Orthotic and Prosthetic Technicians

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 13,320 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 steel arch supports to fit a patient's foot according to prescriptions supplied by podiatrists, prosthetists, or orthotists.


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

Related Industries

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