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 for 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. 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:

  • 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.

Tasks

  • Makes the device or limb and supervises its construction or selects a commercially-made product and adjusts it to fit the patient..
  • Instructs the patient on the use and care of the device or limb..
  • Examines the patient and takes the necessary measurements to create an artificial limb, brace, splint or other related appliance..
  • Makes a plaster cast of the limb or abnormality..
  • Reads prescriptions for limbs and other related devices..
  • Designs limbs or related appliances..
  • Carries out repairs and follow-ups with the patient to evaluate the effectiveness of an artificial limb or device..
  • Fits the device or limb to the patient..

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.


Specializations

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.

  • Average age
    Average age
    37 years
  • Future Growth
    Future Growth
    Very strong
  • Gender Share
    Gender Share
    43% female
  • Average full-time
    Average full-time
    44 hours
  • Weekly Pay
    Weekly Pay
    $1,876
  • Skill level rating
    Skill level rating
    Very high skill
  • Unemployment
    Unemployment
    Lower unemployment
  • Full-Time Share
    Full-Time Share
    76% Full-Time
  • Employment Size
    Employment Size
    410 workers
  • Employment Size
    Employment by state
    ACT: 1.0%
    NSW: 21.4%
    NT: 0.7%
    QLD: 17.2%
    SA: 8.7%
    TAS: 2.9%
    VIC: 40.5%
    WA: 7.5%
  • Employment Size
    Age brackets
    15-19: 0%
    20-24: 6.4%
    25-34: 34.1%
    35-44: 23.6%
    45-54: 16%
    55-59: 12.2%
    60-64: 3.6%
    65 and Over: 4.1%
  • Employment Size
    Education level
    Advanced Diploma/Diploma: 9.6%
    Bachelor degree: 53.6%
    Certificate III/IV: 3.4%
    Post Graduate/Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate: 27.1%
    Year 10 and below: 2.6%
    Year 11: 1%
    Year 12: 2.6%
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