Orthotists & Prosthetists
Also called: Certified Orthotist (CO), Certified Prosthetist (CP), Certified Prosthetist and Orthotist (CPO), Orthotist
Produced by CareerOneStop
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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.
What they do:Design, measure, fit, and adapt orthopedic braces, appliances or prostheses, such as limbs or facial parts for patients with disabling conditions.
On the job, you would:
- Maintain patients' records.
- Fit, test, and evaluate devices on patients, and make adjustments for proper fit, function, and comfort.
- Examine, interview, and measure patients to determine their appliance needs and to identify factors that could affect appliance fit.
- customer service
Engineering and Technology
Arts and Humanities
- English language
Manufactured or Agricultural Goods
- manufacture and distribution of products
- reading work related information
- listening to others, not interrupting, and asking good questions
- noticing a problem and figuring out the best way to solve it
- looking for ways to help people
- understanding people's reactions
- read and understand what is written
- communicate by speaking
Ideas and Logic
- make general rules or come up with answers from lots of detailed information
- notice when problems happen
Hand and Finger Use
- keep your arm or hand steady
- put together small parts with your fingers
People interested in this work like activities that include helping people, teaching, and talking.
They do well at jobs that need:
- Concern for Others
- Attention to Detail
- Self Control
You might use software like this on the job:
Computer aided design CAD software
- Healthcare common procedure coding system HCPCS
- OPIE Practice Management Suite
- Medical Appliance Technicians
- Orthopedic Surgeons
- Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation Physicians
You might like a career in one of these industries: