Do you want to make a difference to people with life changing injuries, while doing a job you love?

Orthotist fitting a wrist brace onto a patient. Photo by Tom Claes on Unsplash

Then a career as an orthotist might be right for you!

What do orthotists do?

A person walks into an apartment wearing a neck brace.

An orthotist is a medical professional who helps people who need support for body parts by making and fitting braces and splints. These support devices are called orthoses.

Examples of what an orthotist makes:

  • Ankle and foot braces

  • Knee and neck braces

  • Spinal braces to support the spinal cord after injury

What's the difference between an orthotist and a prosthetist?

A prosthetist fitting a prosthetic are to an amputee Photo by ThisisEngineering RAEng on Unsplash

A prosthetist creates artificial limbs for amputees — people who have lost an arm or a leg (limb) due to injury or disease.

Orthotists work closely with prosthetists, but they are often the same person. Watch the video below to learn more about each role.

Where do orthotists work?

Orthotists practice in a variety of medical settings such as:

How do I become an orthotist?

Chicago Pd Help GIF by One Chicago

  1. Graduate from high school (obviously :-)

  2. Get a bachelor's degree (preferably in science and maths)

  3. Enroll in an orthotist master's degree program (you can specialize in upper or lower body)

  4. Get accreditation by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) if you want to work in the US

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What skills do I need?

South Park character in a neck and head frame saying

  • Empathy: making patients with injuries or illnesses feel less anxious

  • Patience: support can take a lot of time and effort for many patients

  • Detail-oriented: making sure that the devices fit demands precision

  • Physical stamina: bending over machinery and patients and handling heavy tools

  • Manual dexterity: good working hands are necessary to create complex devices

  • Communication skills: explaining yourself clearly to patients and colleagues to avoid mistakes or misunderstandings

  • Problem-solving skills: evaluating the best solutions for any given situation is key

Job outlook and pay


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  • Employability is projected to grow 17 percent from 2021 to 2031 in the US

  • About 1,000 new orthotist jobs will become available each year in this period


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  • USA: $75,440 median annual wages, May 2021

  • Canada: $74,948 median annual wages, 2022


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