Nursing Education
Nursing Education Opportunities in Mississippi - 2006  <more..>
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Orthotist and Prosthetist


Orthotists and Prosthetists design, construct, and fit artificial limbs and orthopedic devices for patients with body deformities and disorders. Prosthetists specialize in designing and making artificial limbs, while Orthotists specialize in designing and fitting orthopedic braces such as surgical supports and corrective shoes. These professions are similar and an individual may be both an orthotist and a prosthetist, even though they deal with different abnormalities and designs. Some of there duties include reviewing prescriptions that specify the type of appliance to be made, performing examinations of the patient’s affected area, and making plaster casts to determine the type and design of the device needed. They use high-tech tools like computers to design these special devices, and more traditional tools such as hammers, drills, and rotary saws to manufacture them. Orthotists and Prosthetists take special care in selecting the appropriate materials and components so that the devices work properly. After the device is completed, they fit it on the patient and make adjustments to maximize comfort, alignment, and appearance. They also counsel patients on how to use the devices and proper maintenance. These professionals usually work with several technicians and assistants.

Work Environment:

Orthotists and Prosthetists may work independently in private offices or work in larger facilities. They may work in rehabilitation centers, laboratories, or hospitals. They often work in workshops, which are usually noisy and pose the possibility of injury due to the abundance of moving machinery.

High School Preparation:

Students interested in becoming a Prosthetist or Orthotist should take high school courses in algebra, geometry, biology, chemistry, physics, metal shop, woodworking, welding, English, computer skills, health occupations/medical professions education, psychology, and social studies.

College Requirements:

Individuals interested in a career as a Prosthetist or Orthotist must have a high school diploma or the equivalent. They must also complete a bachelor’s degree program in prosthetics or orthotics; them complete a residency program under a licensed professional. To become certified, an individual must take an examination given by the American Board for Certification in Orthotics and Prosthetics.

Students interested in orthotics or prosthetics should contact schools for information on admission and course of study.

For educational institutions in Mississippi
offering this course of study click here.

Career Outlook:

The career outlook for Prosthetists and Orthotists is excellent because this field is currently experiencing a shortage of trained professionals. There will also be an increase in demand for qualified technicians and assistants. Even though medical technology has grown by leaps and bounds, there are many injuries and deformities that cannot be corrected by surgery and other procedures. For individuals that have good hand-eye coordination and manual dexterity and enjoy collaborating with other professionals, a career in orthotics and prosthetics would be very rewarding.




Average Annual Salary



Salary Range



Professional Organizations:


Organization of Orthotic and Prosthetic Association (AOPA)

330 John Carlyle Street, Suite 200
Alexandria, VA 22314
Phone: (571) 431-0876

Fax: (571) 431-0899


The American Academy of Orthotists & Prosthetists

526 King Street,

Suite 201
Alexandria, VA 22314

Phone: (703) 836-0788

Fax: (703) 836-0737  


The American Board for Certification in Orthotics and Prosthetics
330 John Carlyle Street, Suite 210
Alexandria, VA 22314
Phone: (703) 836-7114

Fax: (703) 836-0838

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