Orthotists and Prosthetists

Health Science > Therapeutic Services

Projected Growth: Much faster than average

Projected Job Openings

Extensive Preparation Needed

Job Description

Your job is to Design, measure, fit, and adapt orthopedic braces, appliances or prostheses, such as limbs or facial parts for patients with disabling conditions.

Common job titles of Orthotists and Prosthetists include:

Experience and Education

Extensive skill, knowledge, and experience are needed for these occupations. Many require more than five years of experience. For example, surgeons must complete four years of college and an additional five to seven years of specialized medical training to be able to do their job.

  • 42.42% said they needed a Post-Baccalaureate Certificate.

  • 30.3% said they needed a Bachelor's Degree.

Tasks & Responsibilities

Essential Tasks

    Maintain patients' records.

    Fit, test, and evaluate devices on patients, and make adjustments for proper fit, function, and comfort.

    Train and supervise support staff, such as orthopedic and prosthetic assistants and technicians.

    Construct and fabricate appliances or supervise others constructing the appliances.

    Make and modify plaster casts of areas that will be fitted with prostheses or orthoses, for use in the device construction process.

    Design orthopedic and prosthetic devices, based on physicians' prescriptions and examination and measurement of patients.

    Select materials and components to be used, based on device design.

    Instruct patients in the use and care of orthoses and prostheses.

    Examine, interview, and measure patients to determine their appliance needs and to identify factors that could affect appliance fit.

Regular Tasks

    Repair, rebuild, and modify prosthetic and orthopedic appliances.

    Confer with physicians to formulate specifications and prescriptions for orthopedic or prosthetic devices.

    Research new ways to construct and use orthopedic and prosthetic devices.

    Show and explain orthopedic and prosthetic appliances to healthcare workers.

Occasional Tasks

    Update skills and knowledge by attending conferences and seminars.

    Publish research findings or present them at conferences and seminars.

What Tools and Technologies do Orthotists and Prosthetists use?


Workshop lathes

Workshop heat guns

Workshop bench vises


Vertical transfer jigs

Variable speed routers

Vacuum presses

All Tools

Vacuum molding systems

Utility knives

Tube reamers

Tube cutters

Trautman routers

Tablet computers

Surgical masks

Single-cut mill saw files


Scarpas knives

Safety goggles

Revolving punch pliers

Pressure transducers

Precision rulers

Power sanders

Power planers

Power drills

Power buffers

Pipe clamps

Personal digital assistants PDA

Personal computers

Medical measuring tapes

Medical examination protective gloves

Laser scanners

Laser levels

Laptop computers

Laboratory air circulating ovens

Infrared laboratory ovens

Industrial sewing machines

Holding tongs

Hand rasps

Half-round files

Grinding machines


Force platforms

Electromyographs EMG

Dust masks


Digital video cameras

Digital protractors

Digital calipers

Desktop computers

Deburring tools

Computer numerical controlled CNC milling machines

Claw hammers

Circular saws

Cast spreaders

Cast cutters

Bending irons

Belt sanders


Allen wrenches


Alibre Design

Autodesk AutoCAD

Healthcare common procedure coding system HCPCS

Infinity CAD Systems AutoSculpt

Intuit QuickBooks

Ohio Willow Wood OMEGA Tracer System

Polhemus FastSCAN

All Technologies

Seattle Systems Shapemaker

Vorum Research Corporation CANFIT-PLUS

American Orthotic and Prosthetic Association CodingPro

Artsco OrthoPro Complete

Computer aided manufacturing CAM software

Computer graphics software

Email software

Futura International O.P.S.

Gait analysis software

Gez Bowman THE O&P HUB


MedEvolve eCeno

OPIE Practice Management Suite

What Skills Do Orthotists and Prosthetists Need to Have?



Talking to others to convey information effectively.

Service Orientation

Actively looking for ways to help people.

Reading Comprehension

Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.

Active Listening

Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.

Critical Thinking

Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

Social Perceptiveness

Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.


Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.

Complex Problem Solving

Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.

Judgment and Decision Making

Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.

Active Learning

Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.


Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.

Operations Analysis

Analyzing needs and product requirements to create a design.


Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.

Quality Control Analysis

Conducting tests and inspections of products, services, or processes to evaluate quality or performance.

Learning Strategies

Selecting and using training/instructional methods and procedures appropriate for the situation when learning or teaching new things.


Teaching others how to do something.

Time Management

Managing one's own time and the time of others.


Cognitive Abilities › Verbal Abilities › Oral Comprehension

Listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.

Cognitive Abilities › Verbal Abilities › Written Comprehension

Read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.

Cognitive Abilities › Verbal Abilities › Oral Expression

Communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.

Cognitive Abilities › Idea Generation and Reasoning Abilities › Deductive Reasoning

Apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.

Cognitive Abilities › Idea Generation and Reasoning Abilities › Inductive Reasoning

Combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).

Cognitive Abilities › Idea Generation and Reasoning Abilities › Problem Sensitivity

Tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.

Cognitive Abilities › Verbal Abilities › Written Expression

Communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.

Cognitive Abilities › Spatial Abilities › Visualization

Imagine how something will look after it is moved around or when its parts are moved or rearranged.

Cognitive Abilities › Idea Generation and Reasoning Abilities › Category Flexibility

Generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.

Everything Orthotists and Prosthetists Should Know…


Medicine and Dentistry

Knowledge of the information and techniques needed to diagnose and treat human injuries, diseases, and deformities. This includes symptoms, treatment alternatives, drug properties and interactions, and preventive health-care measures.

Production and Processing

Knowledge of raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and other techniques for maximizing the effective manufacture and distribution of goods.

English Language

Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.


Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.


Knowledge of human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioral and affective disorders.


Knowledge of design techniques, tools, and principles involved in production of precision technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.

Engineering and Technology

Knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology. This includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services.

Administration and Management

Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.


Knowledge and prediction of physical principles, laws, their interrelationships, and applications to understanding fluid, material, and atmospheric dynamics, and mechanical, electrical, atomic and sub- atomic structures and processes.

Education and Training

Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.

Therapy and Counseling

Knowledge of principles, methods, and procedures for diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of physical and mental dysfunctions, and for career counseling and guidance.

Sales and Marketing

Knowledge of principles and methods for showing, promoting, and selling products or services. This includes marketing strategy and tactics, product demonstration, sales techniques, and sales control systems.


Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.


Knowledge of administrative and clerical procedures and systems such as word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office procedures and terminology.

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