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How to Become an Orthopedic Technician

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Orthopedic technicians are trained medical individuals who work under the direction of an orthopedic surgeon. They are experts in preparing and maintaining prosthetics, braces and other medical appliances. They also provide care to patients with orthopedic conditions through the adjustment, application and removal of a variety of splints, casts and traction fittings. Orthopedic technicians are typically employed in the orthopedic department in a hospital. Learn how to become a successful orthopedic technician through the following steps.

Complete your high school diploma or GED, a requirement for enrollment to an orthopedic technology program. Take science classes such as biology, mathematics, physics and chemistry in high school to prepare you for the orthopedic technology program. Most universities and community colleges require a grade point average of at least 2.5. Some trade schools, however, are more lenient with grades and test scores. For more information on admission requirements, contact local colleges or trade schools that offer orthopedic technician programs.

Enter and complete an orthopedic technician training program. Contact nearby trade schools, hospitals and community colleges to find out if they offer a degree program such as Associate of Applied Science in Orthopedic Technology. Your training will include courses in medical terminology, anatomy, physiology, psychology and orthopedic techniques, as well as a one-year externship program in a clinical setting. It will take two years to finish the program. The externship part of the program will provide hands-on experience assisting orthopedic surgeons and caring for patients in a clinical setting. Upon completion of the orthopedic technician training program, you can take the certification exam through the National Board for Certification of Orthopedic Technologists (NBCOT).

Certification is a requirement for practice or employment. It also assures your employer that you are competent in orthopedic technology. Make sure you have completed your externship program and have your evaluation forms signed by the clinical externship coordinator in your training hospital, or provide evidence that you have completed two years of full-time on-the-job training. Purchase and study review materials to help you pass the certification exam. Many review materials are available.

Visit the NBCOT website and apply for the exam. You must meet all requirements, such as gathering externship completion papers and a copy of your degree or diploma, prior to taking the exam. Once you pass the exam you will be a certified orthopedic technician.

Search and apply for a job as an orthopedic technician. Apply for a job at the medical facility where you finished your externship since you are familiar with that facility. Apply online for jobs available in various medical centers near you.


Frank Dioso is a trained medical technologist working for prominent research institutions such as Quest Diagnostics and California Clinical Trials. He has, for many years, ghostwritten clinical trial reports for confidential pharmaceutical drugs and is currently contributing his clinical laboratory science knowledge to online how-to articles.

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