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Occupational Profile

Prosthetic and Orthotic Technician

Prosthetic and orthotic technicians work with prosthetists and orthotists to produce, fabricate and repair prostheses (artificial limbs) and orthoses (braces and supports) that are used to support weakened body parts, correct body defects or replace amputated limbs.

  • Avg. Salary $32,788.00
  • Avg. Wage $19.86
  • Minimum Education 2 years post-secondary
  • Outlook N/A
  • Employed 5,800
  • In Demand High
Also Known As

Artificial Limb Maker, Orthotic Technician, Brace Maker

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

67%
67%
Average Wage
Starting
Overall
Top
  • Certification Not Regulated
  • Strength Required Lift up to 20 kg
NOC & Interest Codes
The Prosthetic and Orthotic Technician is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).
Prosthetic and Orthotic Technicians
NOC code: 3219.4
OBJECTIVE

Interest in precision working with machine and hand tools to repair, rebuild and modify prosthetic and orthotic appliances and orthopedic footwear and to fit, adjust and repair appliances

INNOVATIVE

Interest in analyzing information taken from body and limb measurements to build prosthetic and orthotic appliances using a variety of materials such as metals, plastics and leathers

METHODICAL

Interest in speaking with patients to ensure that prosthetic and orthotic appliances fit comfortably during trial fittings; and in building custom-designed components and appliances as directed

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. 
It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation.

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn More

Duties
Updated Feb 20, 2015

Prosthetic and orthotic technicians may specialize in prosthetics or orthotics, or work on both types of devices. In general, they:

  • fabricate and refurbish orthotic and prosthetic devices from plaster cast positives and assessment forms
  • make orthotic and prosthetic devices using materials such as thermoplastic and thermosetting materials, metal alloys and leather
  • service and repair appliances as required
  • maintain an inventory of materials
  • assist prosthetists and orthotists working with patients 
  • service and repair machinery used in the fabrication of devices.
Working Conditions
Updated Feb 20, 2015

Prosthetic and orthotic technicians work in laboratories, private clinics, hospitals and rehabilitation centres. The work involves standing at workbenches and using machines such as grinders, sanders, buffers, drill presses, lathes, welding equipment and sewing machines and depending on the setting, computer-aided design and computer-aided manufacturing (CAD/CAM), computer imaging and computer numerical controlled (CNC) equipment.

Technicians may be required to lift items weighting up to 20 kilograms and occasionally as much as 40 kilograms. They also may be under pressure to meet deadlines or adapt schedules to accomodate emergency services.

  • Strength Required Lift up to 20 kg
Skills & Abilities
Updated Feb 20, 2015

Prosthetic and orthotic technicians need the following characteristics:

  • good communication and interpersonal skills  
  • manual dexterity
  • strength and stamina
  • mechanical ability and ingenuity
  • the ability to pay close attention to details and work quickly
  • good problem solving and decision making skills
  • the ability to work well as a member of a team.

They should enjoy:

  • working with tools and machinery at tasks requiring precision
  • analyzing measurements and building devices
  • having clear guidelines for their work.
Educational Requirements
Updated Feb 20, 2015

Prosthetic and orthotic technicians need a high school diploma or equivalent. They may be trained on the job or have a combination of related education and on-the-job training. Education in human kinetics or biology is an asset.

George Brown College of Applied Arts and Technology in Toronto offers a two year Prosthetic-Orthotic Technician program. Entrance requirements include a high school diploma or equivalent with credits in physics and biology, or mature student status; an interview; and written and manual dexterity tests. For more information about the program, admission requirements or mature student admission, please check the College calendar or website.

Registration as a Prosthetic or Orthotic Technician with the Canadian Board for Certification of Prosthetists and Orthotists (CBCPO) requires ONE of the following:

  • 192 weeks of full-time, on-the-job training supervised by a certified orthotist or prosthetist, or a registered orthotic or prosthetic technician, followed by successful completion of a registration examination in prosthetics ororthotics (one discipline only). An additional 96 weeks under a certified practitioner or registered technician is required to write the examination for the other specialization (prosthetics or orthotics).
  • Successful completion of the technical diploma program at George Brown College followed by 88 weeks of on-the-job training, supervised by a certified orthotist or prosthetist, or a registered orthotic or prosthetic technician, followed by successful completion of a registration examination in prosthetics or orthotics. An additional 52 weeks under a certified practitioner or registered technician is required to write the examination for the other specialization.

To maintain registration with the CBCPO, mandatory continuing education (MCE) credits must be completed by practicing prosthetic and orthotic technicians

For a broad list of programs and courses that may be related to this occupation try searching using keywords.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Feb 20, 2015

Prosthetic and orthotic technicians are employed in:

  • private clinics
  • hospital rehabilitation departments
  • government agencies.

In large organizations, experienced technicians may advance to supervisory positions.

Prosthetic and orthotic technicians are part of the larger 2011 National Occupational Classification 3219: Other Medical Technologists and Technicians (Except Dental Health). In Alberta, 95% of people employed in this classification work in the following industries:

The employment outlook in this occupation will be influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • trends and events affecting overall employment (especially in the industries listed above)
  • location in Alberta
  • employment turnover (work opportunities generated by people leaving existing positions)
  • occupational growth (work opportunities resulting from the creation of new positions that never existed before)
  • size of the occupation.

Employment turnover is expected to increase as members of the baby boom generation retire over the next few years.

Wage & Salary
Updated Feb 20, 2015

Salaries for prosthetic and orthotic technicians vary considerably.

For information about current collective agreements in the public and not-for-profit sectors, see the Health Sciences Association of Alberta (HSAA) website.

Other medical technologists and technicians (except dental health)
NOC code: 3219

Survey Methodology

Survey Analysis

Overall Wage Details
Average Wage
Average Salary
Hours Per Week

Hourly Wage
For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median
Starting
Overall
Top
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $10.50 $28.90 $15.97 $13.25
Overall $13.13 $39.75 $19.86 $16.50
Top $17.72 $35.84 $22.99 $21.00

Swipe left and right to view all data. Scroll left and right to view all data.

* All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production) and other forms of compensation.

B: Good Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

Good Reliability, represents a CV of between 6.01% and 15.00% and/or fewer than 30 survey observations and/or if survey observations represent less than 50% of all estimated employment for the occupation.


Industry Information
Public Administration
Health Care & Social Assistance
ALBERTA, ALL INDUSTRIES
Retail Trade

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

67%
67%

Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties

43%
43%

Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months

9%
9%

2015 Vacancy Rate

4%
Related High School Subjects
  • Science
    • Biology
  • Health, Recreation and Human Services
    • Health Care Services
    • Human and Social Services
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Health Care and Medical Sciences
Other Sources of Information
Updated Feb 20, 2015

Canadian Association for Prosthetics and Orthotics (CAPO) website: www.pando.ca

Canadian Board for Certification of Prosthetists and Orthotists (CBCPO) website: www.cbcpo.ca

Health Sciences Association of Alberta (HSAA) website: www.hsaa.ca

International Society of Prosthetics and Orthotics, Canada (ISPO Canada) website: www.ispo.ca

For more information on career planning, education and jobs, visit the Alberta Learning Information Service (ALIS) website, call the Alberta Career Information Hotline toll-free at 1-800-661-3753 or 780-422-4266 in Edmonton, or visit an Alberta Works Centre near you.

Updated Mar 20, 2014. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

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