist while working directly with patients in need of dental care.  An orthodontist may spend the day preparing patient rooms one minute and removing sutures the next.

Some of the typical job duties of the orthodontist assistant include sterilizing dental equipment and procedural tools, conducting patient x-rays, and preparing impressions of patient’s teeth and making the patients feel comfortable prior to their procedure or examination.  Duties vary from day to day but overall consist of preparing the dental procedural rooms and making sure the patients are comfortable and well taken care of.

Education and Certification Requirements

Education varies by state for a career as an orthodontist assistant.  Most employers request formal education from an accredited institution.  Many of these programs can be found at a trade school or community college.  Technical institutions are now offering a certificated program in orthodontic assisting.  Formal education from a community college or online institution may result in a two-year associate’s degree which is looked upon favorably by employers.

Most states and employers require licensure or certification for a job as an orthodontist assistant.  In order to obtain licensure, a student must complete the licensure process.  This process includes the completion of a training program as a dental assistant or orthodontist assistant.  The training program must be accredited and upon completion a state examination must be taken and passed.

Most states offer the Certified Dental Assistant or CDA exam which is given by the Dental Assisting Board.  In order to qualify, students must complete the accredited program and have at least two years of experience assisting.  CPR certifications are also required of orthodontist assistants.  Most schools issue a class and exam prior to graduation so that the student can receive their CPR card.  Depending on the place of employment, additional requirements may be needed in order to receive a job.

Job Outlook

A favorable job outlook is anticipated over the next five years.  According to labor statistics and reporting, dental assistants are expected to earn an average of 10% more than the previous five years.  The overall job profession is expected to expand over the next ten years at a dramatic rate of 35%.  The growth rate is predicted to rise due to the nation’s increased awareness and focus on teeth and their personal appearance.

For an exciting career in dentistry that promises to never provide a dull day, the orthodontist assistant field may be what you have been looking for.  The career provides room to grow and advance, while offering favorable hours and solid pay.


Category: Careers and Employment,Medical and Nursing