Orthotists are professionals who interview patients, assess their medical condition and then determine their needs for orthotics or prosthetics. These professionals use different materials to design, mold and adjust the orthotic devices, and in some cases they use plaster casting or laser imaging to get clear and concise measurements of the patients.
It is important for the orthotist to carefully select the most suitable material for the orthotics device, according to the needs and requirements of each patient. The average yearly salary of an orthotist ranges between $56,000 and $84,000 a year, in the United States of America. However, it is not uncommon for some of these professionals to make over $90,000 a year, in some parts of the US.
Pay Scale In Different Areas Of The United States of America
Iowa is currently considered the highest paying state for orthotists and prosthetists, as these professionals can make more than $94,000 a year here. The second highest paying state is New Hampshire, with an average of $87,000 a year, followed by Connecticut with no less than $82,000. The fourth highest paying state in the US is Indiana, where orthotists can make around $81,000, followed by Texas with $80,000.
Orthotist Job Description
It is the duty of the orthotist to design and create different medical supportive appliances and devices, and on order to do that, the orthotist must firstly take the measurements of the patient in order to make sure that the devices fit perfectly. These orthoses are usually designed for patients who suffer from severe injuries, deformities or disorders, and it often happens that orthotists are also trained as prosthetists (which means that they have some experience with creating and fitting prostheses for replacing lost limbs).
An orthotist works in hospitals, colleges and clinics, and some of them are hired by private companies or have their own private practice. Also, these health care providers design orthopedic braces and corrective shoes designed to improve the walking of the patient. They can create artificial legs, hands, feet and arms, and they also review the medical records of the patients along with interviewing them in order to get a better understanding of their medical needs and personal preferences.
The orthotist has many duties and responsibilities, and taking the measurements of the patient in order to design the custom-made appliances is only one of them. Also, these professionals select the most suitable material for the orthoses, fabricate the orthoses devices and then place them on the patient’s body. The orthotist also conducts a series of tests to make sure that the newly created orthoses and prosthesis match the patient.
How To Become An Orthotist?
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If you plan to become a reputable orthotist, then it is highly recommended to pursue the necessary training starting with high school. High school students should focus on biology, physics, chemistry, physiology and anatomy classes, and they should also get a deeper insight into different medical professions. After that they can enroll in med school, and after four years of study they will get a Bachelor’s Degree in prosthetics and orthotics. The coursework during med school is quite complex, as it will cover different fields like biomechanics, diagnostic imaging methods, pathology, research techniques, kinesiology, post-operative care and many others.
Practical, hands-on experience also plays a crucial role in the life of an orthotist, as these professionals need to complete a one-year internship under the close supervision of an already established O&P Professional. After the Internship, the med students can enroll in a Master’s Degree program that specializes in orthotics, and these programs also combine clinical experience with theoretical training.
License and/or certification is required in order to practice as an orthotist in the United States of America. In addition to the Bachelor and/or Master’s Degree in the field, you need to complete a one-year residency period in order to be eligible for the state board exam. The eligibility requirements can vary from one state to another, and the final certification is offered by the American Board for Certification in Prosthetics and Orthotics.
Orthotist Salary In Canada, Australia And The United Kingdom
In Australia, the average yearly salary of an orthotist is between Au$50,000 and Au77,000, while in Canada these specialist should expect a median yearly wage of around CA$67,000. At the same time, in the United Kingdom an orthotist can make between 21,000 and 27,000 pounds.
Verdict On Orthotist Salary
To conclude, becoming an orthotist requires considerably less time and training. Also, this is not as stressful as other medical professions and the salary is very motivating as well, overall.