According to data from salary.com, the median orthodontist salary in the United States is about $127,000 per annum. The median salary in hourly terms is about $61 per hour. In terms of percentages, the top 10th percentile of the workforce receive an annual wage of about $180,000 or more. That is about $86 per hour or more. The lowest 10th percentile of this profession have a salary of about $105,000 or less per annum. Which in hourly terms is about $40 per hour. The middle 50% of the orthodontist workforce earn about $104,000 and $154,000 per year or $50 and $74 per hour.
Just like majority of all professions, an orthodontist salary varies depending many different factors. Factors such as years of experience, location of employment, type of establishment (private practice, physician’s office, hospital or outpatient care facility, government etc.), size of establishment, education and training will have an effect on how much you earn.
Orthodontists also have several benefits in addition to their salary. Benefits include social security contributions, 401K/403B, healthcare, paid time off, bonuses and pension. When you add-on all these benefits, an orthodontist’s pay package can add up to about $177,000 on average.
Job description of an orthodontist
What does an orthodontist do? They are famously known for using braces to help straighten people’s crooked teeth. But orthodontists do more than just straightening teeth with braces. The also straighten crooked jaws and use other devices such as retainers and spacers. They help correct patient’s chewing problems, protruding teeth, facial asymmetry, shifting jaws etc.
An orthodontist diagnoses problems with the help of x-rays and plaster molds of the teeth and mouth.
Orthodontists also work in consultation with other dental specialists such as dental surgeons to device alternative ways of treating patients. Some of the tools orthodontists work with include x-rays, drills, braces, mouth mirrors, forceps, scalpels and probes. They wear protective clothing such as masks and gloves to protect themselves and their patients from infections. Those that work private practices may take on additional responsibilities such as bookkeeping, administration work and supplies management.
How to become an orthodontist
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To become an orthodontist, you will have to attend dental school. If you are in high school and thinking of becoming an orthodontist, you should take classes in subjects such as biology, chemistry, physics, mathematics and anatomy.
Although not a hard and fast rule, most admissions to dental school requires the applicant to have completed a bachelor’s degree. Every dental school will also require the applicant to have taken certain science courses like chemistry and biology in college. A science major is not a requirement for entering dental school but may enhance your chances of getting accepted.
During your junior year of college, you should take the Dental Acceptance Test (DAT). Like medical school, dental school admission is very competitive. A good score on this test combined with good GPA, good recommendation letters and a great interview should enhance your chances of getting accepted.
When you complete dental school, you will enter a residency program which lasts about 2 years. This is where you undergo training in a clinical environment to become an orthodontist.
The next step will be to get licensed. All states require dentists to be licensed before they can practice. This licensing usually requires a dental degree from an accredited dental program. You will also be required to pass a written and practical exam. Most states also require a license to practice a specialty in dentistry. So you will have to pass a special exam for orthodontist in order to get a license to practice.
Some sub-specialties in orthodontry include angle orthodontist and pediatric orthodontist.
Orthodontist salary in other countries (Australia, Canada and UK)
The average orthodontist salary bracket in the United Kingdom (UK) is between £64,000 and £91,000. Newly qualified orthodontists starting work as associates can expect a starting salary of about £31,000. Those with a number of years of experience can expect a salary of about £100,000 or more. Those who own their own private practices can expect incomes in excess of £200,000 per year.
Those working in Canada can expect an average salary of about CA$140,000 per annum.
For those working in Australia, their average annual income is reported to be around AU$130,000 per year. The range is between AU$75,000 and AU$251,000.
Verdict on Orthodontist Salary
An orthodontist salary is a competitive one although not one of the highest in the medical profession. It is still a high salary when compared to many other professions.