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Professional Advancement - IBO Diplomate

What is the IBO Diplomate?

Diplomate of the International Board of Orthodontics (IBO) is the final level of the IAO Professional Advancement Program. Members of the IAO who have chosen to participate in the IAO Professional Advancement Program may choose to complete the Professional Advancement program by obtaining Diplomate Status.

In order to obtain the IBO Diplomate, candidates must pass the IBO Diplomate Examination, a multi-step credentialing process designed to ensure that the individuals who pass certification and achieve Diplomate Status are credible practitioners of orthodontics. The purpose of the examination is to demonstrate that an individual has both the underlying knowledge and practice capacity necessary for such recognition. The examination consists of a Written Examination and a Clinical Case Examination.


About the IBO

The International Board of Orthodontics (IBO), the oldest of the non-specialty orthodontic boards, was established in 1966. The IBO is the official certifying body of the International Association for Orthodontics (IAO) and consists of eight Diplomate Members and one Public Member nominated by the IBO Board and confirmed by the IAO Executive Committee.

IBO Mission Statement

To elevate Functional Jaw Orthopedics and Orthodontics to the highest standards of clinical excellence as provided by IAO members and to support IAO members in their Tier Advancement to Diplomate status.


Preparing for the Exam

To prepare for the exam, please download and review the IBO Candidate Handbook, the primary preparation resource for this examination.

IBO Candidate Handbook (pdf)

The IBO Candidate Handbook details the form and structure of the Written Examination and Clinical Case Examination, provides background on the development of the exams and contains relevant IBO policies for reference.

Written Examination - An Overview

The Written Examination is designed to measure key knowledge areas that are related to effective orthodontic care. The examination provides baseline evidence of competency for the credentialing of IAO members. Candidates must pass the Written Examination prior to taking the Clinical Case Examination.

Key knowledge areas include these primary content domains:

  1. The underlying biomedical and clinical foundation knowledge that supports orthodontic treatment.
  2. Knowledge of the diagnostic procedures that are commonly used to assess a patient’s orthodontic needs.
  3. The ability to apply diagnostic procedures to a case example including knowledge and interpretation of various diagnostic tests.
  4. Analysis of treatment planning decisions for a variety of orthodontic cases such that the candidate may design an appropriate treatment plan or recognize deficiencies in treatment planning of existing cases.
  5. Analysis of that information which is used to facilitate diagnosis of problems with the temporomandibular joint and to design and manage treatment of those problems.

More information on the Written Examination including sample questions may be found in the IBO Candidate Handbook.

Clinical Case Examination - An Overview

The Clinical Case Examinations requires candidates to present at least ten (10) finished orthodontic cases clinical cases, five (5) with two (2) years of post treatment, which demonstrate the candidates diagnostic and treatment planning skills.


Candidate Eligibility

IAO Member Dentists

To be eligible to apply for Diplomate, an IAO Member in good-standing must have:

  • IAO Fellow Status
  • Completed and submitted 500 hours of orthodontic CE to IAO Headquarters
  • Finished ten (10) orthodontic cases, five (5) of which must have two (2) years post-treatment records, and prepared the cases for presentation at the Clinical Examination

IAO Member Board-Certified Orthodontists/Specialists

Specialists who are IAO Members and seek Diplomate status must have board certification in country of practice. An orthodontist who is an IAO Member in good standing and who has passed the boards successfully in their respective country is welcome to apply for the IBO Diplomate recognition without having to present the usual case and written examination requirements. See Application Procedure and Schedule (link below) for more information on how to apply.

IAO Member Non-Board-Certified Orthodontists/Specialists

Orthodontists who are not board-certified in their country of practice must meet the same requirements for obtaining the IBO Diplomate status as outlined for any other IAO Member.


Application Process and Schedule

The IBO Diplomate Examination is conducted each year at the IAO Annual Meeting which is held in late March/early April in the United States. Candidates must pass the IBO Written Examination prior to taking the IBO Clinical Case Examination. Both exams may be taken during the same Annual Meeting or they may be taken at separate meetings.

Upcoming Examination Dates and Locations

IBO Written Examination - March 25, 2015 (Hilton Austin, Austin Texas, USA) 
IBO Clinical Case Examination - March 25, 2015 (Hilton Austin, Austin Texas, USA)

Under certain circumstances, special accommodation has been made to have IBO Clinical Cases reviewed at another time and location from the Annual Meeting, but this is subject to availability of reviewers. Should you wish to request a special review of IBO Clinical Cases outside of the Annual Meeting, please contact IAO Headquarters.

Please contact IAO Headquarters for more information.

Application Submission - 30 Days Prior to Exam

Candidates must apply to take the IBO Diplomate Examination no later than 30 days in advance of the next examination date. The application forms for both IAO Members and Specialist Members are available below and also in appendix A of the IBO Candidate Handbook.

To apply for Diplomate Status, IAO Member Dentists must submit the following:

  • Completed Diplomate Application and Fee

To apply for Diplomate Status, IAO Member orthodontists/specialists must submit the following:

  • Copy of Orthodontic Certificate
  • Copy of Board Certificate
  • Completed Specialist Diplomate Application and Fee

Orthodontist/Specialist Candidates must present at least one (1) finished orthodontic case following the guidelines of the IBO as described in the IBO Candidate Handbook. Orthodontist/Specialist candidates are asked to publish an article in the International Journal of Orthodontics (IJO).


Diplomate Application Forms and Fees

Please use the links below to download the appropriate application. Application fees appear next to the links.

*Candidates must have passed the IBO Written Examination prior to taking the IBO Clinical Case Examination.

Completed applications should be returned along with the required application fee, a current photo, and a completed Verification of Authenticity Form (pdf) to IAO Headquarters by email or post to: 

IAO Headquarters - Tier Advancement
750 N. Lincoln Memorial Drive
Suite 422
Milwaukee, WI 53202 USA


Ongoing Maintenance of Diplomate Status

Beginning January 1, 2015 all IBO Diplomates will be subject to the IBO Recertification Policy to maintain Diplomate Status.
Please review the Diplomate Recertification Policy for more information.


IBO Diplomate Examination History and Development

Learn about the development of the IBO Diplomate Examination by reviewing these documents in this section.

The IBO Technical and Administrative Standards Report describes the development of the current version of the IBO Diplomate Exam. The Practice Analysis Survey (2006) was used to identify key knowledge areas for the Written Examination and the Table of Specificiations shows the direct relationship between questions on the Examination and different knowledge areas. These reports are intended for informational purposes to help candidates better understand the structure and content of the IBO Written Examination and how it relates to practice.

Also in this section is the 2013 IBO Written Exam Testing Statistics and Report. This document presents aggregate test result statistics generated from the 2013 Examination. All data is anonymous and is intended for informational purposes.