Why We Love It
$69,960Potential Avg. Salary
21.7%Job Growth Rate
Growing DemandJob Outlook
Growing IndustryCareer Attribute
As an orthotist, you will provide the highest quality of care for patients suffering from discomfort in nerves, muscles or bones. Using a range of aids or orthosis, your profession will allow you to treat a different kinds of patients with the purpose of eliminating gait deviations, reducing pain and facilitating the healing of ulcers.
What is an Orthotist?
- Prescribe, design, fit and assess surgical orthoses such as braces, callipers, artificial limbs and splints.
- Take a mold of the patient’s body part and use computer modelling technology to craft an orthotic device
- Explain best practices to patients on using and caring for the device, and provide follow-up checks with patients
- Carry our repairs or updates to existing orthoses
- Edit and update patient records based on patient care given
Day in the life
Working as an orthotist, your daily goal is to understand a patient’s main cause of discomfort and then working with health professionals to design the best possible orthotic support. In this role, you will have the opportunity to work with a variety of people, including children and senior adults.
Further, it is likely that you may encounter a wide range of medical conditions as an orthotist, such as Diabetes, Arthritis, Cerebral Palsy, Stroke, Scoliosis, sports injuries and trauma. By designing orthosis devices, you will play a role in aiding such patients in maintaining a greater degree of mobility and comfort. Your day can also involve taking precise measurements of a patient’s foot and ensuring that the special footwear is fitted accurately.
Another responsibility that is important as an orthotist, is custom designing an orthotic device or product as required, for example, for an older individual who requires special footwear and insoles to ease the pain associated with certain medical conditions and deformities. Further, your role requires you to clearly instruct patients on the best way to maintain and care for their orthoses.
Work schedule and typical hours
Orthotists work in offices, where they meet with patients, and design orthotic devices. Working hours can be standard, approximately 37.5 and 40 hours a week Monday to Friday. One might have to work different shifts, such as evenings, nights or during weekends. If working at a private clinic, an orthoptist can work evenings or weekends more often than not to suit the availability of specific clients.
There is minor risk with regard to health hazards when handling some materials, but injury can be avoided if workers follow proper protocols, such as wearing goggles, gloves, and masks.
Growth of the job
Employment of orthotists is expected to grow 23 percent from 2014 to 2024, much faster than the average for all occupations. The increasing population will result in a need for jobs like orthotists. Job prospects will be better with professional certification. While not a mandatory requirement, certification shows an advanced level of training and dedication to the job role.
Diseases and medical conditions like diabetes and cardiovascular disease are on the rise and are the two major causes of limb loss among older people. Other conditions that will be treated by orthotists more frequently includes arthritis, spina bifida, cerebral palsy, stroke and scoliosis. Patients who have suffered serious trauma like accident victims or military veterans, will continue to need orthotists to create devices that aid the patients’ movement and improves functionality.
Orthotist’s work in the medical field at major hospitals and clinics, private orthotic healthcare facilities and Non-Government Organisations (NGOs). A number of individuals in this job sector also find work at academic institutions and research areas in major tertiary hospitals and universities.
How To Become an Orthotist
All orthotists must at least complete a master’s degree, alongside a 2-year associate degree or a 4-year bachelor’s degree in a field that is related to orthotics. Programs could cover courses in orthotics for the upper and lower extremity, spinal orthotics, plastics and other materials used for fabrication. In addition, orthotics programs may have a clinical component in which the student works under the direction of an experienced prosthetist.
A Master’s program can take up to 2 years to complete. Prospective students seeking a master’s degree do not need to hold a bachelor’s degree in a relevant subject, if they have fulfilled prerequisite courses in science and math. Candidates typically complete a 1-year residency program in orthotics, as a follow up to the master’s degree. A generalist health degree or allied health qualification is not sufficient for working in this profession.
Orthotist Salary Data
We’ve provided you the following to learn more about this career. The salary and growth data on this page comes from recently published Bureau of Labor Statistics data while the recommendations and editorial content are based on our research.
National Anual Salary
National Hourly Wage
How do Orthotist salaries stack up to other jobs across the country? Based on the latest jobs data nationwide, Orthotist's can make an average annual salary of $69,960, or $34 per hour. On the lower end, they can make $47,870 or $23 per hour, perhaps when just starting out or based on the state you live in.
Salary Rankings And Facts
#199 Nationally for All Careers
Above Average Salary Nationally
Highest Education Among Orthotists
- 4.8% Doctorate
- 7.5% Masters
- 21.3% Bachelors
- 14.4% Associates
- 31% College
- 19.3% High School
- 1.7% Less than High School
Job Growth Projections and Forecast
2014 Total Jobs8,300
2024 Est. Jobs10,100
Job Growth Rate21.7%
Est. New Jobs1,800
How does Orthotist job growth stack up to other jobs across the country? By 2024, there will be a change of 1,800 jobs for a total of 10,100 people employed in the career nationwide. This is a 21.7% change in growth over the next ten years, giving the career a growth rate nationwide of Above Average.
Growth Rankings And Facts
#43 Nationally for All Careers
Above Avg. Growth Nationally
What Companies Employ The Most Orthotists
|Industry||Current Jobs||New Jobs Needed||% Increase|
|Medical equipment and supplies manufacturing||2,600||300||0%|
|Federal government, excluding postal service||700||-100||0%|
|Offices of physicians||500||100||0%|