I recently had a college student from UCONN visit my office to learn a little about what it’s like to be an orthodontist. Susannah Snider, in her article for US News & World Report, discusses a lot of valuable information about what it takes to become and orthodontist and what it’s like once you get there. We’ll review her findings below.
As I covered here, orthodontics was named the best career of 2016. Snider reports that some things contributing to this include: generous take home salaries, the fact that treatment decisions are rarely life-or-death, which lessens job stress, that you are able to set down roots and become an active member of the community, and that patients typically look forward to their visits because they are looking forward to the final outcome. Overall, orthodontics is a very rewarding career.
Training to be an orthodontist takes dedication. After graduating high school, you must excel in college, and excel again in dental school in order to be accepted into an orthodontic residency program. That is 10 to 11 years of schooling after high school. Student loan debt can be considerable.
Aside from a strong interest in science, it is important to have a creative side as well. You need to have excellent fine motor skills and enjoy working with your hands. Finally, you will be interacting with people all day long, you had betterÂ be a people person.
Orthodontics is described as one of the last true areas where you can be your own boss and run your own business. In a 2014 survey, the American Association of Orthodontics reported that 72% of orthodontists wereÂ working in solo practices. Other career opportunitiesÂ includeÂ working for hospitals, public health organizations, or research. Practitioners will often describe the management part of the job, the business part of the day to day, as the most challenging.
Work-Life balance is one of those elusive things that everyone with a career is searching for. Being your own boss can ease stress and help attain that goal because you have the ability to set you own schedule. As a woman with a family, this can be especially appealing, because it can give you the freedom to practice a very satisfying profession at the same time you allow time to be active in the lives of your children.
The best way to decide whether orthodontics may be the right career choice for you is to spend time in an orthodontic office. This can range anywhere from shadowing an orthodontist for a day all the way up to working in an orthodontic practice. Talk to your local orthodontist, I’m sure they would be happy to help in any way they can.
To read the complete US News article by Susannah Snider, click here.