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Membership FAQs

We have the answers you need.

Our job here at the AAO is to make your job easier. If you have a question not covered here in the FAQs, feel free to get in touch with the AAO Member Service Center at 314-993-1700 (option 0) or membership@aaortho.org.

Jump to: Membership Categories and Eligibility, Becoming an AAO Member, Membership Dues, Membership Renewal, Membership Lapse and Reinstatement

Membership Categories and Eligibility

AAO member categories, and basic eligibility requirements* are as follows:

  • Active – An orthodontist who has completed the full curriculum of an ADA/CDA-accredited orthodontic program in the U.S. or Canada (includes full-time academicians in the U.S. and Canada).
  • Life Active – An Active member who has 30 or more years of cumulative membership in the AAO (excluding student membership) and is 65 years of age or higher.
  • Academic (non-U.S./Canada graduates) – An orthodontist who has completed a graduate orthodontic program outside the U.S. and Canada, and is employed full-time at an ADA/CDA-accredited dental or orthodontic program in the U.S. or Canada.
  • Student – A student who has been accepted, and/or enrolled as a full-time student in an ADA/CDA-accredited orthodontic program in the U.S. or Canada; or has completed the full curriculum of an orthodontic program, and been accepted, and/or enrolled as a full-time student in an advanced educational program at an ADA/CDA-accredited educational institution (includes formal fellowship training).
  • Service – A military service member or civilian employee of the U.S. or Canadian government who is a practicing orthodontist or commander, and has completed the full curriculum of an ADA/CDA-accredited orthodontic program in the U.S. or Canada.
  • Retired – A retired orthodontist who has been an active, service or international AAO member for at least 15 cumulative years (excluding student membership) and was a member in good standing at the time of retirement.
  • International – An orthodontist who has completed an accredited orthodontic program, practices outside the U.S. and Canada, and is a member in good standing of the World Federation of Orthodontists (WFO). WFO membership is not required for graduates of an ADA/CDA-accredited orthodontic program in the U.S. or Canada.
  • International Student – A student who has been accepted, and/or enrolled as a full-time student in an orthodontic program outside the U.S. and Canada, and is a student member in good standing of the WFO.

*For more detailed eligibility requirements, please contact the AAO Member Service Center at 314-993-1700 (option 0) or membership@aaortho.org.

As a student member, you will be automatically transitioned to Active status when we receive verification of your graduation. For other transitions, including from Active to Retired, please contact AAO Member Service Center at 314-993-1700 (option 0) or membership@aaortho.org.

First and foremost, congratulations! Orthodontists who retire, are AAO members in good standing at the time of retirement, and have been members for at least 15 cumulative years (excluding Student membership), may transition to Retired status, and enjoy the privileges of membership at no cost. Click here to complete a retired membership application or contact the AAO Member Service Center at 314-993-1700 (option 0) or membership@aaortho.org.

The AAO supports organized dentistry, and orthodontics at all levels, and encourages membership where it’s available. However, membership outside the AAO is only required for the following member categories, and organizations:

  • Active – Membership required in the American Dental Association (ADA) at the time of application with the AAO if you are a permanent U.S. resident. Membership is also required with your designated AAO constituent (regional) organization, and may be required with your designated component (state) organization.
  • Student – Required membership includes the American Dental Association (ADA) at the time of application with the AAO if you are a permanent U.S. resident.
  • International – Membership required in the World Federation of Orthodontists (WFO). Not required for graduates of an ADA/CDA-accredited orthodontic program in the U.S. or Canada.
  • International Student – Membership required in the WFO.

Becoming an AAO Member

AAO member categories, and basic eligibility requirements* are as follows:


*For more detailed eligibility requirements, please contact the AAO Member Service Center at 314-993-1700 (option 0) or membership@aaortho.org.

  • To apply for Student Membership complete an online application (preferred) or PDF application.
    • Student Member applications are processed upon receipt, and applicants will be charged $30 for the first year’s dues.
    • First-time applicants with a permanent U.S. residence must be members in good standing of the American Dental Association (ADA) at the time of application. You will need your ADA number to complete your AAO application.
    • The AAO membership year runs June 1 through May 31.
  • AAO Student Members are eligible to continue their Student Memberships through May 31st of the year following their orthodontic residency program graduation. 

Note: International applicants must be members in good standing of the World Federation of Orthodontists (WFO). (Graduates of accredited U.S. or Canadian orthodontic programs are exempt from this requirement.)

  • Are you a WFO member?
    • If yesclick here to complete an online AAO application (use your WFO login credentials when prompted).
    • If noclick here to complete a combined AAO/WFO membership application. This application is also available in Spanish.
  • International applications are processed monthly.
  • International applicants who complete the PDF application will be charged a $30 application fee.
  • The AAO membership year runs June 1 through May 31.

For more details, contact the AAO Member Service Center at +001-314-993-1700, membership@aaortho.org.

Note: International student applicants must be student members in good standing of the World Federation of Orthodontists (WFO).

  • Are you a WFO member?
    • If yesclick here to complete an online AAO application (use your WFO login credentials when prompted).
    • If noclick here to complete a combined AAO/WFO membership application. This application is also available in Spanish.
  • International student applications are processed monthly.
  • International students may join for FREE for the first year. Renewals are $30 per year.
  • The AAO membership year runs June 1 through May 31.
  • International Student Members are eligible to continue their International Student Memberships through May 31st of the year following their orthodontic training program graduation.

