Your oral health is a contributing factor to your overall health. A lack of good oral health significantly increases your risk of health problems that include cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and certain forms of cancer. Your health is the reason an orthodontist salary is so impressive, but that’s not the only reason you might become an orthodontist. The job is secure, the position admirable, and you get to become a doctor without all the late night on-call hours and residency.
Becoming an orthodontist is a noble career choice, and it’s one with great job security. There is always a need for orthodontics in the dental field, and this specialty is one that takes you far in your career. An orthodontist salary, hours, and education are conducive to a healthy home life and raising a family. If you’re interested in becoming an orthodontist, here is what you need to know about the industry.
JOB DESCRIPTION AND DUTIES
An orthodontist salary is higher than a dentist salary because it’s a specialty in a broad range of dental careers. An orthodontist is a person who became a dentist and furthered their career to become an orthodontist in a specific niche. The job is within the dental community, but it’s a specialty you pursue following your graduation from dental school.
An orthodontist has many additional job requirements, and the career choice puts you into a very special class of dental professionals. Both a dentist and an orthodontist are concerned with your oral health care. However, an orthodontist’s job includes not only the same job as a dentist but also the further ability to help their patients. As an orthodontist, you can work as a dentist if you choose, but your job description specializes in helping patients with dental alignment.
If a patient goes to a dentist with crooked teeth, the dentist can refer them to an orthodontist to help align them using braces or another method of alignment. If you are an orthodontist, you can work as a dentist and an orthodontist and eliminate the middleman in the situation. As an orthodontist, your job duties include the following.
A dentist can help patients learn to care for their teeth correctly, they can treat health problems related to tooth decay, root canals, and other oral health problems, but they cannot correct teeth with alignment or spacing issues. An orthodontist can do all the above.
One of the biggest reasons people choose to work as an orthodontist is the job satisfaction. Unlike becoming a doctor, you aren’t required to work odd hours. An orthodontist schedules office hours that are almost always the same. Most orthodontists don’t work on the weekends, at night, or on holidays, and there are rarely instances in which you are on call.
Becoming an orthodontist gives you the title of a doctor, but it doesn’t give you the same level of stress. Your job entails helping patients with their oral health, and it involves making a difference in their quality of life. By helping patients learn to care properly for their oral health, your job allows you to prevent more serious health problems from forming as patients age. Furthermore, your job allows you to create confidence in people who lacked it before by perfecting their smiles.
Job satisfaction also comes from the success rate of this career. Patients almost always leave the office feeling more confident and better about themselves, their health problems are easy to treat, and there are few major complications or life-threatening situations with patients when you are a doctor of orthodontics.
EDUCATION AND CERTIFICATIONS
It takes approximately eight years to become a dentist. During this eight years, you will graduate with a Bachelor’s Degree from an accredited college, and you will spend four years in an accredited dental program.
The first two years of dental school are all about education and coursework, and the last two years require you spend time in the field working with a dentist to perform duties associated with this job. This time is spent working under the care of a licensed and certified dentist, and everything you do is carefully monitored as the dental professional with whom you work is overseeing every detail of the job you do.
Once you graduate from dental school with a Doctor of Dental Surgery or Doctor of Dental Medicine (DDS or DDM), you must complete a post-doctorate program focusing on orthodontics. A DDS and a DDM are the same degrees and both require the same pre-requisites, but the title you receive depends on the dental program you graduate. It means the same thing. Following graduation, you must apply for an orthodontics program.
This is a program that lasts approximately three years, which brings the total number of years in school to 11 if you choose to become an orthodontist. This education is required to advance your career and work as an orthodontist as it gives you the necessary experience and education to work in this niche.
CERTIFICATIONS AND LICENSES
Once you are finished with your education, you cannot go to work to earn your orthodontist salary right away. You must become certified and licensed in the state in which you live and work. The American Board of Orthodontics offers a voluntary certification program to all orthodontists who have completed at least 18 months of the postgrad program. This is completely voluntary, but it helps boost your resume, and it makes you a more attractive candidate for any job.
Licensure is not voluntary. You cannot work as an orthodontist without becoming licensed first. Every state has slightly different requirements for dental licensing, but most states require you pass a practical and a written exam. The state license is required to go to work, and you must keep up with the continuing education requirements in your state to keep your license.
An orthodontist salary is approximately $169,441 per year. This figure is calculated by looking at the average high orthodontist salary and the average low orthodontist salary in the United States and averaging both. An orthodontist salary is based on several factors, but the low-end of the pay scale in this line of work is approximately $79,000 per year while the high end is upwards of $300,000 per year.
TIME ON THE JOB
If you’re a new orthodontist, your orthodontist salary will probably start on the low end of the spectrum. The average starting pay for this career is approximately $150,000 per year. By the time you are 10 years into your career, your salary should average $180,000. When your career is 20 years or longer, you should earn more than $200,000 per year in this field.
Your location will play a factor in determining how much you earn as an orthodontist. If you live in a small town without many people and without a high median household income, you will probably earn less than an orthodontist who works for a major health company in a bigger city. Location matters in every career, and orthodontics is not an exception to this rule.
If you want to earn a higher orthodontist salary, try finding a job in Colorado, Minnesota, Mississippi, Texas, or Georgia. The average salary of an orthodontist in these five states is higher than the rest of the country. However, your career experience, your specialty, and your employer each play a role in the amount you earn even in these states.
Typically, owning your own dental office is a great way to earn more as an orthodontist. An orthodontist salary goes up when you run your own practice and make more money by employing more people, seeing more patients, and fixing more teeth. If you work as both an orthodontist and a dentist, you might earn even more in this line of work.
The perks of becoming an orthodontist are numerous. You get to earn a substantial orthodontist salary; you work fewer hours than many doctors; you don’t risk losing patients on the table in this line of medical work, and you have a higher rate of job satisfaction than many people in the medical field. It’s a noble career choice, and job security is a bonus.
Orthodontists are always in high demand, and that means you won’t worry you cannot find a job if you decide to move or leave a company. The advancement opportunities are limitless when you open your own practice, or you can work for someone else doing orthodontics in a specialty situation or even a hospital.
It takes 11 years, passing a state licensure test, and keeping up with continuing education to earn an orthodontist salary that could exceed $300,000 per year once you have experience. If this career interests you, it’s time to start looking into the education requirements so you can begin working on your future right now.