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Occupational Profile

Prosthetist and Orthotist

Prosthetists and orthotists assess patient needs and physical abilities; design, fabricate, fit, evaluate and repair prosthetic devices (artificial limbs) and orthotic devices (braces and supports) or supervise these activities; and provide related advice.

  • Avg. Salary $32,788.00
  • Avg. Wage $19.86
  • Minimum Education 6 years post-secondary
  • Outlook N/A
  • Employed 5,800
  • In Demand High
Also Known As

Artificial Limb Maker, Health Care Technologist, Medical Technologist, Orthotist

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 Prosthetist and Orthotist is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).
Prosthetists and Orthotists
NOC code: 3219.3
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 Feb 20, 2015

Prosthetists and orthotists may work with people of all ages or specialize in working with particular age groups (for example, children or seniors). In general, they:

  • assess each patient's level of mobility, strength, endurance and other physical abilities
  • diagnose conditions and develop treatment plans to restore movement, reduce pain or improve mobility
  • treat conditions and help patients understand the effects of conditions on physical abilities
  • provide advice regarding ways to prevent potential health problems
  • fabricate devices or supervise the work of prosthetic/orthotic technicians
  • design, modify, fit, adjust and evaluate finished protheses or orthoses for maximum comfort and usefulness
  • consult with and advise other health professionals, and educate students and support personnel.

Prosthetists and orthotists sometimes work in conjunction with physicians, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, podiatrists, nurses and other health professionals.

Working Conditions
Updated Feb 20, 2015

Prosthetists and orthotists work in private practice clinics, community health centres, rehabilitation centres and hospitals. They may work weekday, evening and weekend hours in some settings.

Prosthetists and orthotists may assist patients who have limited or little mobility. They may have to lift and adjust both patients and equipment weighing up to 20 kilograms (occasionally weighing up to 40 kilograms). Providing direct patient care involves bending, stretching, standing and reaching.

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

Prosthetists and orthotists need the following characteristics:

  • the ability to work with a variety of people including clients, physicians, physiotherapists, nurses and technicians
  • patience, empathy and the ability to motivate and encourage people
  • strong analytical and problem solving skills
  • time management and organizational skills
  • good oral and written communication skills
  • the ability to concentrate and pay close attention to details
  • manual dexterity
  • mechanical aptitude.

They should enjoy:

  • working with people and directing the activities of others
  • working with tools, instruments and machinery at tasks requiring precision
  • analyzing biomechanical scenarios and using ingenuity solving problems.
Educational Requirements
Updated Feb 20, 2015

Most provincial funding agencies require prosthetists and orthotists to be certified by the Canadian Board for Certification of Prosthetists and Orthotists (CBCPO). Certification requires successful completion of: 

  • an accredited clinical prosthetic and orthotic program
  • a 3,450-hour residency under the supervision of a certified prosthetist or orthotist
  • a national certification exam for prosthetics or orthotics.

To qualify to take the examination for the second discipline (prosthetics or orthotics), those who are certified in a first discipline must complete a further 1,725 hours of practical experience and internship in the second area of specialty.

In Canada, the following institutions offer accredited clinical prosthetic/orthotic programs in English.


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.

The George Brown College of Applied Arts and Technology (GBC) in Toronto offers a two year Clinical Methods in Orthotics and Prosthetics diploma program. Entrance requirements include a related bachelor's degree or successful completion of the Orthotic/Prosthetic Technician program offered by the College, an admissions test, an application portfolio and an interview.

Presently, BCIT and GBC students who have completed a Bachelor's degree may apply to McMaster University to pursue a Master of Science (MSc) in Rehabilitation Science.  This graduate program is done 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 need business skills as well as clinical and technical skills.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Feb 20, 2015

Prosthetists and orthotists are employed in:

  • private clinics
  • hospital rehabilitation departments and government agencies
  • ambulatory care services and special treatment facilities (for example, arthritis centres)
  • device manufacturing companies.

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 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

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
  • English Language Arts
  • Science
    • Biology
    • Chemistry
    • Physics
  • 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 Jan 13, 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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