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Prosthetist Careers

What Does a 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.

How To Become a 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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Average Salary
$65,129
Average Salary
Job Growth Rate
20%
Job Growth Rate
Job Openings
83
Job Openings

Average Salary for a Prosthetist

Prosthetists in America make an average salary of $65,129 per year or $31 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $151,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $27,000 per year.
Average Salary
$65,129

Best Paying Cities

City
ascdesc
Average Salarydesc
Dearborn, MI
Salary Range51k - 115k$77k$77,216
Middletown, NY
Salary Range52k - 113k$77k$76,946
Las Vegas, NV
Salary Range51k - 112k$76k$75,951
Peoria, IL
Salary Range47k - 109k$72k$72,252
Pittsburgh, PA
Salary Range48k - 105k$71k$71,248
Hilliard, OH
Salary Range45k - 103k$69k$68,885
$40k
$115k

Recently Added Salaries

Job TitleCompanyascdescCompanyascdescStart DateascdescSalaryascdesc
Prosthetist
Prosthetist
Cameron Craig Group
Cameron Craig Group
11/19/2019
11/19/2019
$55,00011/19/2019
$55,000
Educational Prosthetist
Educational Prosthetist
Willowwood Global LLC
Willowwood Global LLC
05/30/2019
05/30/2019
$80,00005/30/2019
$80,000
Prosthetist
Prosthetist
Veterans Affairs, Veterans Health Administration
Veterans Affairs, Veterans Health Administration
05/24/2019
05/24/2019
$35,39005/24/2019
$35,390
Educational Prosthetist
Educational Prosthetist
Ohio Willow Wood Company
Ohio Willow Wood Company
05/02/2019
05/02/2019
$80,00005/02/2019
$80,000
Educational Prosthetist
Educational Prosthetist
Ohio Willow Wood Company
Ohio Willow Wood Company
04/12/2017
04/12/2017
$80,00004/12/2017
$80,000
See More Recent Salaries

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Prosthetist Demographics

Gender

male

68.4 %

female

23.7 %

unknown

7.9 %

Ethnicity

White

63.4 %

Black or African American

14.3 %

Hispanic or Latino

11.2 %

Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

100.0 %
See More Demographics

Prosthetist Education

Degrees

Bachelors

42.4 %

Certificate

30.3 %

Masters

12.1 %

Top Colleges for Prosthetists

1. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Chapel Hill, NC • Public

In-State Tuition
$8,987
Enrollment
18,946

2. University of Southern California

Los Angeles, CA • Private

In-State Tuition
$56,225
Enrollment
19,548

3. Duke University

Durham, NC • Private

In-State Tuition
$55,695
Enrollment
6,596

4. University of Washington

Seattle, WA • Public

In-State Tuition
$11,207
Enrollment
30,905

5. New York University

New York, NY • Private

In-State Tuition
$51,828
Enrollment
26,339

6. Boston University

Boston, MA • Private

In-State Tuition
$53,948
Enrollment
17,238

7. University of Minnesota - Twin Cities

Minneapolis, MN • Public

In-State Tuition
$14,760
Enrollment
31,451

8. Howard University

Washington, DC • Private

In-State Tuition
$26,756
Enrollment
6,166

9. Ohio State University

Columbus, OH • Public

In-State Tuition
$10,726
Enrollment
45,769

10. University of Michigan - Ann Arbor

Ann Arbor, MI • Public

In-State Tuition
$15,262
Enrollment
30,079
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Full Time
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Internship
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Best States For a Prosthetist

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a prosthetist. The best states for people in this position are Rhode Island, Delaware, California, and Alaska. Prosthetists make the most in Rhode Island with an average salary of $98,743. Whereas in Delaware and California, they would average $95,223 and $87,220, respectively. While prosthetists would only make an average of $80,370 in Alaska, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. Rhode Island

Total Prosthetist Jobs:
0
Highest 10% Earn:
$185,000
Location Quotient:
0
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

2. Delaware

Total Prosthetist Jobs:
0
Highest 10% Earn:
$177,000
Location Quotient:
0
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

3. Michigan

Total Prosthetist Jobs:
2
Highest 10% Earn:
$153,000
Location Quotient:
0.83
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here
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Top Prosthetist Employers

1. Ohio Willow Wood
3.8
Avg. Salary: 
$113,041
Prosthetists Hired: 
5+
2. Wright & Filippis
4.6
Avg. Salary: 
$61,050
Prosthetists Hired: 
5+
3. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
4.8
Avg. Salary: 
$43,217
Prosthetists Hired: 
1+
4. Wright
3.9
Avg. Salary: 
$44,645
Prosthetists Hired: 
1+
5. Cameron Group
4.5
Avg. Salary: 
$74,646
Prosthetists Hired: 
1+