What They Do: Orthotists and prosthetists design and fabricate medical supportive devices and measure and fit patients for them.
Work Environment: Orthotists and prosthetists work in various industries, including manufacturing, health and personal care stores, doctors’ offices, and hospitals. Most work full time.
How to Become One: Orthotists and prosthetists need a master’s degree and certification. Both orthotists and prosthetists must complete a residency before they can be certified.
Salary: The median annual wage for orthotists and prosthetists is $68,410.
Job Outlook: Employment of orthotists and prosthetists is projected to grow 17 percent over the next ten years, much faster than the average for all occupations. The large baby-boom population is aging, and orthotists and prosthetists will be needed because both diabetes and cardiovascular disease, the two leading causes of limb loss, are more common among older people.
Related Careers: Compare the job duties, education, job growth, and pay of orthotists and prosthetists with similar occupations.
Following is everything you need to know about a career as an orthotist or prosthetist with lots of details. As a first step, take a look at some of the following jobs, which are real jobs with real employers. You will be able to see the very real job career requirements for employers who are actively hiring. The link will open in a new tab so that you can come back to this page to continue reading about the career:
Are you a motivated Certified Orthotist based in the United States looking for an opportunity for career advancement with a dynamic organization? Bionic is the place for you! Bionic Prosthetics and ...
The focus for this position is spine, extremity orthotics , & cranial remolding helmets, and is based within our hospital location. Evaluates, casts, measures, designs, fabricates, and fits all types ...
Reporting Line The Certified Prosthetist ( Orthotist ) reports directly to the Clinical Manager and the National Clinical Director. Essential Job Functions Collaborate with physicians in the evaluation ...
Purpose / Role Summary The Certified Prosthetist manages day to day clinical care at the Martin Bionics Clinic in which they practice and works with other staff members in the clinic setting to ...
As a Prosthetist and/or Orthotist, you have dedicated yourself to improving the lives of the patients you serve. We recognize that in doing so you not only impact the lives of those you treat but of ...
Serves as a resource for orthotic and prosthetic technical staff. Major Job Responsibilities: * Independently evaluates and provides orthoses/prostheses to patients of all ages according to ...
Orthotists and prosthetists design and fabricate medical supportive devices and measure and fit patients for them. These devices include artificial limbs (arms, hands, legs, and feet), braces, and other medical or surgical devices.
Orthotists and prosthetists typically do the following:
Orthotists and prosthetists may work in both orthotics and prosthetics, or they may choose to specialize in one area. Orthotists are specifically trained to work with medical supportive devices, such as spinal or knee braces. Prosthetists are specifically trained to work with prostheses, such as artificial limbs and other body parts.
Some orthotists and prosthetists construct devices for their patients. Others supervise the construction of the orthotic or prosthetic devices by medical appliance technicians.
Orthotists and prosthetists hold about 10,000 jobs. The largest employers of orthotists and prosthetists are as follows:
|Ambulatory healthcare services||28%|
|Medical equipment and supplies manufacturing||26%|
|Health and personal care stores||21%|
|Hospitals; state, local, and private||10%|
|Federal government, excluding postal service||9%|
Orthotists and prosthetists who fabricate orthotics and prosthetics may be exposed to health or safety hazards when handling certain materials, but there is little risk of injury if workers follow proper procedures, such as wearing goggles, gloves, and masks.
Most orthotists and prosthetists work full time.
Get the education you need: Find schools for Orthotists and Prosthetists near you!
Orthotists and prosthetists need a master's degree and certification. Both orthotists and prosthetists must complete a residency before they can be certified.
All orthotists and prosthetists must complete a master's degree in orthotics and prosthetics. These programs include courses in upper and lower extremity orthotics and prosthetics, spinal orthotics, and plastics and other materials used for fabrication. In addition, orthotics and prosthetics programs have a clinical component in which the student works under the direction of an orthotist or prosthetist.
Master's programs usually take 2 years to complete. Prospective students seeking a master's degree can have a bachelor's degree in any discipline if they have fulfilled prerequisite courses in science and math. Requirements vary by program.
In 2016, there were about a dozen orthotics and prosthetics programs accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP).
Following graduation from a master's degree program, candidates must complete a residency that has been accredited by the National Commission on Orthotic and Prosthetic Education (NCOPE). Candidates typically complete a 1-year residency program in either orthotics or prosthetics. Individuals who want to become certified in both orthotics and prosthetics need to complete 1 year of residency training for each specialty or an 18-month residency in both orthotics and prosthetics.
Some states require orthotists and prosthetists to be licensed. States that license orthotists and prosthetists often require certification in order for them to practice, although requirements vary by state. Many orthotists and prosthetists become certified regardless of state requirements, because certification demonstrates competence.
The American Board for Certification in Orthotics, Prosthetics & Pedorthics (ABC) offers certification for orthotists and prosthetists. To earn certification, a candidate must complete a CAAHEP-accredited master's program, an NCOPE-accredited residency program, and pass a series of three exams.
Communication skills. Orthotists and prosthetists must be able to communicate effectively with the technicians who often fabricate the medical devices. They must also be able to explain to patients how to use and care for the devices.
Detail oriented. Orthotists and prosthetists must be precise when recording measurements to ensure that devices are fabricated and fit properly.
Patience. Orthotists and prosthetists may work for long periods with patients who need special attention.
Physical dexterity. Orthotists and prosthetists must be good at working with their hands. They may fabricate orthotics or prosthetics with intricate mechanical parts.
Physical stamina. Orthotists and prosthetists should be comfortable performing physical tasks, such as working with shop equipment and hand tools. They may spend a lot of time bending over or crouching to examine or measure patients.
Problem-solving skills. Orthotists and prosthetists must evaluate their patients' situations and often look for creative solutions to their rehabilitation needs.
The median annual wage for orthotists and prosthetists is $68,410. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $41,360, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $108,130.
The median annual wages for orthotists and prosthetists in the top industries in which they work are as follows:
|Medical equipment and supplies manufacturing||$74,400|
|Federal government, excluding postal service||$71,480|
|Ambulatory healthcare services||$69,710|
|Health and personal care stores||$63,600|
|Hospitals; state, local, and private||$63,270|
Most orthotists and prosthetists work full time.
Employment of orthotists and prosthetists is projected to grow 17 percent over the next ten years, much faster than the average for all occupations. However, because it is a small occupation, the fast growth will result in only about 1,700 new jobs over the 10-year period.
The large baby-boom population is aging, and orthotists and prosthetists will be needed because both diabetes and cardiovascular disease, two leading causes of limb loss, are more common among older people. In addition, older people will continue to need other devices designed and fitted by orthotists and prosthetists, such as braces and orthopedic footwear.
Advances in technology are allowing more people to survive traumatic events. Patients with traumatic injuries, such as some veterans, will continue to need orthotists and prosthetists to create devices that allow the patients to regain or improve mobility and functionality.
Job prospects should be best for orthotists and prosthetists with professional certification. Although it is not required in all states, certification shows a specific level of educational knowledge and training that employers may prefer.
|Occupational Title||Employment, 2019||Projected Employment, 2029||Change, 2019-29|
|Orthotists and prosthetists||10,000||11,700||17||1,700|
A portion of the information on this page is used by permission of the U.S. Department of Labor.