The Top 15 Best Orthodontist Schools in the US 2023

Orthodontists are important in our daily lives because they work to keep our teeth shiny and healthy. Because people are always looking for ways to improve their health, a career as an orthodontist could be a lucrative one. Fortunately, the Bureau of Labor Statistics expects 5,100 orthodontist job openings each year. Thus, there will always be an uptrend in the demand for orthodontists.

However, to become an orthodontist, you must first complete a rigorous educational program. From obtaining an undergraduate degree and a dental license to completing a residency program and other certifications. Hence, if you want to start a career as an orthodontist, you should enroll in a reputable school that will arm you with the necessary knowledge to serve the world.


In this post, you’ll be learning more about how you can become an orthodontist and the Best Orthodontist Schools in the US.

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Table of Contents

Who is an Orthodontist?

An orthodontist is a dentist with special training in identifying, avoiding and treating issues with the teeth and jaw. They are skilled at identifying both existing and future complications. Orthodontists treat patients of various ages, from infants to adults.

What Are The Requirements for Studying Orthodontists In College?

The application process for becoming an orthodontist is similar to that of any other university. They are as follows:

  • Meet the required GPA of your chosen college
  • Obtain the application form for your chosen College
  • Submit your application 
  • Submit referral letters, recommendations, and third-party identification documents
  • Obtain an undergraduate degree
  • Pass the Dental Admission Test to be able to apply for dental school
  • Complete dental school and residency
  • Pass the National Board Dental Examination
  • Obtain a license to practice orthodontics

Top 15 Best Orthodontist Schools in the US 2023

Below are our top picks of the best Orthodontist schools in the US for 2023:

#1. University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine (Philadelphia, PA)

The University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine is first among the best Orthodontist schools in the United States. Also, the University of Pennsylvania is an Ivy League school. Thus, Penn Dental has first-rate resources and a dedicated research team focused on helping orthodontists become experts.

Furthermore, the Robert Schattner Center is located in the heart of the school. There, students can find a surgery center with a range of services, such as oral surgery and maxillofacial surgery, as well as an emergency clinic and faculty practice. In these settings, students get first-hand experience working with professors and completing some of the toughest tasks in their profession.

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#2. University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry (Rochester, NY)

The School of Medicine and Dentistry at the University of Rochester is a notable institution, renowned for its excellent residency program and advanced dental education. Hence, the School is ranked 35 of all graduate schools in the United States, by U.S. News.

Currently, the University of Rochester offers an orthodontics residency program through the Eastman Institute for Oral Health. Through this program, students acquire clinical orthodontic skills, with a focus on developing their capacity to identify complicated issues and use knowledge to address them. 

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#3. Columbia University (New York)

Columbia University is a private Ivy League research university in New York City. Founded in 1754 as King’s College on the grounds of Trinity Church in Manhattan. It is the oldest institution of higher education in New York and one of the best Orthodontist schools in the US.

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Columbia University is divided into twenty schools, four of which are undergraduate and sixteen of which are graduate. Additionally, Columbia University received 60,551 applications for the class of 2025. Of those, 2,218 students were accepted to the institutions. Moreover, Columbia awarded grants to 50% of all undergraduate students.

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#4. Marquette University School of Dentistry (Milwaukee, WI)

If you’re looking for some of the best Orthodontist schools in the United States. You should look into the Marquette University School of Dentistry. The 120,000-square-foot facility is covered with advanced clinical resources and cutting-edge technology. 

Interestingly, the school not only allows students to practice with high-tech equipment but also allows them to work with real patients under the supervision of their mentors.

However, the Marquette School of Dentistry understands that their field is not solely technological. To that end, the school is still dedicated to providing education that is supported by research-based evidence. Thus, students not only learn but participate in the evolving body of dental knowledge, so they have a full understanding of their craft.

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#5. University of Washington (Seattle, WA)

The Department of Orthodontics at the University of Washington trains some of the top researchers and medical professionals in the country. Unfortunately, only five students are admitted each year to the University’s highly selective graduate program. These students complete a 33-month intensive program in which they earn a certificate in orthodontics as well as a Master of Science in Dentistry.

