How to become a Prosthetist/Orthotist

Prosthetists/Orthotists assess the physical and functional limitations of people resulting from illness and disabilities, and provide prostheses (artificial limbs) and orthoses (supportive devices) to restore function or compensate for muscular and skeletal disabilities, including limb amputation.

Personal requirements of a Prosthetist/Orthotist

  • Aptitude for technical tasks
  • Good communication skills
  • Enjoy helping people
  • Able to work as part of a team

Education & Training for a Prosthetist/Orthotist

To become a prosthetist/orthotist, you usually have to complete a degree at university with a major in anatomy and physiology, followed by a postgraduate qualification in prosthetics and orthotics. To get into the degree courses you usually need to gain your Senior Secondary Certificate of Education. Prerequisite subjects, or assumed knowledge, in one or more of English, mathematics, chemistry, biology and physics are normally required. A number of universities in Australia offer degrees in these areas. Entry to the postgraduate course usually requires completion of an appropriate bachelor degree. Universities have different prerequisites and some have flexible entry requirements. Contact the institutions you are interested in for more information.

Duties & Tasks of a Prosthetist/Orthotist

Prosthetists/orthotists may perform the following tasks:

  • assess and establish clients' needs through physical examinations and standardised tests
  • assess clients' functional abilities in home, work, educational and leisure environments and recommend appropriate prosthetic/orthotic devices
  • design, prescribe and fit prosthetic/orthotic devices to meet clients' needs
  • provide advice to other healthcare professionals regarding patients' problems, needs, progress and any pre-surgical planning
  • provide gait (walking) training and education relating to the use of prosthetic/orthotic devices
  • test and adjust the prostheses or orthoses for effectiveness and client comfort
  • record and report on client progress
  • supervise support personnel.

Working conditions for a Prosthetist/Orthotist

Prosthetists/orthotists may work with prosthetic/orthotic technicians and other health professionals.

Employment Opportunities for a Prosthetist/Orthotist

Prosthetists/orthotists work within major teaching hospitals, rehabilitation centres and private practice. They may also work for commercial companies that design and manufacture devices for people with disability.

Avg. weekly wage:

$1,357

Future growth:

very strong growth

Employment by state:

ACT 2%

NSW 27.8%

NT 1.6%

QLD 25%

SA 7.2%

TAS 0%

VIC 23.6%

WA 12.9%

Hours worked:

33.1

Unemployment:

below average

Gender split:

Proportion of male workers 16.9%

Proportion of female workers 83.1%

Education level:

Proportion of workers who have not completed Year 10: 0%

Proportion of workers who have not completed Year 12: 0%

Proportion of workers whose highest qualification is secondary school: 0%

Proportion of workers whose highest qualification is a Certificate 3 or 4: 0%

Proportion of workers whose highest qualification is a Diploma or Advanced Diploma: 0%

Proportion of workers whose highest qualification is a Bachelor degree: 44.8%

Proportion of workers whose highest qualification is a Postgraduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate: 55.2%

Age bracket:

Proprortion of workers aged below 35 years: 24.2%

Proportion of workers aged above 35 years: 77%

*The data above is sourced from the Department of Employment’s Job Outlook website.

Additional Information
On completion of the Bachelor of Applied Science and Master of Clinical Prosthetics and Orthotics at La Trobe University (Victoria), graduates are eligible for membership of the Australian Orthotic Prosthetic Association.
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