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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.

  • Avg. Salary $56,641.00
  • Avg. Wage $31.35
  • Minimum Education 6 years post-secondary
  • Outlook N/A
  • Employed 5,700
  • In Demand Lower
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) 
Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

51%
51%
Average Wage
Starting
Overall
Top
  • Certification Not Regulated
  • Strength Required Lift over 20 kg
Interest Codes
The Prosthetist and Orthotist is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).
Prosthetists and Orthotists
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

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 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

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.

  • Strength Required Lift over 20 kg
Skills & Abilities
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.

Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2020

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

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

Certification Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2020

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

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

Wage & Salary
Updated Mar 31, 2020
Other medical technologists and technicians (except dental health)

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 $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.

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
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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