Orthotists and Prosthetists

Career, Salary and Education Information

What They Do: Orthotists and prosthetists design and fabricate medical supportive devices and measure and fit patients for them.

Work Environment: Orthotists and prosthetists work in various industries, including manufacturing, health and personal care stores, doctors’ offices, and hospitals. Most work full time.

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

Salary: The median annual wage for orthotists and prosthetists is $75,440.

Job Outlook: Employment of orthotists and prosthetists is projected to grow 17 percent over the next ten years, much faster than the average for all occupations.

Related Careers: Compare the job duties, education, job growth, and pay of orthotists and prosthetists with similar occupations.

Following is everything you need to know about a career as an orthotist or prosthetist with lots of details. As a first step, take a look at some of the following jobs, which are real jobs with real employers. You will be able to see the very real job career requirements for employers who are actively hiring. The link will open in a new tab so that you can come back to this page to continue reading about the career:

Top 3 Orthotist Jobs

  • CPO, Board-Eligible Orthotist/Prosthetist, Pedorthist - Bionics Orthotics and Prosthetics - San Diego, CA

    We are seeking a Certified Orthotist /Prosthetist, Board-Eligible Orthotist /Prosthetist, or Pedorthist to join our team for a full-time position in a multi-office, ABC certified, well-established ...

  • Prosthetist and/or Orthotist Clinician (CPO, CO, CP, Board Eligible) - Hanger Inc. - Portland, OR

    As a Prosthetist and/or Orthotist , you have dedicated yourself to improving the lives of the patients you serve. We recognize that in doing so you not only impact the lives of those you treat but of ...

  • Prosthetist / Orthotist (Certified) - Per Diem - Shriners Children's - Sacramento, CA

    We currently have an opportunity available for a Certified Orthotist or Certified Prosthetist/ Orthotist to join our Pediatric Orthotics and Prosthetics team. Responsibilities: This position is ...

See all Orthotist jobs

Top 3 Prosthetist Jobs

  • CPO, Board-Eligible Orthotist/Prosthetist, Pedorthist - Bionics Orthotics and Prosthetics - San Diego, CA

    We are seeking a Certified Orthotist/ Prosthetist , Board-Eligible Orthotist/ Prosthetist , or Pedorthist to join our team for a full-time position in a multi-office, ABC certified, well-established ...

  • Prosthetist and/or Orthotist Clinician (CPO, CO, CP, Board Eligible) - Hanger Inc. - Portland, OR

    As a Prosthetist and/or Orthotist, you have dedicated yourself to improving the lives of the patients you serve. We recognize that in doing so you not only impact the lives of those you treat but of ...

  • Certified Orthotist / Certified Prosthetist - Binson's Hospital Supplies Inc. - Livonia, MI

    Must be a Certified Orthotist/ Prosthetist (or board eligible) by the American Board for Certification in Orthotics and Prosthetics * Two or more years clinical experience in O&P * Full time position ...

See all Prosthetist jobs

What Orthotists and Prosthetists Do[About this section] [To Top]

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 of Orthotists and Prosthetists

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.

Work Environment for Orthotists and Prosthetists[About this section] [To Top]

Orthotists and prosthetists hold about 11,100 jobs. The largest employers of orthotists and prosthetists are as follows:

Medical equipment and supplies manufacturing 32%
Ambulatory healthcare services 30%
Health and personal care stores 12%
Hospitals; state, local, and private 9%
Federal government, excluding postal service 8%

Orthotists and prosthetists who fabricate orthotics and prosthetics may be exposed to health or safety hazards when handling certain materials, but there is little risk of injury if workers follow proper procedures, such as wearing goggles, gloves, and masks.

Orthotist and Prosthetist Work Schedules

Most orthotists and prosthetists work full time.

How to Become an Orthotist or Prosthetist[About this section] [To Top]

Get the education you need: Find schools for Orthotists and Prosthetists near you!

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

Education for Orthotists and Prosthetists

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 2016, there were about a dozen orthotics and prosthetics programs accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP).

Orthotist and Prosthetist 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 an 18-month residency in both orthotics and prosthetics.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations for Orthotists and Prosthetists

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) offers certification 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 for Orthotists and Prosthetists

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.

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.

Orthotist and Prosthetist Salaries[About this section] [More salary/earnings info] [To Top]

The median annual wage for orthotists and prosthetists is $75,440. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $41,730, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $124,040.

The median annual wages for orthotists and prosthetists in the top industries in which they work are as follows:

Medical equipment and supplies manufacturing $78,430
Federal government, excluding postal service $77,490
Ambulatory healthcare services $76,560
Health and personal care stores $64,550
Hospitals; state, local, and private $60,600

Most orthotists and prosthetists work full time.

Job Outlook for Orthotists and Prosthetists[About this section] [To Top]

Employment of orthotists and prosthetists is projected to grow 17 percent over the next ten years, much faster than the average for all occupations.

About 1,000 openings for orthotists and prosthetists are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.

Employment of Orthotists and Prosthetists

Demand for orthotists and prosthetists is projected to rise as the large baby-boom population continues to age. However, because it is a small occupation, the fast growth is expected to result in only about 1,900 new jobs over the decade.

The growing size of the older population and the consequent rise in age-related health issues, such as osteoarthritis and injuries from falls, will increase the need for devices that help improve bodily function and relieve pain. In addition, rising obesity rates will place greater demand on orthoses to alleviate foot and heel pain, and prosthetic care will be needed to address amputations and other complications from diabetes.

Trauma event survivors, such as those who have experienced industrial or car accidents, will need orthotic and prosthetic care to regain or improve mobility.

Employment projections data for Orthotists and Prosthetists, 2021-31
Occupational Title Employment, 2021 Projected Employment, 2031 Change, 2021-31
Percent Numeric
Orthotists and prosthetists 11,100 13,000 17 1,900


A portion of the information on this page is used by permission of the U.S. Department of Labor.


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