Allied Health Professions/
Orthotist and Prosthetist
People lose limbs or suffer orthopedic impairment for many reasons, including accidents, combat injuries, birth defects and disease. Health care workers who specialize in orthotics and prosthetics (O&P) help these patients regain their mobility by fitting them with artificial limbs (prostheses) and orthopedic braces (orthoses).
This fascinating field encompasses a variety of specialized careers, each of which contributes to designing, making, fitting, modifying, repairing and maintaining O&P devices that make an immeasurable impact on an individual’s quality of life:
Many people enter this field because they or someone they know has benefited from a prosthetic or orthotic device. It is extremely rewarding to watch someone with a severe impairment regain lost abilities and enjoy new independence. Advances in technology, such as microprocessors, myoelectric joints and computer imaging, make this a particularly exciting time to be involved in O&P.
O&P professionals work in private practice, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, specialty clinics and laboratories devoted to the fabrication, modification and repair of O&P devices.
According to the 2013 American Orthotic and Prosthetic Association (AOPA) Benefits & Compensation Report, average compensation (base salary, bonus and commission) for the following job titles is:
Compensation varies based on many factors, e.g., geographical location, years of experience and inclusion or exclusion of fringe benefits.
Need for Orthotists and Prosthetists
The U.S. Department of Education lists O&P training as a “national priority with a practitioner deficit.” The need for O&P services is rising rapidly, due in part to increasing obesity, diabetes and an aging population. The ability to provide the most cost-effective and clinically appropriate O&P care will be dependent on having a large enough pool of well-educated certified orthotists and prosthetists.
About a Career as an Orthotist and Prosthetist
About Health Care Careers
Note: The American Academy of Orthotists and Prosthetists reviewed this career profile.
Save money and earn your bachelor's in health sciences or healthcare management more quickly with maximum credit transfer at Excelsior. Our low tuition makes it affordable for you to earn your degree from accredited college while you earn a living. Receive up to 32 credits for your health-related occupational license. Learn more about Excelsior College ...
Part 4: How to Attend College Without Going into Too Much Debt
Part 2: How to Attend College Without Going into Too Much Debt
Part 1: How to Attend College Without Going into Too Much Debt
How to Finance Your Health Sciences Education
Personal Responsibility: Financing Your Health Sciences Education
Applying for Financial Aid (Part II)
Why Diversity Matters in the Health Professions
Start Preparing for Your Health Care Career in High School
Reconciliation Act of 2010 Includes Significant Student Aid Provisions
Healthcare Reform 101
Keep Past Mistakes from Limiting Your Future Health Care Career
Top 10 Reasons to Pursue a Health Career Now
Training requirements vary depending on the type of orthotics and prosthetics (O&P) career you choose:
Students can sit for their certification exam after they complete a program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Allied Health Education (CAAHEP) and a one-year residency per discipline.
Search for funding opportunities related to this career
Search for enrichment programs related to this career
Search for academic degree and certificate programs related to this career
Allied Health Professions
Last updated: May 26, 2016
©2012 American Dental Education Association