Orthotic and Prosthetic Technicians

Orthotic Technician Adjusts Prosthetic

Orthotic technicians and prosthetic technicians (also known as medical appliance technicians) make, fit, repair, and maintain orthotic and prosthetic devices according to specifications and under the guidance of orthotists and prosthetists. Orthotic devices, sometimes also referred to as orthopedic appliances, are braces used to support weak or ineffective joints or muscles or to correct physical defects, such as spinal deformities. Prosthetic devices are artificial limbs and plastic cosmetic devices. These devices are designed and fitted to the patient by prosthetists or orthotists. Orthotic and prosthetic technicians read the specifications prepared by orthotists and prosthetists to determine the materials and tools required to make the device. Part of their work involves making models of patients' torsos, limbs, or amputated areas. Most of the technicians' efforts, however, go into the actual building of the devices. Some technicians specialize in either orthotic devices or prosthetic devices, while others are trained and able to work with both types. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, orthotic and prosthetic technicians hold approximately 14,640 jobs. The American Academy of Orthotists and Prosthetists claims that 100 percent of all orthotic and prosthetic graduates are employed. 

A technician whose work is closely related to that of the orthotic and prosthetic technician is the arch-support technician. Arch-support technicians make arch supports to fit a patient's foot according to prescriptions supplied by podiatrists, prosthetists, or orthotists.

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Quick Facts
Alternate Title(s) Arch-Support Technicians, Medical Appliance Technicians, O and P Technicians
Duties Build, test, maintain, and repair orthotic and prosthetic devices
Salary Range Below $25,000 to $75,000
Work Environment Primarily Indoors
Best Geographical Location(s) Nationwide; most opportunities available in major metropolitan cities
Minimum Education Level
  • High School Diploma
  • Some Postsecondary Training
School Subjects
  • Art
  • Biology
  • Technical/Shop
Experience On-the-job training
Personality Traits
  • Creative
  • Hands On
  • Technical
  • Drawing/Design
  • Math
  • Mechanical/Manual Dexterity
Certification or Licensing None
Special Requirements None
Employment Prospects Excellent
Advancement Prospects Good
Outlook Faster than the Average
Career Ladder
  • Orthotist or Prosthetist
  • Orthotic and Prosthetic Assistant
  • Orthotic and Prosthetic Technician
  • Trainee

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