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How to become an orthodontist in Australia: careers in health

Orthodontists are specialist qualified dentist who focus on issues related to the alignment of teeth. They generally work in private practices with clients of all ages, but do often have a particular focus on children and young people. Orthodontists in Australia need to have a dental degree, clinical experience as well as postgraduate qualifications.
Pathways

Being an orthodontist: daily duties

Specialising in the treatment of people who have issues related to the alignment of their teeth or jaws, orthodontists use sophisticated dental equipment and x-rays to diagnose and put in place treatment plans to deal with these conditions. Often, the treatment plans will involve using braces to re-align teeth. Orthodontists can sometimes work with other medical and dental professionals in complex cases, ensuring comprehensive treatment plans are in place for their patients.

Tasks:

  • Diagnosing dental conditions
  • Using dental equipment and x-rays
  • Preparing and implementing treatment plans
  • Liaising with other dental and medical professionals
  • Monitoring and adjusting orthodontic appliances
Skills

Being an orthodontist: skills for success

Orthodontists should have a comprehensive understanding of orthodontic procedures and technologies and also need to ensure this knowledge is constantly up-to-date. Exceptional hand-eye coordination is also essential, as is the ability to work precisely. Orthodontists also need to have excellent people skills, particularly with children and young people.
Skills/attributes
  • People skills
  • Manual dexterity
  • Capacity for detailed and precise work
  • Thorough understanding of orthodontics
  • Critical thinking and decision making skills
Specs

Specialised roles within dentistry

Orthodontists are already in highly specialised roles within the dental field, and further specialisation options are limited. However, senior orthodontists can move into management roles or pursue a career in teaching and academia.
  • Management
    As orthodontists are generally employed in private practice, later in their careers some may decide to open their own practice or move into a management role within an existing business. As a manager, in addition to the day-to-day work of an orthodontist, they will also be responsible for staff and budget management, client administration and contracts and property leasing.
  • Teaching
    Senior orthodontists can choose to take on work teaching the next generations of dentists and orthodontists in tertiary institutions. This involves preparing and delivering lessons, setting and marking assignments and other student related administration tasks. Some orthodontists work part-time in teaching positions while continuing with day-to-day work treating clients in orthodontic practices.
Pathways

Educational pathways for orthodontists

To work as an orthodontist you will need to be a qualified dentist with a minimum of two years clinical experience before completing a postgraduate qualification in orthodontics. You also need to register with the Australian Health Practitioners Regulatory Authority.
  • Start your career
    A dental-related vocational qualification will give you a feel for this industry before you commit to a long course of study.
  • Strengthen your skills
    Find an AHPRA accredited dental degree to get you on the way to becoming an orthodontist.
  • Build your resume
    Find further study options to help you transition into management or teaching roles in your industry.
  • Industry requirements
    Orthodontists in Australia are required to be registered with the Australian Health Practitioners Regulatory Authority in order to practise. A voluntary membership of the Australasian Orthodontic Board can improve employment prospects.
  • Finding Work
    Put your training to good use and get the best professional head start in your dentistry career. Emphasise your personal strengths and achievements in your resume and target your cover letter to the job description listed.
  • Employment Prospects
    Demand for orthodontists is growing strongly, and they tend to be very well paid positions. It is a relatively small field and in some areas of Australia there are limited opportunities.

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