Educational Requirements for Orthodontists Earning an undergraduate degree, passing the dental admission test to be able to apply for dental school, complete dental school and residency, pass the National Board dental exam, obtain a license to practice orthodontics as a specialty, which can require a special state exam. To start your career as an orthodontist assistant, you need post-secondary qualifications. You can complete a one-year dental care certificate or a two-year associate's degree program in orthodontic care. You need a high school diploma or GED and CPR certification to enter a dental assistance training program.
In addition to classroom teaching, you gain hands-on experience learning the technical skills of a licensed orthodontist's work and how to interact with patients during their appointments. To become an orthodontist, you must first complete dental school to earn a doctorate in dentistry and become a certified dentist. Admission to dental school requires completing a bachelor's degree (although some universities offer a combined degree program) and passing the dental admission test (DAT).