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Prosthetist and Orthotist

Prosthetists and rthotists assess patient needs and physical abilities. They design, make, fit, evaluate, and repair prosthetic devices (artificial limbs) and orthotic devices (braces and supports). Or they may supervise these activities and provide advice to help patients address their goals.

Also Known As

Clinician, Orthotist Clinician, Prosthetic Clinician

NOC Codes

In Canada, the federal government groups and organizes occupations based on a National Occupational Classification (NOC) system. This alis occupation may not reflect the entire NOC group it is part of. Data for the NOC group can apply across multiple occupations.

The NOC system is updated every 5 years to reflect changes in the labour market. Government forms and labour market data may group and refer to an occupation differently, depending on the system used. Here is how this occupation has been classified over time:

  • 2006 NOC: Prosthetists and Orthotists (3219.3) 
  • 2006 NOC-S: Other Medical Technologists and Technicians (Except Dental Health) (D219) 
  • 2011 NOC: Other medical technologists and technicians (except dental health) (3219) 
  • 2016 NOC: Other medical technologists and technicians (except dental health) (3219) 
Interests & Abilities

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2006 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Prosthetists and Orthotists

2006 NOC: 3219.3

Interest Codes

Interest Codes for This NOC Group
OBJECTIVE

Interest in precision working with equipment to make and modify plaster casts of areas to receive prostheses and orthoses, to fabricate prosthetic and orthotic appliances and to fit, adjust and repair appliances

INNOVATIVE

Interest in analyzing physicians' specifications; and in examining and measuring patients to develop working sketches of appliances

DIRECTIVE

Interest in supervising and directing the activities of prosthetic and orthotic technicians; and in advising patients in the use and care of prostheses and orthoses

Your Interest Codes

To identify or change your interest codes, complete the Interests Exercise in CAREERinsite.

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 for this NOC group 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 About Interests

Abilities

Typical ability expectations for this NOC group
Your abilities

To fill in or change the values for your abilities, complete the Abilities Exercise in CAREERinsite.

Mental Abilities

General Learning Ability

Verbal Ability

Numerical Ability

Visual Abilities

Spatial Perception

Form Perception

Clerical Perception

Physical Abilities

Motor Coordination

Finger Dexterity

Manual Dexterity

Understanding Abilities

A Quick Guide

You are born with abilities that help you process certain types of information and turn it into action. These abilities influence which skills you can learn more easily.

The abilities or aptitudes shown for this NOC group come from the General Aptitude Test Battery (GATB). The GATB measures 9 aptitudes. It groups them into 3 categories: mental, visual, and physical.

The abilities scores range from 1 to 5, with 5 being stronger.

Learn About Abilities

Duties
Updated Mar 31, 2020

Prosthetists and orthotists may work with people of all ages or with specific age groups, such as children or seniors. In general, they:

  • Take histories to learn details such as patients’ goals, current activities, allergies, or surgeries
  • Assess each patient’s level of mobility, strength, endurance, and other physical abilities
  • Develop treatment plans to restore movement, reduce pain, or improve mobility
  • Treat conditions and help patients understand the effects of their conditions on their physical abilities
  • Provide advice regarding ways to prevent potential health problems
  • Design and make devices or supervise the work of prosthetic / orthotic technicians
  • Modify computer-aided design (CAD) of body parts for which prostheses and orthoses (also known as orthotics) are being made
  • Design, modify, fit, adjust, and evaluate finished protheses or orthoses for maximum comfort and usefulness
  • Consult with and advise other health professionals
  • Educate students and support personnel

Prosthetists and orthotists may work with physicians, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, podiatrists, nurses, and other health professionals. They are often considered primary providers of their patients’ long-term care.

Working Conditions
Updated Mar 31, 2020
  • Strength Required Lift over 20 kg

Prosthetists and orthotists work in private clinics, community health centres, rehabilitation centres, and hospitals. Some employers may expect them to drive to various locations such as hospitals or clients homes.

Prosthetists and orthotists may assist patients with limited mobility. They may help transfer patients and adjust equipment and devices. Providing direct patient care involves bending, stretching, standing, kneeling, and reaching. If they use grinding and heating machinery, they need to wear safety equipment.

Traits & Skills
Updated Mar 31, 2020

Prosthetists and orthotists need:

  • Patience, empathy, and the ability to motivate and support people
  • Attention to detail
  • Manual dexterity
  • Mechanical aptitude
  • Analytical and problem-solving skills
  • Time-management, communication, and organizational skills
  • The ability to work with a variety of people, including clients, physicians, physiotherapists, nurses, and technicians

They should enjoy working with tools, instruments, and machinery at precision tasks. They need an aptitude for analyzing biomechanical scenarios and solving problems creatively. They should be comfortable working with people and directing the activities of others.

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2011 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Top 10 Skills Employers Are Looking For

Other medical technologists and technicians (except dental health)

2011 NOC: 3219

This chart shows which job skills are currently in highest demand for this occupational group. It was created using this occupation's 69 most recent Alberta job postings, collected between Oct 27, 2021 and Sep 23, 2022.

