After receiving an undergraduate degree, it takes at least six additional years of education to become an orthodontist. First, prospective orthodontists must complete a dental school program. According to the American Dental Association, this usually takes four years.
The American Association of Orthodontists indicates the next step is completion of a two-year accredited orthodontic residency program. A typical residency, such as the one at the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine, includes the study of anatomy, diagnostics, orthodontic techniques and practice management. While some of the training is done in traditional classrooms or online courses, residents must also work in clinical settings with actual patients.