Are you interested in helping give people a smile they can be proud of? Do you enjoy school? Do you make good grades in science and math? If the answer of all of these questions is yes, then you may consider pursuing a career in orthodontics. To see if you enjoy working on teeth, it is advisable to observe or shadow an orthodontist to see what it is they do on a day to day basis.
The education required to become an orthodontist is 4 years of college with an emphasis in biology, chemistry, physics, calculus, physiology and biochemistry. You are required to take the DAT (Dental Admissions Test), apply to Dental School, go through an interview and get accepted. There is a limited number of spots available each year so it is very competitive to get in. The interview committee takes into account your overall GPA in college, your grades in the individual science and math classes, your community involvement, your leadership positions and the DAT score. Dental School is 4 years and is a combination of basic science classes and clinical skills. Upon graduation you will have either a DMD or DDS degree.
To be accepted into an Orthodontic Residency program, you must graduate from Dental School in the top 10% of your class, apply to a Residency program, take the GRE test ( Graduate School Entrance test), and you go through an interview process. Most residencies accept 5 students a year. The residency program is 2-3 years of specialty training and includes the study of growth and development of the face and teeth. You are required to start and finish a certain number of orthodontic cases including early treatment, full treatment and surgery cases. The completion of your residency results in a Masters degree.
So like I said, you must love school because it take a total of 10-11 years after high school but it leads to a very rewarding career.