Review these skills to learn:

  • Whether or not this occupation matches your skill set
  • What training you may need to get these skills
  • What skills to highlight in your resumé, cover letter, and interview.
Tasks: Ensure the information on prescriptions is accurate, enter client information in databases and prepare medications for clients
Tasks: Maintain inventories of medications and prescription records of pharmaceutical products
Tasks: Bill third party insurers
Construction Specialization: Team player
Construction Specialization: Organized
Maintain inventories of medications and prescription records of pharmaceutical products
Ensure the information on prescriptions is accurate, enter client information in databases and prepare medications for clients
Tasks: Compound oral solutions, ointments and creams
Bill third party insurers
Personal Suitability: Organized
Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2020
  • Minimum Education 6 years post-secondary

Educational requirements vary. Most often, students must complete a 2-year diploma program followed by a 2-year residency. They must then pass a certification exam.

The following institutions offer clinical prosthetic and orthotic programs in English. The programs are accredited by Orthotics Prosthetics Canada (OPC).

The George Brown College of Applied Arts and Technology (GBC) in Toronto and British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) in Burnaby offer a 2-year Clinical Methods in Orthotics and Prosthetics diploma program. Entrance requirements include a related bachelor’s degree, an admissions test, an application portfolio, and an interview.

BCIT also offers a 2-year post-graduate diploma program in Prosthetics and Orthotics.

BCIT and GBC students who have completed a bachelor’s degree may apply to McMaster University to pursue a master of science (M.Sc.) degree in rehabilitation science. Students complete this graduate program concurrently with the Prosthetics and Orthotics program. For more information, see the School of Rehabilitation Science at McMaster University website.

Prosthetists and orthotists who own their own businesses may find value in having some business education to enhance their clinics.

Prosthetists and orthotists should stay on top of current practices and technologies to ensure the most up-to-date client prescriptions.


Related Education

The following schools offer programs or courses that are related to this occupation but are not required to enter the field.

British Columbia Institute of Technology

To expand or narrow your search for programs related to this occupation, visit Post-Secondary Programs.

Completing a program does not guarantee entrance into an occupation. Before enrolling in an education program, prospective students should look into various sources for education options and employment possibilities. For example, contact associations and employers in this field.

Certification Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2020
  • Certification Not Regulated

No legislation currently regulates this occupation. However, private and provincial funding agencies require prosthetists and orthotists to be certified by the Canadian Board for Certification of Prosthetists and Orthotists (CBCPO) through Orthotics Prosthetics Canada (OPC).

Certification requires successful completion of:

  • An accredited clinical prosthetic and orthotic program (through BCIT or GBC)
  • A 3,450-hour paid residency under the supervision of a certified prosthetist or orthotist
  • A national certification exam for prosthetics or orthotics

Some who are certified in one discipline wish to become certified in the other as well. To qualify for the second examination, candidates must complete a 3,450-hour residency in the second discipline. A second option is to practice for 5 years in the first discipline and then complete a 1,725-hour residency in the second discipline.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Mar 31, 2020

Prosthetists and orthotists work in:

  • Private clinics
  • Hospital rehabilitation departments
  • Companies that manufacture prosthetic or orthotic devices

There are few positions for this occupation in Alberta. Many prosthetists and orthotists set up their own companies and work independently.

Prosthetists and orthotists 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 [pdf] in this occupation is 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 (when people leave existing positions)
  • Occupational growth (when new positions are created)
  • Size of the occupation

In Alberta, the 3219: Other medical technologists and technicians (except dental health) occupational group is expected to have an above-average annual growth of 2% from 2019 to 2023. In addition to job openings created by employment turnover, 96 new positions are forecasted to be created within this occupational group each year.

Note
NOC groups often include several related occupations. Although there is labour market data for the larger NOC group, this occupation makes up only a part of that group. It means data for this occupation may be different than the data shown. For example, only some of the new positions to be created will be for this occupation. It also applies to other data for the NOC group such as number of people employed.

Source: Alberta Regional Occupational Demand Outlook

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

Related Alberta Job Postings
Wage & Salary
Updated Mar 31, 2020

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Other medical technologists and technicians (except dental health)

2016 NOC: 3219
Average Wage
$31.35
Per Hour
Average Salary
$56,641.00
Per Year
Average Hours
34.1
Per Week
Average Months on Payroll
12
Survey Methodology Survey Analysis

Source
2019 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey

NOC 3219 Wage Profile

Unless otherwise noted, the data shown here is for all industries and all regions in Alberta.

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.

To see the full survey data for this NOC group, visit the wage profile.

Other wage sources
To make an informed wage and salary decision, research other wage sources [pdf] to supplement this data.

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.


Hourly Wage

For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median
Starting
Overall
Top

Hourly Wage

For full-time and part-time employees
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $15.00 $34.23 $24.08 $25.10
Overall $17.63 $44.71 $31.35 $35.23
Top $24.00 $59.29 $36.26 $37.38

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.

Pay brackets for hourly wages

  • Starting pay: average pay offered for entry-level positions
  • Overall pay: average pay across all employees in this occupation
  • Top pay: average pay offered to top-paid employees

Industry Information

Public Administration
Health Care & Social Assistance
ALL INDUSTRIES
Retail Trade

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years
51%
51%)
Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties
36%
36%
Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months
6%
6%
Vacancy Rate
1%
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Engineering and Science Technologies
  • Health Care and Medical Sciences
Other Sources of Information
Updated Mar 31, 2020

Alberta Association of Orthotists and Prosthetists (AAOP) website: www.albertaoandp.com

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

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

Orthotics Prosthetics Canada (OPC) website: opcanada.ca

Get information and referrals about career, education, and employment options from Alberta Supports.

Updated Mar 31, 2020. 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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