dcsimg



Schools in the USA
Back to Career Search     

Orthotist


Description

When bad accidents happen and diseases attack the human body, people are sometimes faced with deformities and the loss of limbs. Many war veterans also get injured in combat, with the same results. Body abnormalities which prevent people from functioning properly can be very emotionally and physically disabling for people, especially when they must learn to live with the disability. However, there are solutions to help people in these situations. Orthotists design, make and fit appliances used to support weakened body parts and correct body defects under the penmarks of a doctor's prescription.

Similar to their prosthetist cousins, who make artificial limbs, orthotists are in the business of making neck, back and leg braces, and surgical supports. In fact, orthotists and prosthetists follow basically the same procedures in their work although each deals with different abnormalities, designs, and patients. Orthotists may specialize in prosthetics or orthotics, or work on both types of appliances.

Orthotists are unique paramedical professionals as they provide biomechanical devices to physically disabled persons to enable them to function better. An orthotist specializes in planning, making, and fitting orthopedic braces and similar devices such as surgical supports and corrective shoes. These are used to support weakened body parts or to correct physical defects. They change people's lives by giving them an artificial advantage through a brace.

Once a doctor writes a prescription, the patient visits the orthotist who then designs the appliance that has been prescribed. The clinician takes the measurements and moulds necessary to fabricate the appliance. For example, if the appliance prescribed is a leg brace, the orthotist must design one based on the proper length, shoe size, width and other important factors.

Orthotists also make plaster casts of the limbs that the ortheses will be attached to. This is necessary to make sure that the new appliances fit properly and cause as little discomfort as possible. Once the orthotist and patient determine the design and materials, orthotists will supervise technicians while they build the appliances. When the appliance is ready, the orthotist then fits the device, and makes any adjustments necessary to ensure optimal functional use by the patient. They might provide counselling on how to use the appliance and recommend therapy.

Orthotists may help people with cerebral palsy, hemophilia, osteogenesis imperfecta, spina bifida, diabetes, multiple sclerosis and malformation of the bones. Other reasons for braces include fractures, brain damage, muscle, tendon, and cartilage tears, and spinal cord injuries.
 
View Schools for this Career: 
         Related Careers
arrow Advanced Care Paramedic
arrow Anesthesiologists
arrow Animal Care Worker
arrow [ view all related careers ]



Program Spotlight
Matching School Ad
Grantham University
Founded in 1951 by World War II veteran Donald Grantham to provide affordable, higher education for service members and their families.
Programs Offered:
  • Bachelor of Science Health Information Management

 

 



  Interests and Skills  
Prosthetists must have good manual dexterity and a mechanical aptitude for design and creation. They enjoy working with tools, instruments and machinery that require concentration and precision. They have excellent communication skills and can work with a variety of people from clients to physicians. They are organized people with good time management skills. Finally, they are creative and imaginative problem solvers.
 

  Typical Tasks  
  • Review prescriptions which specify the types of appliances to be made
  • Examine the patient's affected area for factors which could affect the fitting of appliances
  • Measure, make, and correct a plaster cast of the limb or deformity
  • Design, build, fit and repair orthotic appliances which will function best in meeting the patient's need and fit for comfort, alignment or appearance
  • Evaluate orthotics on a patient and make adjustments to assure fit, function, comfort, and quality
  • Select appropriate materials and components and give the specifications of the brace to the technician
  • Make a brace that requires special attention
  • Counsel patients on the use of the device
  • Provide routine maintenance and repair of devices
  • Maintain accurate patient records
  • Supervise and direct the activities of prosthetic and orthotic technicians
  • Orthotists work in a variety of settings, including hospital rooms, clinics, laboratories, work rooms and fitting rooms. They work directly with clients developing specifications for fabrication. Usually, they work a standard five-day workweek, but some weekend work may be required for emergency cases.

  Workplaces, Employers and Industries  
  • Orthotists work in private clinics and device manufacturing companies, hospital rehabilitation departments and government agencies, and ambulatory care services and special treatment facilities (e.g. arthritis centers). Some orthotists set up their own companies and work independently.

  Long Term Career Potential  
What does the future hold for orthotists? Since the training is very specific, advancement will take the form of moving into supervisory or management positions. Also, orthotists could teach at universities and technical institutes. It is also possible to go into rehabilitation counseling or consulting. Otherwise, they could work in pharmaceutical and orthotic sales, train for dental technology or other professions that require skilled work with the hands.
 

  Educational Paths  
Orthotists are required to take a two-year college program in prosthetics and orthotics technology followed by two years of supervised practical training.
 

Sources:
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment Statistics, 2002, http://www.bls.gov/oes/2002/oes_nat.htm

Featured Schools

Matching School Ads
Grantham University
Founded in 1951 by World War II veteran Donald Grantham to provide affordable, higher education for service members and their families.
Programs Offered:
  • Bachelor of Science Health Information Management

 
Glendale Career College

At Glendale Career College, your success is our success! Our short-term allied health training programs will give you the skills to become part of the ever-growing healthcare field. Your decision to continue your education with Glendale Career College will prove to be a rewarding experience.

Programs Offered:
  • Surgical Technology
  • Central Service Instrument Technician
  • Medical Assistant

 
Charter College

You can prepare for a new career with help from Charter College.

Programs Offered:
  • Certificate - Medical Assistant

 
National Career College
Choosing a school and a new career path can be a very overwhelming process.
Programs Offered:
  • Medical Assistant

 
Milan Institute
Prepare for an exciting new career at the Milan Institute.
Programs Offered:
  • Medical Assisting

 
Mayfield College
Give your career a boost with an education from Mayfield College.
Programs Offered:
  • Medical Assistant

 
California College San Diego

The Secret to Getting Ahead is Getting Started

Programs Offered:
  • Medical Specialties (AOS)

 
UEI College

At UEI College, we want you to succeed. We’re like a family and we want you to be a part of it.

Programs Offered:
  • Medical Assistant (10-Month Diploma Program)

 
Southern California Health Institute
Since 1996, Southern California Health Institute has been dedicated and committed to helping students achieve their dreams by providing an exceptional education that enables them to become skilled and successful manual therapists.
Programs Offered:
  • Medical Assistant Program

 
Matching School Ads
  Universities and Colleges
Clarkson UniversityColorado School of MinesDalhousie University
Oral Roberts UniversityPenn State HarrisburgTemple University
The University of HoustonThompson Rivers UniversityUNB Saint John
University of AlabamaUniversity of ArkansasUniversity of British Columbia
University of IowaUniversity of New BrunswickUniversity of Ottawa
York University
Agriculture and Bio-resources | Allied Health and Health Sciences | Applied Business Technology | Architecture
Business Administration | Computer Science | Cosmetology and Esthetics | Culinary, Travel &Hospitality | Dance 
Engineering Technology & Applied Technology |Engineering | Film | Fine Arts and Design | Humanities and Liberal ArtsJustice and Security
Music
| Natural and Applied Sciences | Naturopathic and Holistic MedicineNursingPublic Administration & PolicyReligious and Theological Studies
Sport Sciences and Physical Education | Teacher Education | Theatre
Articles | College News | Videos | Feedback | Career Search
Home | About Us | Contact Us | Faq | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Site Map | Cities Site Map

Copyright 2003- 2018 QuinStreet, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

×
We have made updates to our Privacy PolicyPrivacy Policy to reflect the implementation of the General Data Protection Regulation.