What are some of the best things to major in if you want to become an orthodontist?
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Dr. Joseph Hourany
To become an orthodontist you first have to become a dentist. You can major in literally anything and apply to dental school (and some dental school's don't even require a bachelor's degree) but every dental school will require you to take the Dental Admission Test or DAT. The DAT has 6 sections (biology, chemistry, organic chemistry, reading comprehension, math, and perceptual ability). Being a biology, biochemistry, or chemistry major would definitely help when it comes time to study for the exam and a good understanding of the basic sciences will definitely help throughout dental school and with any research you may do while in dental school (doing research in dental school is recommended since it will help your application stand out when applying to an orthodontics residency).
Wish you the best of luck!
The most important things to do in preparation for becoming an orthodontist are
- getting to know yourself to have clarity that your personality traits will match those of successful orthodontists
- getting to know orthodontists so that you can see what they do, learn how they become orthodontists, and feel what it is like to be an orthodontist
Getting to know yourself and how your personality traits relate to people involved in various career opportunities is very important in your decision making process. During my many years in Human Resources and College Recruiting, I ran across too many students who had skipped this very important step and ended up in a job situation which for which they were not well suited. Selecting a career area is like buying a pair of shoes. First you have to be properly fitted for the correct size, and then you need to try on and walk in the various shoe options to determine which is fits the best and is most comfortable for you to wear. Following are some important steps which I developed during my career which have been helpful to many .
Ken recommends the following next steps:
Arnold J Malerman, DDS
Aside from this, any major is acceptable as long as you complete the prerequisite courses.
Typical dental school prerequisites include:
Six semester hours of English
Three semester hours of Statistics (from Math or Statistics Department)
Eight semester hours of General Chemistry
Eight semester hours of Organic Chemistry
Eight semester hours of Physics
Three semester hours of Biochemistry
Eighteen semester hours of Biology -- (minimum) 15 hours of lecture and 3 hours of formal laboratory.
The Biology hours must include these courses for science majors (this refers to the course designation, not the applicant's major):
Anatomy with Lab* 4 semester hours
Physiology * 3 semester hours
Microbiology 3 semester hours
In order to become an orthodontist, you must first go to Dental School, and you can major in what ever you'd like to apply for dental school. The important thing is you will have to take certain required science classes as perquisites including Biology, General Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, etc.
I personally majored in Biology, and a lot of my dental school classmates also majored in science fields because that way you knock out the requirements for your major along with the dental prerequisite courses. In addition to taking these science courses, you will also need to make sure you keep a high overall GPA, AND a high GPA specifically in those science courses because dental schools will look at your overall GPA as well as your "Science GPA".
After college, and in dental school is where your journey to become an orthodontist will more or less begin, because to become an orthodontist you'll have to apply for specialty residency as you leave dental school.
Robert recommends the following next steps: