Orthotists and Prosthetists: Salary, career path, job outlook, education and more
- Education Required
- 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.
- Training Required
- 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.
- Job Outlook
The projected percent change in employment from 2016 to 2026: 22% (Much faster than average)
(The average growth rate for all occupations is 7 percent.)
- 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.
- Median pay: How much do Orthotists and Prosthetists make?
- $65,630 Annual Salary
- $31.55 per hour
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.
What do Orthotists and Prosthetists do?
Orthotists and prosthetists typically do the following:
- Evaluate and interview patients to determine their needs
- Take measurements or impressions of the part of a patient’s body that will be fitted with a brace or artificial limb
- Design and fabricate orthopedic and prosthetic devices based on physicians’ prescriptions
- Select materials to be used for the orthotic or prosthetic device
- Instruct patients in how to use and care for their devices
- Adjust, repair, or replace prosthetic and orthotic devices
- Document care in patients’ records
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.
Careers for Orthotists and Prosthetists
- American board certified orthotists
- Artificial limb fitters
- Certified orthotic fitters
- Certified prosthetists/orthotists
- Licensed orthotists
- Licensed prosthetists
- O&P professionals
- Orthotic/prosthetic practitioners