What do Orthotists and Prosthetists Do?
When a patient loses a part of their body, it is up to orthotists and prosthetists to rebuild it. These specialized medical professionals are responsible for fitting patients with the right prostheses or appliances to recover normal bodily function or appearance. This includes making accurate measurements, designing devices to fit specific needs and modifying those devices once fitted to the patient.
Orthotists and Prosthetists Skills and Abilities
Great customer service skills are necessary to deal professionally and helpfully with patients. You need to be service oriented to meet the needs of those around you whenever possible. Active listening and clear speaking skills will bolster the patient’s experience as you listen carefully to their needs and explain necessary details and procedures. You need to have communication skills and reading comprehension to accurately and efficiently give and follow directions, as well as make appropriate records. Reasoning and critical thinking skills help you create the best solution to patient problems.
Orthotists and Prosthetists Duties
Your main priority as an orthotist and prosthetist is to care for your patient’s needs. When you meet with a patient, you will need to conduct an interview and examination, making sure to make all necessary measurements or scans for the device they need. After you record patient information and input all measurements, you will be required to complete the following duties:
- Choose materials and parts needed to create device based on physician requirements.
- Design device to meet the needs of the patient, and complete or supervise the completion of the device.
- Fit patients with appliances and make any necessary adjustments, modifications or repairs using workbench tools.
- Train patients in care and use guidelines.
Orthotists and Prosthetists Tools and Technology
While you work with different injuries, you will be required to work with various tools. Cast cutters, knives, deburring tools, calipers and vacuum presses are some of the most common instruments you will come into contact with. Bench vises, belt sanders, alignment jigs, hammers and other workshop tools are necessary to design, build and modify appliances and prosthetics. You will need to be proficient in computers as you run various computer programs, such as scanning and imaging, medical and bookkeeping software.
Education and Training for Orthotists and Prosthetists
Education requirements range greatly for the orthoptist and prosthetist field. Many medical facilities require at least a master’s degree, but many employees can find employment with a bachelors or associate’s degree. Rehabilitation engineering, assistive technology, orthotist or prosthetist education programs provide the most relevant education for this job. An internship or residency is usually a requirement of a master’s program, but will need to be completed if you obtain less education.
Orthotists and Prosthetists Salary
The national averages for an orthoptist and prosthetist range between $35,000 and $110,000 per year. The middle 50 percent of employees, or the median average, earn $64,000 per year. Location plays a role in how much you can expect to receive. Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Maryland provide higher than average median rates of pay, between $81,000 and $96,000 per year. Arkansas, Kentucky and West Virginia pay the least, with median rates between $41,000 and $49,000 per year. Specializing in one area, such as veterans or children, may affect your rate of pay, as well.
Orthotists and Prosthetists Jobs by Geography
Orthotist and Prosthetist job availability is expected to increase by 36 percent over the next several years, but there already exists more than eight thousand positions in the country. Every year, there are 380 jobs that are anticipated to open to new hires. Some states may raise your chances of finding employment. California and Texas have the highest number of jobs, while Vermont, South Dakota and Maine have the lowest number.