This research is typically focused on evidence-based research, providing students with the knowledge and technical expertise required to be outstanding orthodontists in their respective fields. All these beautiful features contribute to making the University of Washington stand out among the best Orthodontic schools in the United States.

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#6. Stony Brook University School of Dental Medicine (Stony Brook, NY)

While the majority of the institutions on this list train students in specific aspects of orthodontics. Stony Brook University’s School of Dental Medicine takes a broad approach, ensuring that future practitioners receive a well-rounded education.

Consequently, this diverse approach begins in the second year of the program, when students learn the fundamentals of oral health for children. Additionally, students learn strategies for assisting young citizens in caring for their teeth and gums.

In addition, the school offers advanced education programs in orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics for students seeking a highly specialized education. The highly intensive three-year, full-time program not only prepares students to pass the certification exam from the American Board of Orthodontics, but it also gives them valuable, and practical experience. 

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#7. Texas A&M University (College Station, TX)

Texas A&M University is another classic college among the best Orthodontist schools in the United States. The Orthodontics Department can trace its roots back to 1905. Since then, the course has taken center stage in the whole department, allowing students to study every facet of the industry. 

Moreover, the Clinical Research Center has equipment for cephalometric tracing and scanning as well as a data processing lab. To enhance orthopedic research, students and teachers collaborate with a network of professionals and scientists to identify and treat individuals with orthopedic issues.

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#8. University of Michigan School of Dentistry (Ann Arbor, MI)

Established in 1875, the School of Dentistry at the University of Michigan is one of the oldest and best Orthodontist schools in the US. Interestingly, the school commemorates that history in the Sindecuse Museum of Dentistry, which houses over 15,000 items.

Today, orthodontists study a distinct and adaptable curriculum that focuses on student’s interests and abilities. Hence, orthodontics students can choose an area of interest during their third year, such as clinical practice, teaching, or research. Whatever path you choose, you will be supported by a faculty of dedicated professionals who are committed to developing students into leaders in their fields.

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#9. Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine (Cleveland, OH)

For decades, the Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine (CSDM) has been a leader in the field of dentistry. Its graduates include Holly Broadbent Sr. and Jr., forerunners of dental surgery.

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The university remains dedicated to developing dental research. Hence, a recent initiative to investigate the relationship between HIV and cancer was awarded a $3.7 million grant. Another significant study has resulted in the development of a device that can detect oral cancer in real-time.

Unsurprisingly, CSDM has a very low acceptance rate of 2.9%. Nonetheless, applicants with several years of experience and strong letters of recommendation have the best chance of getting in.

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#10. University of Illinois at Chicago College of Dentistry (Chicago, IL)

The Faculty of Dentistry at the University of Illinois at Chicago upholds the illustrious tradition of being one of the greatest research schools in the country. As a result, the College of Dentistry provides a variety of degrees, including six certificate programs for advanced education and residency.

In addition to treatment centers for every specialty, including oral biology and orthodontics, the College houses the Center for Wound Healing and the Brodie Lab for Craniofacial Genetics.

In addition, the school organizes community oral health outreach services. The service provides over $1 million in free care to underserved members of the community. Obviously, this outreach will allow students to practice their skills with real patients.

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#11. The University of Texas Health Science Center (Houston, TX)

Founded in 1972, the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston is a public academic health science center in Houston, Texas, United States. UTHealth Houston is dedicated to educating health science professionals by showcasing the best practices in clinical care and public health. This is aimed at improving the quality of human life by improving disease and injury diagnosis, treatment, and prevention, as well as promoting individual health and community well-being.

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#12. Saint Louis University Center for Advanced Dental Education (St. Louis, MO)

The Center for Advanced Dental Education at Saint Louis University is another outstanding college on the list of best Orthodontist schools in the US. The school has four cutting-edge treatment clinics. These clinics eliminate the need for orthodontic students to share space with pediatric dentistry students. They have their private area.

However, this does not imply that Saint Louis University educates its students in a vacuum. Rather, the school emphasizes cross-departmental collaboration so that students can approach dental care holistically. 

