Orthotists and prosthetists essential career information:
- 2011 median pay: $62,670
- 2011, number of jobs: 7,890
- Employment growth forecast, 2010-2020: 12 percent
- Entry level education requirements: Master’s degree
Orthotists and prosthetists; what they do:
Orthotists and prosthetists help give individuals with missing limbs, or with other medical limitations, opportunities for more and easier movement via artificial limbs, braces, and other medical or surgical devices.
Orthotist careers and prosthetist careers include interviewing patients, determining their needs, and designing orthopedic and prosthetic devices around physicians’ prescriptions.
The process orthotists and prosthetists undergo when creating a new orthotic or prosthetic device involves measuring the patient’s body, creating a mold of the body part to be fitted with a brace or artificial limb, then fit, test, and make any necessary adjustments to the device.
Sometimes orthotists and prothetists have medical appliance technicians make their orthotic or prosthetic devices under their supervision.
An orthotist career and a prothetist career involve teaching patients how to use and best maintain their brace or artificial limb. If a device breaks, an orthotist or prothetist fixes it.
Orthotists and prothetists may work in both orthotics and prosthetics, or they may specialize in just one. Orthotists specifically work with medical supportive devices, while prosthetists specifically work with prostheses.
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Orthotists and prosthetists job titles:
- American Board Certified Orthotist (ABC Orthotist)
- Certified Orthotist
- Certified Prosthetist
- Certified Prosthetist/Orthotist (CPO)
- Licensed Prosthetist/Orthotist (LPO)
- Orthotist/Prosthetist Practitioner
Orthotists and Prosthetists Education, Certification and License Requirements
An orthotist career or prosthetist career begins with a Master of Orthotics and Prosthetics degree. Typically, master’s programs include clinical time to let students work under the direction of a professional orthotist and prosthetist.
A bachelor degree in any field qualifies a candidate to apply for a Master of Orthotics and Prosthetics program if the candidate meets the math and science prerequisites.
Orthotists and prosthetists programs cover subjects such as:
- Upper and lower extremity orthotics and prosthetics
- Spinal orthotics
- Plastics and other materials
- Human anatomy
- Gait analysis
Orthotist and prosthetist students must also complete a one-year residency in their specialty; if they choose to specialize in both orthotics and prosthetics, they must complete a one-year residency in each specialization.
After obtaining their master’s and completing their residency, orthotists and prosthetists may take the certification exam administered by the American Board for Certification in Orthotics, Prosthetics, and Pedorthics.
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Orthotists and Prosthetists Job Outlook
Forecast: 12 percent employment growth from 2010 to 2020 for orthotists and prosthetists, which is on par with the average for all occupations.
As the large baby boomer generation ages, their needs increases the demand for prothetists. Orthotists will also see a demand with the increased desire for orthopedic footwear and braces.
Orthotists and Prosthetists Salary
- 2011 median annual wage: $62,670
- 2011, workers at the 75th percentile annual wage: $85,960
- 2011, workers at the 25% percentile annual wage: $45,230
- Medical equipment and supplies manufacturing
- Health and personal care stores
- Offices of physicians
- Hospitals; state, local, and private
- Federal government; excluding postal services