Orthotists and Prosthetists Career Video
Description: Design, measure, fit, and adapt orthopedic braces, appliances or prostheses, such as limbs or facial parts for patients with disabling conditions.
Whether the patient they’re caring for is a child born with one leg shorter than the other, or a veteran who lost a limb in combat… orthotists and prosthetists help people get the medical support devices they need. Orthotists and prosthetists interview patients and evaluate their unique situation to design a custom device or solution. They take detailed measurements or impressions and select appropriate materials for the device, which might include artificial arms, hands, legs, feet, or braces. They may either fabricate the device, or supervise a technician who constructs the device according to their specifications. Once a piece is finished, orthotists and prosthetists meet with patients to instruct them on how to use and maintain their device. While both have training to make any type of device, if they specialize, orthotists specifically work with supportive devices such as spinal or knee braces, while prosthetists specialize in prostheses such as artificial limbs. Stamina and dexterity are important in both fields to operate shop equipment, examine patients, and build with intricate mechanical parts. Most orthotists and prosthetists work full time in manufacturing facilities, retail stores, doctors’ offices, and hospitals. A master’s degree, one-year residency, and certification are typically required. Graduate programs include courses in working with plastics and other materials, as well as supervised clinical experience. Some states require licensure.