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Part of our mission at the AAO is to advance the practice of orthodontics, and a big part of that is investing in you.

The Specialized Orthodontic Assistant® (SOA) Certification is a mark of distinction for staff and their practices. Through comprehensive review of knowledge and experience, the SOA gives orthodontic assistants the chance to stand out among the best in the specialty. The AAO is proud to support orthodontic staff as they pursue this voluntary certification.

Questions about the Specialized Orthodontic Assistant® certification?

We’re here to help staff members throughout the certification process. If you have questions about the SOA certification, contact


Learn about criteria for certification – and get everything you need to get ready. Our AAO-Endorsed Training Program will even provide the foundational knowledge you need to excel on the test.


Ready to take the test? You will need to fill out the program application, register for an account and pay the $75 application fee. Your application, application fee, and required documentation should be mailed to: AAO Voluntary Certification Program®, Attn: Michelle Ritterskamp, 401 North Lindbergh Blvd., St. Louis, MO 63141.


It’s time to become a Specialized Orthodontic Assistant. Once you have your test results and the other required documentation, you are ready to submit to the AAO for final approval and certification.


The AAO is here to help you maintain your SOA certification year after year. Renewal not only maintains your SOA certification, it demonstrates your ongoing commitment to the specialty, your practice, and excellence in patient care. If you need additional CE to submit your renewal, our CE Passport connects you to over 500 hours of on-demand and live CE.

“Having the AAO Voluntary Certification makes me more confident in my orthodontic career. It gives me the confidence I need to talk with patients and parents about orthodontics.”
Melissa Carstens,
SOA Shaumburg, IL

We’re here to help staff members throughout the SOA certification process.

Contact us anytime.