Accidents, combat injuries, birth defects, and disease may result in the loss of limbs or orthopedic impairment. Patients will turn to Orthotists and Prosthetists to design and fabricate devices such as artificial limbs, braces, and other medical equipment. Orthotists and Prosthetists also work closely with patients to determine their needs as well as ensure that their devices work and fit correctly. A common goal of these practitioners is to help their patients regain mobility.
While professionals have the credentials to work in both orthotics and prosthetics, they also have the option to specialize in just one area. They can work in a variety of different settings. This might include manufacturing, ambulatory healthcare services, personal care stores, and hospitals.
Employment for prosthetics and orthotics professionals is expected to grow by 18%, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, which notes the growth is much faster than the average for all occupations. Growth is attributed to a growing and aging population.
How To Apply
Prosthetics and Orthotics programs are highly competitive and there are only 14 programs in the country. Most require applicants to have a bachelor's degree to apply. In addition, many
programs either recommend or require you to have shadowing hours with Orthotists and/or
You must then Graduate from an Accredited Prosthetics and Orthotics Program in order to earn a Master’s degree. After completion of your bachelor's, you must complete a year residency program.
Here's a guide of recommended courses that you can take at Michigan Tech in preparation for Prosthetics and Orthotics school. This is not an exhaustive list. You are responsible to check with the schools you wish to apply for specific requirements. You must check with the individual schools if they intend to use AP or community college credits to ensure those credits are accepted.
Most Prosthetics and Orthotics programs do not require an entrance exam. However, some require or provide the option of submitting your scores for the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). The GRE is offered as a computer-based test year-round. On average, you should spend anywhere from 50 to 200 hours preparing for the GRE. This largely depends on how efficiently you study. The more time you spend the more confident you will be!
Most P&O programs have a minimum cumulative GPA requirement as well as a minimum GPA
requirement for each pre-requisite course that they require. Most programs require
at least a 3.0 GPA or above to apply to their program.
Most P&O schools require a minimum of three letters of recommendation, a written personal statement or essay, and if you are selected, an in-person interview. They also highly recommend or even require observation hours with a prosthetist and/or orthotist. The amount and criteria for hours vary based on the school.
The accrediting body for Perfusion programs is the National Commission on Orthotic and Prosthetic Education (NCOPE).
To apply, most programs will have you apply through a centralized application called OPCAS. Although, some programs will just have you apply directly to their graduate school through their own application process.