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Orthotic and Prosthetic Technician Job Description, Career as a Orthotic and Prosthetic Technician, Salary, Employment

Definition and Nature of the Work, Education and Training Requirements, Getting the Job

Education and Training: Bachelor’s Degree

Average Salary: $46,000 Annually

Job Outlook: Very Good

Job Description

Orthotic and prosthetic technicians work with doctors and other members of medical teams to assist patients in need of artificial limbs or special equipment. They are often responsible for the actual measurement and fitting, and this can be a rather important part of the job itself. Their role is rather important as the fitting must be accurate to ensure that the patient has free range with this artificial limb.
Under the direction of the prosthetic doctor or other medical team members, they work to understand the specific needs of each patient. This often starts by making a molding of sorts of the amputated or severed area of the patient for which the prosthetic is required for. This will become an important part of the job as it is necessary to understand the size and specific specs of this area so that a proper prosthetic can be fixed to it appropriately.
Once this measurement is captured, then an orthotic and prosthetic technician may expect to be part of the construction phase to a certain extent. They may help with certain stages of this or they may be more involved with the patient care side of things depending on their specific employers. They are almost always responsible for fitting the prosthetic to the area that it is needed for, and ensuring that it fits and works well for that patient.
If any changes are needed, then patients usually look to the technician for that help. This may happen at the initial fitting, or it may come about later on if there are issues with the prosthetic limb that need to be addressed. They always work under the direction of the medical staff, but they are usually the first line of defense in dealing with the patients and their individual needs. They become rather well versed in what it takes to get a prosthetic working and may be part of the initial consultation for this as well.

Education and Training Requirements

Typically an orthotic and prosthetic technician receives a bachelor’s degree as part of their educational requirement. It’s essential that they complete certain coursework within this subject matter so that they are prepared for the job. It is usually expected or desired that an individual working within this field has a specialization within orthotics and prosthetics as this means that all of the necessary coursework is factored in. Otherwise it is highly desirable if an individual in this field works to finish coursework in a related area as it will become quite important within the job. There may be additional training required for this job as there may be new technologies or findings that they must work to understand.

Getting the Job

Though education may play a rather large role in getting a job in this field initially, it will only be of importance at the very beginning of a career. Beyond the initial stages, it is quite important that an individual gains valuable experience in the field. To move on within their career path, they need to gain experience both within patient care and the work that is associated with creating or fitting the artificial limb itself. They want to gain experience in every stage of the process so that they can bring that to the next job that they have. Employers will look for a variety of experience and this will help them to gain future employment.

Job Prospects, Employment Outlook, and Career Development

This is an excellent opportunity for somebody to enter as there are a great number of job opportunities. Those interested can expect to find a job without much trouble, as it is a very specialized type of career. This carries on into future employment as those working within the field who do a great job can expect to have no problem finding future job opportunities. This is an area that has experienced growth and is expected to continue to grow as the needs of patients arise. This is all good news for those interested in a career as an orthotic and prosthetic technician, and for those who wish to stick with it as a career for awhile.

Working Conditions and Environment

The conditions and environment may be stressful at times for an orthotic and prosthetic technician. As they are often dealing with patients who aren’t happy to be in their situation, this can mean rather difficult circumstances at times. Beyond that, they are also working to ensure great precision in their job and working to ensure that their patients are happy with the fittings and the use of their artificial limbs. This means that they must have great attention to detail, and of course be very precise. They must also be able to work under pressure and to be able to handle patient requests, always staying calm. They generally work in a doctor’s office or medical facility, and may have the support of a staff or team in their job.

Salary and Benefits

An orthotic and prosthetic technician can usually expect to earn around $46,000 annually. This may be more for an experienced individual, but there is always a bit of wiggle room depending on a number of factors. Though somebody just starting out in this field may expect to earn as low as $28,000, this is usually at the low end of the range. The level of experience that they possess as well as the geographical location and the type of employer may also play a rather large role in the actual salary earned. Most orthotic and prosthetic technicians may expect to earn rather generous benefits including good health insurance, paid time off, retirement savings account, and perhaps even tuition reimbursement in some cases.

Where to Go for More Information
Orthotic & Prosthetic Technological Association
720 Southland Avenue
Bushnell, Florida 33513-8394

Additional topics

Job Descriptions and Careers, Career and Job Opportunities, Career Search, and Career Choices and ProfilesManufacturing & Production