Orthotists and prosthetists design and fabricate medical supportive devices and measure and fit patients for them. These devices include artificial limbs (arms, hands, legs, and feet), braces, and other medical or surgical devices.
Orthotists and prosthetists held about 8,300 jobs in 2014. Most work in offices, where they meet with patients, and then fabricate orthotic and prosthetic devices.
How to Become an Orthotist and Prosthetist
Orthotists and prosthetists need a master’s degree and certification. Both orthotists and prosthetists must complete a residency before they can be certified.
Employment of orthotists and prosthetists is projected to grow 23 percent from 2014 to 2024, much faster than the average for all occupations. The large aging baby-boom population will create a need for orthotists and prosthetists, because both diabetes and cardiovascular disease, which are the two leading causes of limb loss, are more common among older people.
This occupation supported 8,500 jobs in 2012 and 8,300 jobs in 2014, reflecting a decline of 2.4%. In 2012, this occupation was projected to increase by 35.3% in 2022 to 11,500 jobs. As of 2014, to keep pace with prediction, the expected number of jobs was 9,100, compared with an observed value of 8,300, 8.8% lower than expected. This indicates current employment trends are much worse than the 2012 trend within this occupation. In 2014, this occupation was projected to increase by 21.2% in 2024 to 10,100 jobs. Linear extrapolation of the 2012 projection for 2022 results in an expected number of 12,100 jobs for 2024, 19.8% higher than the 2014 projection for 2024. This indicates expectations for future employment trends are much worse than the 2012 trend within this occupation.