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Orthotist and Prosthetist

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What They Do

Orthotists and Prosthetists Career Video

Designs, measures, fits, and adapts orthopedic braces, appliances or prostheses, such as limbs or facial parts for patients with disabling conditions.

This career is part of the Health Science cluster Therapeutic Services pathway.

A person in this career:

  • Examines, interviews, and measures patients to determine their appliance needs and to identify factors that could affect appliance fit.
  • Fits, tests, and evaluates devices on patients, and makes adjustments for proper fit, function, and comfort.
  • Instructs patients in the use and care of orthoses and prostheses.
  • Maintains patients' records.
  • Selects materials and components to be used, based on device design.
  • Designs orthopedic and prosthetic devices, based on physicians' prescriptions and examination and measurement of patients.
  • Makes and modifies plaster casts of areas that will be fitted with prostheses or orthoses, for use in the device construction process.
  • Confers with physicians to formulate specifications and prescriptions for orthopedic or prosthetic devices.
  • Constructs and fabricates appliances or supervises others constructing the appliances.
  • Trains and supervises support staff, such as orthopedic and prosthetic assistants and technicians.

Working Conditions and Physical Demands

People who do this job report that:

  • You would often handle loads up to 20 lbs., sometimes up to 50 lbs. You might do a lot of lifting, carrying, pushing or pulling.
  • Work in this occupation involves use of protective items such as safety shoes, glasses, gloves, hearing protection, a hard hat, or personal flotation devices
  • Exposure to pollutants, gases, dust, fumes, odors, poor ventilation, etc.
  • Exposed to disease and infections more than once a month through work such as patient care, laboratory work, and sanitation control
  • Work in this occupation involves using your hands to hold, control, and feel objects more than one-third of the time
  • Exposed to hazardous equipment such as saws, machinery, or vehicular traffic more than once a month
  • Work in this occupation requires being inside most of the time
  • Sound and noise levels are loud and distracting
  • Work in this occupation involves standing more than one-third of the time

Working in this career involves (physical activities):

  • Seeing clearly up close
  • Speaking clearly enough to be able to be understood by others
  • Identifying and understanding the speech of another person

Work Hours and Travel

  • Regular working hours and limited travel

Specialty and Similar Careers

Careers that are more detailed or close to this career:

  • Certified Orthotist (CO)
  • Certified Prosthetist (CP)
  • Licensed Prosthetist and Orthotist (LPO)
  • Orthotic Practitioner
  • Prosthetic Practitioner
  • Certified Prosthetist Orthotist (CPO)
  • Certified Pedorthist
  • Certified Prosthetist and Orthotist (CPO)


  • Email Support
  • 1-800-GO-TO-XAP (1-800-468-6927)
    From outside the U.S., please call +1 (424) 750-3900
  • North Dakota Career Resource Network
    ndcrn@nd.gov | (701) 328-9733