For more details, contact the AAO Member Service Center at +001-314-993-1700, membership@aaortho.org.

Yes! The AAO Orthodontic Staff Club is available to all orthodontic staff and team members who have their employer’s (AAO member doctor) approval to join. Benefits of Orthodontic Staff Club include a subscription to online recorded lectures, a discounted registration fee for the Annual Session, full access to the AAO member website, and more.

The Orthodontic Staff Club annual fee is $50 per practice covering an unlimited number of staff, and the membership period runs June 1 through May 31. Click here to access the Orthodontic Staff Club application (AAO member’s signature required).

Membership Dues

Annual membership dues vary by member category. Following are dues amounts for the 2020-21 membership year (June 1, 2020 through May 31, 2021):

  • Active* – $793 U.S. / $634.40 Canada
  • Academic (non-U.S./Canada graduates) – 50% of Active dues for senior faculty (associate professor or higher), and 25% of Active dues for junior faculty (assistant professor or lower)
  • Student – $30 U.S./Canada
  • Service – $300
  • Retired – $0
  • International – Up to $396.50 (dues vary based on year of membership and geographic location; click here to see a chart)
  • International Student – $30 (free for the first year)

*Accounts for AAO member dues only. Active members also contribute to the Consumer Awareness Program (CAP) assessment, which is $400 per member for the 2021-22 membership year. The CAP is the ONLY mass awareness campaign working to raise awareness among consumers about the benefits of orthodontic treatment provided by specialists. 

To find out your total amount due, which may also include constituent (regional), and/or component (state) dues, contact the AAO Member Service Center at 314-993-1700 (option 0) or membership@aaortho.org.

Yes! The AAO realizes this is a challenging time, and is committed to supporting you throughout your career. First, we will extend your Student membership eligibility through May 31st of the year following your orthodontic residency graduation. Once you transition to Active status, your dues will gradually increase over the next several years until you reach the full dues/assessment amount:

  • 10% of full dues/assessment in year one of Active membership (within one year of completing orthodontic residency)
  • 25% of full dues/assessment in year two
  • 50% of full dues/assessment in year three
  • 75% of full dues/assessment in year four
  • 100% of full dues/assessment in year five

Yes! Full-time orthodontic faculty at an accredited program in the U.S. or Canada may qualify for a dues reduction to 50% of Active dues for senior faculty (associate professor or higher), and 25% of Active dues for junior faculty (assistant professor or lower). Faculty who are eligible for reduced dues are also exempt from paying the CAP assessment. Click here to access a faculty dues reduction form (department chair signature required).

The AAO offers a “limited practice” waiver for Active and Life Active members who have at least 30 cumulative years of membership and practice no more than 350 hours per year. Eligible members receive a 50% reduction of the full dues/assessment amounts. See the question below on dues waivers to learn how to apply.

Yes! Dues waivers may be requested by members who:

  • Experience significant financial hardship due to a debilitating medical condition, act of God or other similar event.
  • Have significantly reduced practice time to care for an immediate family member.
  • Are called into active military duty for the U.S. or Canadian government.
  • Are Active or Life Active members, have at least 30 cumulative years of AAO membership and practice no more than 350 hours per year.
  • Serve full-time in a humanitarian service capacity.

Note: waivers are to be considered for individual member’s circumstances, and may not be granted for events or occurrences that significantly impact the vast majority of the membership.

Click here to learn more or apply for a dues waiver. For questions, contact the AAO Member Service Center at 314-993-1700 (option 0) or membership@aaortho.org.

Membership Renewal

Renewals can be completed online (www.aaoinfo.org/renew), by contacting the AAO Member Service Center at 314-993-1700 (option 0) or by returning the physical invoice that was mailed to you. Renewal invoices are typically made available in late May each year and remain open through December. If it is outside this period, your renewal is likely not due at this time.

The membership renewal period runs from June 1st to May 31st. This is the same for all members regardless of when they join. Renewal notices, and invoices are typically sent in late May, prior to the start of the next membership year. Payments are due upon receipt of the first invoice or by June 1st.

Yes! The AAO has made renewing future years of membership easier with auto-renew. This is available on the mailed renewal invoice, and during online checkout. If you would like to opt in to auto-renew now, contact the AAO Member Service Center at 314-993-1700 (option 0) or membership@aaortho.org.

Yes! The AAO is pleased to offer financial flexibility to meet your budgetary needs. Installment arrangements may be made by contacting the AAO Member Service Center at 314-993-1700 (option 0) or membership@aaortho.org.

Membership Lapse + Reinstatement

AAO member categories, and basic eligibility requirements* are as follows:

The AAO always welcomes back its former members with open arms! If this is your first or second occurrence of a lapse, you will be required to pay only the current year’s dues, and assessment (if applicable). For members with more than two lapses previously, an administrative fee will be assessed equal to 25% of the dues, and assessment missed during the most recent lapsed year. Contact the AAO Member Service Center at 314-993-1700 (option 0) or membership@aaortho.org.

Please note that your reinstatement date is not equal to your renewal date. The renewal period for all members runs from June 1st to May 31st.

Allowing your membership to lapse means you are no longer eligible to receive the privileges of membership, including significant registration discounts to AAO conferences, eligibility for professional liability coverage through the AAO Insurance Company, and your subscription to the AJO-DO, among many others. Allowing your membership to lapse may also impact your amount due when you decide to reinstate (see question above) or your tenure as an AAO member to qualify for Life Active or Retired status. We hope you take pride in being an AAO member throughout your entire orthodontic career.