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Working As a Pedorthist

  • 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

  • $92,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Pedorthist 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 A Pedorthist

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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Pedorthist Demographics

Gender

Male

53.7%

Female

35.2%

Unknown

11.1%
Ethnicity

White

61.0%

Hispanic or Latino

16.4%

Black or African American

11.3%

Asian

6.2%

Unknown

5.1%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

German

33.3%

Dutch

33.3%

Spanish

33.3%

Pedorthist Education

Schools

Michigan State University

9.5%

Monroe Community College

4.8%

University of Florida

4.8%

Tidewater Community College

4.8%

North Carolina State University

4.8%

Santiago Canyon College

4.8%

Platt College-Riverside

4.8%

Ohio State University

4.8%

University of Alabama

4.8%

Moraine Valley Community College

4.8%

Blinn College

4.8%

Saint Joseph's University

4.8%

Northwestern University

4.8%

St Clair County Community College

4.8%

Paul Mitchell The School Cincinnati

4.8%

California State University - Northridge

4.8%

Shoreline Community College

4.8%

San Jose State University

4.8%

Tarrant County College District

4.8%

Northwest Christian University

4.8%
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Majors

Business

16.7%

Management

13.3%

Marketing

6.7%

Medical Assisting Services

6.7%

Education

6.7%

Psychology

3.3%

General Education, Specific Areas

3.3%

Pharmacy

3.3%

Community Organization And Advocacy

3.3%

Legal Research And Advanced Professional Studies

3.3%

Management Information Systems

3.3%

Finance

3.3%

Cosmetology

3.3%

Engineering

3.3%

Computer Science

3.3%

Aviation

3.3%

Health Care Administration

3.3%

Human Resources Management

3.3%

Computer Applications

3.3%

General Sales

3.3%
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Degrees

Other

26.8%

Bachelors

24.4%

Masters

14.6%

Certificate

14.6%

Associate

12.2%

Diploma

7.3%
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