Orthotists and prosthetists help people who have lost a limb due to injury, accident, disease or birth defect. Orthotists create braces to provide support in the spine or limbs to improve function and mobility. Prosthetists measure, design, assemble and fit artificial limbs. While they are two separate professions, the fields are so similar that an individual may be both an orthotist and prosthetist.
Orthotics and prosthetics (O&P) practitioners work regular schedules in hospitals, clinics, rehab centers, universities and private practices. They work directly with doctors, nurses, physical therapists and other health professionals to help patients through the rehabilitation process.
All O&P education programs are migrating to a master’s level curriculum by next year. There are only 10 such programs in the nation, three of which are in the Midwest.
Licensure and Certification
Orthotists and prosthetists must complete a one-year residency after they graduate and pass the American Board for Certification (ABC) in Orthotics, Prosthetics and Pedorthics exam.
Career Outlook Map of Iowa
The job outlook is good for orthotists and prosthetists. There are not many positions available, but the field is expected to grow by 14%..