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Working As an Orthotist/Prosthetist

  • Getting Information
  • Assisting and Caring for Others
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Documenting/Recording Information
  • Performing for or Working Directly with the Public
  • Deal with People

  • Unpleasant/Hazardous Environment

  • Make Decisions

  • $86,000

    Average Salary

What Does An Orthotist/Prosthetist Do

Orthotists and prosthetists design and fabricate medical supportive devices and measure and fit patients for them. These devices include artificial limbs (arms, hands, legs, and feet), braces, and other medical or surgical devices. 

Duties

Orthotists and prosthetists typically do the following:

  • Evaluate and interview patients to determine their needs
  • Take measurements or impressions of the part of a patient’s body that will be fitted with a brace or artificial limb
  • Design and fabricate orthopedic and prosthetic devices based on physicians’ prescriptions
  • Select materials to be used for the orthotic or prosthetic device
  • Instruct patients in how to use and care for their devices
  • Adjust, repair, or replace prosthetic and orthotic devices
  • Document care in patients’ records

Orthotists and prosthetists may work in both orthotics and prosthetics, or they may choose to specialize in one area. Orthotists are specifically trained to work with medical supportive devices, such as spinal or knee braces. Prosthetists are specifically trained to work with prostheses, such as artificial limbs and other body parts.

Some orthotists and prosthetists construct devices for their patients. Others supervise the construction of the orthotic or prosthetic devices by medical appliance technicians.

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How To Become An Orthotist/Prosthetist

Orthotists and prosthetists need a master’s degree and certification. Both orthotists and prosthetists must complete a residency before they can be certified.

Education

All orthotists and prosthetists must complete a master’s degree in orthotics and prosthetics. These programs include courses in upper and lower extremity orthotics and prosthetics, spinal orthotics, and plastics and other materials used for fabrication. In addition, orthotics and prosthetics programs have a clinical component in which the student works under the direction of an orthotist or prosthetist.

Master’s programs usually take 2 years to complete. Prospective students seeking a master’s degree can have a bachelor’s degree in any discipline if they have fulfilled prerequisite courses in science and math. Requirements vary by program.

In 2015, there were 13 orthotics and prosthetics programs accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Program​ (CAAHEP).

Training

Following graduation from a master’s degree program, candidates must complete a residency that has been accredited by the National Commission on Orthotic and Prosthetic Education (NCOPE). Candidates typically complete a 1-year residency program in either orthotics or prosthetics. Individuals who want to become certified in both orthotics and prosthetics need to complete 1 year of residency training for each specialty or, less commonly, an 18-month residency in both orthotics and prosthetics.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Some states require orthotists and prosthetists to be licensed. States that license orthotists and prosthetists often require certification in order for them to practice, although requirements vary by state. Many orthotists and prosthetists become certified regardless of state requirements, because certification demonstrates competence.

The American Board for Certification in Orthotics, Prosthetics & Pedorthics (ABC) and the Board of Certification/Accreditation (BOC) offer certifications for orthotists and prosthetists. To earn certification, a candidate must complete a CAAHEP-accredited master’s program, an NCOPE-accredited residency program, and pass a series of three exams.

Important Qualities

Communication skills. Orthotists and prosthetists must be able to communicate effectively with the technicians who often fabricate the medical devices. They must also be able to explain to patients how to use and care for the devices.

Detail oriented. Orthotists and prosthetists must be precise when recording measurements to ensure that devices are fabricated and fit properly.

Leadership skills. Orthotists and prosthetists who work in their own offices must be effective leaders. They must be able to manage a staff of other professionals in their office.

Patience. Orthotists and prosthetists may work for long periods with patients who need special attention.

Physical dexterity. Orthotists and prosthetists must be good at working with their hands. They may fabricate orthotics or prosthetics with intricate mechanical parts.

Physical stamina. Orthotists and prosthetists should be comfortable performing physical tasks, such as working with shop equipment and hand tools. They may spend a lot of time bending over or crouching to examine or measure patients.

Problem-solving skills. Orthotists and prosthetists must evaluate their patients’ situations and often look for creative solutions to their rehabilitation needs.

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Do you work as an Orthotist/Prosthetist?

Average Yearly Salary
$86,000
Show Salaries
$39,000
Min 10%
$86,000
Median 50%
$86,000
Median 50%
$86,000
Median 50%
$86,000
Median 50%
$86,000
Median 50%
$86,000
Median 50%
$86,000
Median 50%
$188,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Fairview Health Services
Highest Paying City
Clifton, NJ
Highest Paying State
Alaska
Avg Experience Level
6.7 years
How much does an Orthotist/Prosthetist make at top companies?
The national average salary for an Orthotist/Prosthetist in the United States is $86,247 per year or $41 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $39,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $188,000.

