Prosthetist-orthotist

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Healthcare
Care

Career outlook for prosthetist-orthotist

UK Salary Ranges

Entry-level

£25,654

Experienced

£45,838


Currently employed in Scotland

4,000

Salary information is provided by the "National Careers Service". "Oxford Economics" supplies job forecasts and employment figures. Due to COVID-19 the jobs market is constantly changing. Some of the information may not reflect the current situation.

What's it like?

You would help people who need an artificial limb or a device to support or control part of their body.You would create devices which would give them greater independence and could hugely improve their quality of life, 

Your work would assist people who find it physically difficult to move. You could work with people recovering from a stroke or who have rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes or cerebral palsy.

A prosthesis is a device that replaces a missing part of a person’s body. As a prosthetist, you would design and fit artificial limbs (prostheses) to replace limbs lost through amputation or which are missing at birth.

An orthosis is fitted to an existing part of the body. As an orthotist, you would design and fit surgical appliances (orthoses) such as braces, callipers, neck collars and splints. They support people’s limbs or the spine to relieve pain, help people move or prevent physical conditions getting worse. A person might wear the orthosis permanently or just use it temporarily.

You would:

  • Assess a patient's needs
  • Take measurements and use computer modelling to design the prosthesis or orthosis
  • Explain the design to a technician, who will make it
  • Fit the device to the patient, making sure it is comfortable
  • Do follow-up checks with patients to see how they are coping with it
  • Make sure the appliance or limb is functioning properly
  • Carry out adjustments or repairs if needed

You would work with other healthcare professionals. Physiotherapists would oversee the patient's exercise regime. Occupational therapists would help the patient understand how to perform daily activities with the device.

You can see more about this role in the NHS on the Prosthetist/orthotist page on the NHS Careers website.

Working conditions

Hours

You would usually work between 37 and 40 hours a week Monday to Friday. Part-time or flexible hours may also be available.

Environment

You would work within hospitals, clinics and health centres.

Travel

You might need to visit some patients in their own homes.

UK employment status

Full-time

60%

Part-time

28%

Self employed

12%

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  • Cooperating
  • Supporting
  • Verbal communication
  • Working with technology
  • Designing
  • Problem solving
  • Empathising
  • Social conscience
  • Taking initiative
  • Making decisions

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Getting in

Entry requirements for courses can change. Always contact the college, university or training provider to check exactly what you'll need.

Foundation Apprenticeships

Choosing a Foundation Apprenticeship as one of your subjects in S5 and S6 can help you get a head start with this type of job.

You'll get an SCQF level 6 qualification (the same level as a Higher) plus valuable work placement experience and skills you can't learn in a classroom.

Interested? Find out what's on offer at your school on Apprenticeships.scot.

Qualifications

You need an honours degree (SCQF level 10) or postgraduate qualifications (SCQF level 11) in Prosthetics and orthotics approved by the British Association of Prosthetists and Orthotists (BAPO) and the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC).

Currently in Scotland, only Strathclyde University offers approved courses.

To enter a BSc honours degree in Prosthetics and Orthotics (SCQF level 10) requires National 5 qualifications and Highers at AAAB or AABBB; Advanced Highers in science or engineering might also be of value.

To enter a MSc postgraduate Prosthetics & Orthotics course (SCQF level 11) requires an honours degree in a relevant subjects such science, engineering or medicine.

Useful subjects

  • Maths (required)
  • Physics (required)
  • Biology or human biology (required)
  • Other science and technologies subjects such as engineering science
  • ICT subjects

Helpful to have

Qualifications that offer experience in the health, science and technologies such as Laboratory Science (SCQF level 5) or Engineering Skills (SCQF level 4) when applying to courses.