Healthcare & Medical


Orthodontists are specialist qualified dentists who diagnose and treat problems with a patient’s jaw alignment and bite pattern.

  • Entry-level education

    Post-graduate qualification + professional registration

  • Job outlook

    1 2 3 4 5

What does an Orthodontist do?

Orthodontists are specialist qualified dentists who diagnose and treat problems with a patient’s jaw alignment and bite pattern.


Work activities

As an orthodontist, you would:

  • take X-rays and give local anaesthetic
  • fit dental aids and hardware such as headgear, braces or retainers
  • remove teeth
  • do small cosmetic procedures
  • provide estimates of treatment costs for patients
  • see patients at regular intervals to monitor progress
  • confer with a patient's regular dentist
  • keep accurate treatment records
  • usually have a particular focus on children and young people.

Key skills and interests

To become an orthodontist., you would need:

  • a strong academic background and an interest and ability in science
  • good eyesight and colour vision
  • the ability to carry out delicate work with medical instruments
  • the ability to concentrate for long periods
  • excellent communication skills to explain treatments to patients
  • the ability to put anxious patients at ease.

Working hours and conditions

Working Hours

You would usually work standard hours, Monday to Friday, although your hours of work will vary depending on the area you work in. Part-time hours are often possible.

In a hospital setting, you might work more irregular hours, including night shifts.


Most orthodontists are self-employed and work in private practice. Some work for dental services for government, hospital or private health care providers, or in the armed forces. Orthodontists need to be able to sit and stand comfortably for quite long periods of time.


How to become an Orthodontist?

Entry Level Education

To become an orthodontist you must first complete a bachelor's degree in dentistry, dental science or dental surgery at university. After completing your degree, you need 2 years of clinical practice as a dentist, followed by completion of a further 3-year full-time degree in orthodontics.

To get into the degree courses you usually need to gain your senior secondary school certificate or equivalent. English, mathematics, biology, chemistry and physics would be appropriate subjects to study prior to university. Entry is highly competitive, and you usually need to sit the Undergraduate Medicine and Health Sciences Admission Test (UMAT) and attend a structured interview. You may also be required to complete a structured oral assessment.

It is a legal requirement for graduates to be registered with the Dental Board of Australia before being able to practise as a dentist in any state or territory in Australia. Orthodontists must register as a specialist in Orthodontics.


Job outlook

  • 1 2 3 4 5

Employment of orthodontists is projected to grow faster than the average for all occupations.

As the population becomes wealthier and better-educated, and the benefits of oral care are more widely understood, more people will be prepared to spend money on orthodontic treatments.

Orthodontists will continue to see an increase in demand for their services as studies continue to link oral health to overall health. People with new or expanded dental insurance coverage will also be more likely to visit an orthodontist than in the past.


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