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Home > Healthcare Careers > Therapy > Orthotist/Prosthetist

Discover a Career as an Orthotist or Prosthetist

What does an Orthotist or Prosthetist do?

Orthotists and prosthetists help patients who need custom-made artificial limbs or orthopedic braces. Orthotists design, fabricate and fit external orthopedic braces or orthoses to support weakened body parts or correct physical impairments. Prosthetists create custom-designed artificial limbs or prostheses. While they deal with different challenges, designs and patients, orthotist and prosthetist professionals may choose to pursue one or both disciplines.

What might an Orthotist or Prosthetist do in a workday?

Orthotists and prosthetists:

  • play integral roles with the health care and rehabilitation teams.
  • assess patients to note any factors that could influence design of devices and materials.
  • measure, cast, align and fit orthoses and prostheses.
  • design devices to offer patients increased or full mobility and independence.
  • select materials/components and give device specifications to technicians.
  • adjust devices for comfort, alignment and appearance.
  • counsel patients on how to use devices.
  • maintain and repair devices.

Orthotists and prosthetists may be supported by orthotist and prosthetist assistants, technicians and/or fitters, depending on patients' needs.

How much salary do Orthotists and Prosthetists make?

Average Salary Range
$45,000-$69,000

How do I become an Orthotist or Prosthetist?

Students interested in these professions should take challenging high school course work, including science, math and English classes.

Certified prosthetists, certified orthotists or certified prosthetists/orthotists must have a bachelor’s degree in prosthetics and orthotics and complete a one-year residency per discipline before being eligible for the national certification exam. Or, one may also complete a post-baccalaureate certificate program and one-year residency per discipline before being eligible for the national certification exam.

Employers may require that orthotists, prosthetists, assistants and technicians be certified/registered by the American Board for Certification in Orthotics, Prosthetics and Pedorthics Inc. or be licensed by the state.

Where else can I learn about becoming an Orthotist or Prosthetist?

Professional Associations:

American Academy of Orthotists and Prosthetists
1331 H St., N.W.
Suite 501
Washington, DC 20005
(202) 380-3663
www.oandp.org

American Orthotic and Prosthetic Association
330 John Carlyle Street
Suite 200
Alexandria, VA 22314
(571) 431-0876
www.aopanet.org

American Board for Certification in Orthotics, Prosthetics and Pedorthics Inc.
330 John Carlyle Street
Suite 210
Alexandria, VA 22314
(703) 836-7114
www.abcop.org

National Commission on Orthotic and Prosthetic Education
330 John Carlyle Street
Suite 200
Alexandria, VA 22314
(703) 836-7114
www.ncope.org

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