The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) offers the AAO Voluntary Certification Program (VCP) for orthodontic assistants. Fueled by demand, the certification program stands to recognize those in the profession for their knowledge and experience. Assistants who meet the minimum requirements and pass an online examination will be recognized with credentials as a Specialized Orthodontic Assistant (SOA).

Preparing for the exam is an important part of the process. Trapezio offers the SOA Prep Course as an easy, comprehensive, and affordable method for experienced orthodontic assistants to prepare for the exam. The SOA Prep Course provides users with access to the 14 lessons that make-up the Academy of Orthodontic Assisting Level 1 program, allowing them the opportunity to review the most relevant material for exam preparation. The SOA Prep Course does not include testing.

Newer assistants or those in need of educational points for exam requirements are encouraged to complete the Academy of Orthodontic Assisting Level 1 program.

Online Student


Course Outline Exam Information AAO Website


Course Outline

1. Oral and Dental Anatomy
– Oral anatomy
– Dental anatomy
– Tooth development
– Tooth numbering
– Tooth surfaces and directions
– Malocclusions

2. What is Orthodontics?
– Introduction
– Dentistry and dental specialties
– Types of orthodontic treatment
– Stages of treatment
– Orthodontic instruments
– How teeth move

3. The Orthodontic Appliance
– Basic orthodontic appliance parts
– Elastomeric ligatures
– Steel ligatures
– Intraoral auxiliaries
– Non-traditional orthodontic appliances

4. Archwire Selection
– Placement and termination
– Archwire selection

5. Headgears and Elastics
– Extra-oral auxiliaries – Headgears
– Intra-oral auxiliaries – Elastics

6. Secondary Appliances
– Categories of secondary appliances
– Introduction to appliance fabrication
– Types of appliances

7. Application of Orthodontic Appliances
– Separators or spacers
– Orthodontic bands
– Bonding of orthodontic appliances
8. Removal and Retention
– Removal of braces
– Retention
– Post-treatment procedures

9. Diagnostic Records
– Introduction to diagnostic records
– Impressions
– Bite registration
– Orthodontic x-ray techniques
– Photographic techniques
– Digital records

10. Radiation and X-ray Safety
– Introduction
– Radiation safety
– The x-ray cassette – extra-oral film
– The darkroom

11. Orthodontic Models
– Types of models
– Pouring models
– Separating models
– Trimming models
– Alternatives to standard study models

12. Patient Management
– Chair, patient, and body positioning
– Physical interaction with patients
– Checking appliances
– Patient instructions
– Charting
– Parent communication

13. Infection Control in Orthodontics
– What is infection control?
– Sterilization and disinfection
– Protecting our patients and ourselves

14. Professionalism in Orthodontics
– What to expect
– Interviews and resumes
– Professionalism in the office

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Exam Information

Eligibility is based upon satisfaction of the Core Requirements (1) plus accumulating 40 additional points (2).

1. Core Requirements

    – Passage of the AAO Voluntary Certification Program exam
    – Current CPR certification

2. Additional Requirements
Applicants will need to obtain a minimum of 40 points to qualify and apply for certification. Successful completion of the Academy of Orthodontic Assisting Level 1 program satisfies the 40 point education option. Completion of the SOA Prep Course will not satisfy this option.
SOA Points

View the AAO Voluntary Certification Program Handbook in its entirety here.

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