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#13. Howard University (Washington, DC)

Founded in 1867, Howard University is a private research university comprising 14 schools and colleges. Howard offers undergraduate, graduate, and professional degrees in about 130 programs.

Furthermore, the University is committed to Excellence in Truth and Service. As a result, it has produced one Schwarzman Scholar, three Marshall Scholars, four Rhodes Scholars, and over 165 Fulbright recipients

In addition, the College is one of the best schools in the country for teaching female surgeons and a national leader in research on health inequalities among people of color. Also, the Howard University Health Sciences division houses the Howard University Hospital, the Colleges of Nursing and Allied Health Sciences, Pharmacy, and Dentistry.

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#14. the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)

The University of California, Los Angeles, is another top University among the best Orthodontist schools in the US. UCLA is a public land-grant research university in Los Angeles, California. 

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This school enrolls about 31,600 undergraduate and 14,300 graduate and professional students. It also offers about  300 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in a variety of fields. Today, UCLA is the most applied-to university in the US after receiving 174,914 undergraduate applications for Fall 2022, including transfers.

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#15. University of Iowa (Iowa City, IA)

The University of Iowa is the last on the list of best Orthodontist schools in the US. The University of Iowa was established in 1847 and is divided into 12 colleges that provide more than 300 fields of study and seven professional degrees.

The university offers traditional programs in medicine, law, and the fine arts, with programs that are ranked in the top 25 in respective fields nationally. It’s interesting to note that the University of Iowa is frequently recognized as one of the best colleges in the nation. 

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How to Become An orthodontist?

Follow these steps to pursue a career as an orthodontist:

#1. Graduate High School 

If you are still in high school and want to be an orthodontist, the most useful courses are likely to be biology, anatomy, physics, mathematics, and both organic and inorganic chemistry.

#2. Earn a Bachelor’s Degree 

Earning a bachelor’s degree is required for admission to dental school. Although some schools accept students with only two years of the undergraduate experience, the majority only accept applicants with a bachelor’s degree. Therefore, obtaining one is critical to your chances of becoming an orthodontist.

#3. Take the Dental Admission Test 

The American Dental Association administers the Dental Admission Test, also known as the Dental Aptitude Test. This test is a prerequisite for admission to an accredited dental school, with each school requiring a different test score for admission. 

#4. Graduate From Dental School 

Dental school is a prerequisite for all orthodontists. Thus, prospective orthodontist students must pass through a dental school.

#5. Earn Your Dental License 

Following graduation from dental school, the next step is to obtain your dental license by passing the National Board Dental Examination and a clinical exam administered by a testing agency in your region.

The National Board Dental Examination is divided into two parts and is administered over three days. The first section includes 400 multiple-choice questions from various areas.

#6. Complete An Orthodontics Residency 

After earning your dental license, the next requirement to become an orthodontist is to complete an accredited orthodontics residency. A two- or three-year residency broadens a dentist’s knowledge by assisting them in developing the abilities necessary to handle and address problems with tooth mobility and face misalignment.

#7. Earn Your Orthodontist license 

After completing all of the prerequisites, the final step toward becoming an orthodontist is to obtain your license. State requirements vary slightly, but the main ones are graduation from an accredited dental school, passing the National Board Dental Examinations, and passing state clinical tests.

FAQs About Best Orthodontist Schools in the US 

How many years does it take to become an orthodontist?

Orthodontology is comparable to many other professional medical courses. As a result, students spend approximately four years completing a Bachelor’s Degree in a pre-dental course before enrolling in college. Following graduation from college, students enter a two-year residency program before taking their final professional exam. In conclusion, becoming an Orthodontist may require 10 to 11 years of study.

Is it hard to find a job as an orthodontist?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a 6% increase in orthodontist employment between 2021 and the next decade. They also anticipate about 5,100 openings for dentists each year. This implies that there will always be a need for orthodontists.


If you’re thinking about becoming an orthodontist but are unsure if the profession will be financially rewarding. We want you to know that people are always concerned about their health because “health is wealth.’ Hence, the demand for Orthodontists may not decline anytime soon. Therefore feel free to select any of the best orthodontic schools in the US. Go online, do some research, and submit an application!

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