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Orthodontic Therapists

Orthodontic Therapists are registered dental professionals who carry out certain parts of orthodontic treatment under prescription and supervision of a dentist, who is an orthodontist on the Specialist Orthodontic register of the General Dental Council.

Orthodontic Therapy Learning Outcomes

The Learning Outcomes are grouped into four domains by the GDC. These are integrated and mutually support each other:

  • Clinical
  • Communication
  • Professionalism
  • Management and Leadership

By the end of the course, students should be able to:

  • define theoretical principles and apply these principles to the practice of orthodontics
  • describe those aspects of the biomedical sciences, oral physiology and craniofacial, oral and dental anatomy that are significant in the management of patients
  • apply critical appraisal techniques to published literature
  • select and manipulate appropriate dental biomaterials used by the orthodontic therapist
  • apply anatomical and physiological principles to the field of orthodontics
  • have acquired appropriate orthodontic clinical skills
  • recognise and use orthodontic systems
  • understand and follow a prescribed treatment plan
  • satisfy medico-legal requirements
  • apply functional anatomy and physiology to clinical situations
  • communicate effectively both orally and in written form
  • work effectively as part of a team
  • problem solve
  • use Information Technology (IT) effectively
  • have effective numeracy skills

Course Structure

This GDC-approved course follows a modular format. The core teaching, comprising 20 days, is delivered at the start of the course over a 4 week period. This allows time for students to assimilate what will be a large amount of new knowledge. A further 10 teaching days are attended, approximately one day per month, during the rest of the course. These days cover subjects in which the students may require additional teaching and support, and will also include "mock assessments" prior to the final examination. The most important and significant component of the course is the workplace-based training, under the direct supervision of the trainer, who must be a specialist orthodontist in a practice, hospital or salaried dental service department.

Final Examination

Entry to the final examination is subject to the approval of the Programme Director and is dependent upon:

  • The satisfactory completion of all assessments
  • A satisfactory continuing assessment record
  • The satisfactory completion of all competency assessments
  • The achievement of appropriate clinical experience
  • A satisfactory attendance record
  • The completion of one cycle of clinical audit and presentation
  • The satisfactory presentation of two clinical case presentations


The course fees are £8,000 for student Orthodontic Therapists working within the NHS in Scotland and £12,500 for any students working outwith NHS Scotland. The final diploma examination fee must be paid directly by the student, their trainer or their hospital/salaried dental service to the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh. 


For further information, please see or download the Information Pack. [Link to OT Information Pack 2017]

Further Information

The application process for 2018 has now closed. For any further information, please email: