Orthotists and Prosthetists

Orthotists and prosthetists, also called O&P professionals, design medical support devices and measure and fit patients for them. These devices include artificial limbs (arms, hands, legs, and feet), braces, and other medical or surgical devices.


Sample of Reported Job Titles

American Board Certified Orthotist (ABC Orthotist), Certified Orthotist (CO), Certified Prosthetist (CP), Certified Prosthetist/Orthotist (CPO), Licensed Prosthetist/Orthotist (LPO), Orthotic/Prosthetic Practitioner, Orthotist, Orthotist/Prosthetist, Pedorthist, Prosthetist



Orthotists and prosthetists typically do the following:

  • Evaluate and interview patients to determine their needs
  • Measure patients to design and fit medical devices
  • Design orthopedic and prosthetic devices based on physicians' prescriptions
  • Take a mold of the part of the body that will be fitted with a brace or artificial limb
  • Select materials to be used for the orthotic or prosthetic device
  • Fit, test, and adjust devices on patients
  • Instruct patients in how to use and care for their devices
  • Repair or update prosthetic and orthotic devices
  • Document care in patients' records

O&P professionals may work in both orthotics and prosthetics, or they may choose to specialize in one. Orthotists are specifically trained to work with medical supportive devices, such as braces and inserts. Prosthetists are specifically trained to work with prostheses, such as artificial limbs and other body parts.


Educational Requirements

All orthotists and prosthetists must complete a master's degree in orthotics and prosthetics. These programs include courses such as upper and lower extremity orthotics and prosthetics, spinal orthotics, and plastics and other materials.

All graduate degree programs have a clinical component in which the student works under the direction of an O&P professional. Most programs require at least 500 hours of clinical experience, split equally between orthotics and prosthetics.

Master's programs usually take 2 years to complete. Prospective students can have a bachelor’s degree in any discipline if they have fulfilled prerequisite courses in science and mathematics; requirements vary by program.


Median Salary 2012



Want to know more?

American Academy of Orthotists & Prosthetists

American Board for Certification in Orthotics, Prosthetics, & Pedorthics

O*NET-Orthotists and Prosthetists

Bureau of Labor Statistics-Orthotists and Prosthetists


Get Connected

Belonging to professional organizations & LinkedIn groups can provide you with networking, informational interviewing, & job shadowing opportunities, as well as assist you with finding internships and jobs.

International Society for Prosthetics & Orthotics

Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Group

Rehabilitation Medicine LinkedIn Group

List of Professional Organizations

The Career Connector for Purdue College of Science Students & Alumni  


Get Experience

Research & Internship Listings


Find an Accredited Program

National Commission on Orthotic & Prosthetic Education


Information retrieved from http://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/29-2091.00, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/orthotists-and-prosthetists.htm


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