Career Path for Prosthetists and Orthotists
If you have a desire to help individuals, have good people skills combined with good hand skills, and are looking for a unique and rewarding career, a career as a Prosthetist and/or Orthotist might be for you. Both the Prosthetic and Orthotic fields are very related to one another and the same certification body governs both disciplines. Most universities that provide a degree in Prosthetics also provide a degree in Orthotics. An individual who desires to pursue a career in this industry may decide to become a board Certified Prosthetist (CP), board Certified Orthotist (CO), or a board Certified Prosthetist-Orthotist (CPO). The field of prosthetics involves evaluation, design, fabrication, fitting and follow-up care for individuals suffering from amputation of an extremity. The field of orthotics involves evaluation, design, fabrication fitting and follow-up care of orthopedic bracing for individuals suffering from a weakness or deformity. Both the prosthetic and orthotic professions are unique in that they combine science, art, and an unyielding desire to improve the quality of life for patients. A board certified practitioner in this filed works closely with patients and their families, along with their physicians and physical therapists, to provide a comprehensive rehabilitation service. Prosthetists and Orthotists are trained medical professionals, completing courses in biology, physics, math and applied prosthetics/orthotic technology. There are currently two academic paths that an individual can take to obtain the required education to enter the profession.
The following describes the two educational options available:
• Educational Route Option 1 - Obtain a bachelors degree from an accredited school in prosthetics/orthotics, along with two years residency in the National Commission on Orthotic and Prosthetic Education [NCOPE] program. With this option a master’s degree is not required, and upon completion of this educational option, the student can sit for the board exams. There are separate exams for each discipline.
• Educational Route Option 2 - Obtain a four-year bachelors degree in any field, taking the required master’s prerequisite courses (AT LEAST 1 physics, 1 calculus, 1 psychology, 2 anatomy and physiology, 1 biology and 1 chemistry class). THEN, enter an accredited masters program for two years along with two years residency in the National Commission on Orthotic and Prosthetic Education [NCOPE] program. Upon completion of this educational option, the student can sit for the board exams.
An Individual may sit for board exams ONLY after you have successfully completed one of these educational options.
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