You can earn some of the highest salaries working as an orthodontist in dentist offices. Orthodontists earned the mean annual wage of $207,350, according to May 2011 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, or BLS. Their duties include examining patients' teeth to determine if they needed straightening or realigning, and determining the best methods to correct overbites, arch defects and gaps with braces and other oral remedies.
Average Salary and Benefits
You certainly wouldn't go hungry as an orthodontist. Your average annual income would be $204,670, according to the BLS. Your pay would be based on experience, your geographical area and the size and budget of your employer. You would earn less than $70,530 per year if you were among the lowest 10 percent in earnings. If you are employed full-time, expect to receive such benefits as medical insurance, paid vacations and holidays, and a retirement savings plan.
Salary by Industry
Next to dentists' offices, your annual earnings would be the highest among office physicians at $202,060, according to the BLS. The reason is that the health of a person's mouth is closely linked to overall health. Therefore, orthodontists work with physicians to determine if any of the patients' ailments are caused by imperfect teeth. Headaches, which prompts many doctor visits, can be linked to overbites or crooked teeth. Orthodontists made $90,120 on average per year working for general medical and surgical hospitals.
Salary by Metropolitan Area
Venture to the Atlanta metropolitan area if you want to earn some of the highest incomes as an orthodontist. Atlanta/Marietta, Georgia orthodontists earned $241,590 per year according to the BLS. You'd also do quite well in Anchorage, Alaska, at $230,810 annually. Expect to earn $222,220 per year in the New York/White Plains/Wayne, New York and New Jersey metropolitan area. You would earn a little less in the metropolitan area of Glendale, California, at $207,220 per year.
Education and Training
Your road to becoming an orthodontist commences with either an associate's or bachelor's degree, according to the BLS. You can increase your chances of getting into dental school by majoring in one of the sciences, such as biology or chemistry. Dental school takes about four years to complete. Orthodontists must then complete three additional years to become certified in orthodontics. You would then do a residency or internship for one or two years before becoming a fully licensed orthodontist.
The BLS reports that the number of jobs for orthodontists is expected to increase 29 percent from 2010 to 2020. The greatest number of employment opportunities will be in areas with the highest population growths.
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook -- Dentists
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Employment Statistics -- Orthodontists
- StateUniversity.com: Orthodontist Job Description
- CareerPlanner.com: Orthodontist
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook: Occupation Finder
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