dcsimg



Schools in the USA
Back to Career Search     

Prosthetist


Description

When bad accidents happen and diseases attack the human body, people are sometimes faced with losing a limb. Many war veterans also mistakenly step on land mines or get injured in combat, with the same results. The loss of a limb, such as an arm or leg can be very disabling for people, especially when they must learn to live with the disability. However, there are solutions to help people in these situations. Prosthetists design, make and fit appliances for missing limbs on the basis of a doctor's prescription.

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

Prosthetists are unique paramedical health professionals as they provide biomechanical devices to physically disabled persons to enable them to function better. Once a doctor writes a prescription, the patient visits the prosthetist who then designs the appliance that has been prescribed. The clinician takes the measurements and moulds necessary to fabricate the artificial limb. For example, if the appliance prescribed is an artificial leg, the prosthetist must design one based on the proper length, shoe size, width and other important factors.

Prosthetists also make plaster casts of the limbs that the prosthesis 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 prosthetist and patient determine the design and materials, prosthetists will supervise technicians while they build the appliances. When the prosthesis is ready, the prosthetist then fits the device, and makes any adjustments necessary to ensure optimal functional use by the patient. They might provide counseling on how to use the appliance and recommend therapy.

Prosthetists work together with orthotists, physicians, surgeons, physical and occupational therapists and social workers to form a multi-disciplinary team to provide the most comprehensive care possible for each individual. Prosthetists frequently recommend possible designs or different types of components for use in an prosthesis based on their knowledge, experience and familiarity with a wide range of technology and device designs that are available.

Many prosthetists now work with computer-aided design and computer-aided manufacturing (CAD and CAM) programs. These computer programs enable them to design new limbs without going through the traditional step of taking a plaster cast of the amputated limb. This not only saves time and money, but allows the prosthetist to try out several samples for an individual person.
 
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
Southern Technical College

Southern Technical College provides education and training in a variety of medical and technical areas that enable graduates to obtain entry-level employment.

Programs Offered:
  • A.S. - Diagnostic Medical Sonography
  • A.S. - Surgical Technician
  • A.S. - Medical Laboratory Technician
  • And more...

 

 



  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  
  • Provide care to patients with partial or total absence of limb by planning and fitting prosthesis under guidance of and in consultation with a physician
  • Review prescriptions which specify the types of appliances or limbs to be made
  • Examine the patient's affected area for factors which could affect the fitting of artificial limbs and appliances
  • Measure, make, and correct a plaster cast of the limb
  • Design, build, fit and repair prosthetic appliances which will function best in meeting the patient's need and fit for comfort, alignment or appearance
  • Evaluate prosthesis on a patient and make adjustments to assure fit, function, comfort, and quality
  • Select appropriate materials and components and give the specifications of the limb or brace to the technician
  • Make a limb or 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
  • Prosthetists 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  
  • Prosthetists 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 prosthetists set up their own companies and work independently.

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

  Educational Paths  
Prosthetists are required to take a two-year college program in prosthetics and orthotics technology followed by two years of supervised practical training. When you finish the internship, you must pass a three-day exam, which has theoretical, practical and clinical components.
 

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
Southern Technical College

Southern Technical College provides education and training in a variety of medical and technical areas that enable graduates to obtain entry-level employment.

Programs Offered:
  • A.S. - Diagnostic Medical Sonography
  • A.S. - Surgical Technician
  • A.S. - Medical Laboratory Technician
  • And more...

 
Harris School of Business
Jump into the exciting world of technology or medical services at Harris School.
Programs Offered:
  • Multi-Skill Health Technician
  • Professional Medical Assistant Plus

 
Quest College

Quest College is dedicated to providing career-focused, accessible education and helping individuals get the training, experience and support for the Allied Health and business industries.

Programs Offered:
  • Patient Care Technician
  • Medical Assisting with Phlebotomy and EKG

 
Keiser University Campus

Since 1977, Keiser University has maintained a practical, hands-on approach to career-focused education to help our students achieve their personal and professional goals.  Our student-centered approach remains at the foundation of the Keiser University mission and continues to attract students who prefer a more personal learning experience. 

Programs Offered:
  • Bachelor of Science in Imaging Sciences—Imaging Administration Concentration
  • Associate of Science in Radiologic Technology
  • Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Sciences - Pre-Physician Assistant Concentration

 
Brookline College

Get hands-on training with Brookline College. We offer diploma and degree programs in the areas of health care, business, nursing, criminal justice, paralegal, and computer security.

Programs Offered:
  • Diploma - Patient Care Technician
  • Associate of Science - Medical Laboratory Technician
  • Diploma - Medical Assistant

 
Keiser University

Since 1977, Keiser University has provided quality student-centered, career-focused education. Keiser University Online offers degree programs online to prepare students for in-demand professions.

Programs Offered:
  • Associate of Science in Medical Assisting Science

 
Southeastern Institute

You can complete Southeastern Institute's training programs in as few as 8 months!* Receive handson instruction from caring instructors with practical experience in the fields in which they teach. Southeastern's small class sizes and individualized attention can be just what you need to succeed.

Programs Offered:
  • Medical Assisting

 
Florida Career College
Train for the real-world skills that help you launch a successful technology or healthcare career with a degree, or diploma from Florida Career College.
Programs Offered:
  • Medical Assistant Technician (10-Month diploma program)

 
Purdue University Global

Building on Purdue's mission to provide greater access to affordable, world-class education, Purdue University Globaldelivers a fully personalized online experience that's tailored to working adults.

Programs Offered:
  • Master of Health Informatics

 
Metropolitan Institute of Health and Technology

MIHT provides a great prospect for employment and career development. Upon program completion, graduates take advantage of our career placement program to secure employment in the health and technology industry.

Programs Offered:
  • Pharmacy Technician
  • Clinical Medical Assisting

 
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.