Real Orthotist/Prosthetist Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Orthotist&Prosthetist/Area Practice Manager Hanger, Inc. Las Vegas, NV Mar 15, 2015 $165,000
Orthotist/Prosthetist-Clinic Manager Hanger, Inc. Carmichael, CA Aug 14, 2015 $121,243
Orthotist/Prosthetist-Clinic Manager Hanger, Inc. Sacramento, CA Aug 14, 2015 $121,243
Orthotist/Prosthetist Hanger, Inc. Reno, NV Feb 17, 2016 $120,000
Orthotist/Prosthetist-Clinic Manager Hanger, Inc. Folsom, CA Apr 06, 2016 $115,149
Senior Orthotist/Prosthetist Beverly Orthopedic Lab, Inc. Montebello, CA Jun 28, 2015 $110,000
Prosthetist/Orthotist Hermann Medical Supplies II, Inc. Houston, TX Apr 18, 2011 $110,000
Orthotist/Prosthetist-Clinic Manager Hanger, Inc. Folsom, CA Oct 26, 2016 $101,000
Orthotist & Prosthetist/Clinic Manager Hanger, Inc. Folsom, CA Jun 03, 2013 $101,000
Orthotist&Prosthetist Hanger, Inc. Reno, NV Jan 01, 2015 $100,160
Prosthetist/Orthotist Hanger, Inc. Greenbelt, MD Dec 13, 2012 $100,012
Orthotist and Prosthetist Hanger Orthopedic Group, Inc. West Orange, NJ Mar 07, 2011 $100,000 -
$135,000
Staff Orthotist Prosthetist Orpro Inc. Greenbelt, MD Jun 01, 2012 $100,000
Orthotist/Prosthetist Hanger, Inc. Las Vegas, NV Feb 09, 2015 $100,000
Orthotist/Prosthetist Hanger, Inc. Whittier, CA Dec 02, 2013 $82,591
Prosthetist/Orthotist Wright & Filippis, Inc. Rochester Hills, MI Apr 27, 2012 $82,000
Prosthetist/Orthotist Wright & Filippis, Inc. Rochester Hills, MI Apr 27, 2015 $82,000
Orthotist and Prosthetist-Staff Practitioner Hanger, Inc. Carmichael, CA Jun 20, 2012 $80,808
Orthotist and Prosthetist-Staff Practitioner Hanger Orthopedic Group, Inc. Carmichael, CA Jun 11, 2012 $80,808
Orthotist and Prosthetist-Staff Practitioner Hanger Orthopedic Group, Inc. Sacramento, CA Jun 24, 2011 $80,000
Prosthetist & Orthotist Bionic Prosthetics & Orthotics Group, LLC Merrillville, IN Nov 29, 2012 $65,000
Prosthetist/Orthotist Hanger, Inc. Johnson City, NY Sep 01, 2013 $65,000
Prosthetist/Orthotist Hanger, Inc. Elmira, NY Apr 17, 2013 $65,000
Orthotist/Prosthetist Beverly Orthopedic Lab, Inc. Montebello, CA Jun 28, 2012 $65,000
Orthotist/Prosthetist Beverly Orthopedic Lab, Inc. Montebello, CA Jul 02, 2012 $65,000
Orthotist/Prosthetist Resident Hanger, Inc. Amherst, NY May 16, 2015 $62,587
Staff Orthotist Prosthetist Orpro Inc. Richmond, IN Sep 01, 2012 $62,400
Orthotists and Prosthetists Orthopedic Arts Laboratory, Inc. New York, NY Dec 04, 2013 $62,088

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Top 10 Best States for Orthotist/Prosthetists

  1. West Virginia
  2. New Jersey
  3. Connecticut
  4. Massachusetts
  5. Alaska
  6. New Hampshire
  7. Rhode Island
  8. Louisiana
  9. Pennsylvania
  10. Delaware
  • (2 jobs)
  • (9 jobs)
  • (1 jobs)
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  • (0 jobs)
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  • (2 jobs)
  • (9 jobs)
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Orthotist/Prosthetist Demographics

Gender

Male

65.9%

Female

22.7%

Unknown

11.4%
Ethnicity

White

52.0%

Hispanic or Latino

19.7%

Unknown

11.1%

Black or African American

8.7%

Asian

8.4%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Urdu

100.0%

Orthotist/Prosthetist Education

Schools

New York University

9.1%

Northwestern University

9.1%

Eastern Michigan University

4.5%

University of California - Los Angeles

4.5%

DPT Business School

4.5%

University of Oklahoma

4.5%

Washington State University

4.5%

Washington University in Saint Louis

4.5%

Hartwick College

4.5%

South University

4.5%

Los Angeles Pierce College

4.5%

Saint Petersburg College

4.5%

University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center

4.5%

Grand Valley State University

4.5%

Clarkson University

4.5%

Rio Hondo College

4.5%

University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee

4.5%

University of Maine

4.5%

Georgia State University

4.5%

Texas A&M University

4.5%
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Majors

Kinesiology

14.7%

Health Sciences And Services

11.8%

Physical Therapy

8.8%

Business

8.8%

Biology

5.9%

Biomedical Engineering

5.9%

Special Education

5.9%

Physiology And Anatomy

2.9%

Clinical/Medical Laboratory Science

2.9%

Mental Health Counseling

2.9%

Computer Information Systems

2.9%

Music

2.9%

Graphic Communications

2.9%

General Studies

2.9%

Mechanical Engineering

2.9%

Health/Medical Preparatory Programs

2.9%

Health Care Administration

2.9%

Ecology, Population Biology, And Epidemiology

2.9%

Supply Chain Management

2.9%

English

2.9%
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Degrees

Bachelors

32.4%

Masters

24.3%

Doctorate

13.5%

Certificate

10.8%

Associate

10.8%

Other

5.4%

Diploma

2.7%
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Updated May 19, 2020