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Orthopedic Technician Courses and Schools

Orthopedic technicians create splints and casts that manipulate a patient's orthopedic injuries. Some technicians assist orthopedists in orthopedic surgeries. Read about certificate and associate's degree programs for aspiring orthopedic technicians, and check out the classroom and clinical coursework they require. Get info on certification options, salary potential and the job outlook for orthopedic technicians.

What You Need to Know

An orthopedic technician helps patients alleviate problems caused by their orthopedic injuries. This includes creating and adjusting orthopedic devices, applying and adjusting casts, administering traction, caring for wounds and removing sutures.

Responsibilities Helps alleviate injuries with casts, splints, caring for wounds and removing sutures
Programs Certificate and associate's degree
Courses Medical terminology, orthopedic technology, billing and insurance, anatomy and biology

What Else Does an Orthopedic Technician Do?

As an orthopedic technician, you may also assist orthopedic surgeons during surgery. You might also take patient vital signs, prepare injections and sterilize equipment. You can work in a hospital, clinic or private practice.

The job duties of an orthopedic technician accord with those listed by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) for medical, dental and ophthalmic lab technicians (www.bls.gov). This category includes the field of medical appliance technicians. In 2016, the BLS reported that there were 15,000 medical appliance technicians in the nation, and they earned an average annual salary of $37,190 in 2017.

What Education Do I Need?

Many orthopedic technicians receive on-the-job training and are only required to possess a high school diploma or its equivalent. However, certificate and associate's degree programs are available in the field. A certificate program requires about 36 credit hours of study, while an associate's degree program can require twice as many hours. Accelerated programs are available if you have a bachelor's degree in athletic training, exercise physiology or a related field. These programs also include a clinic.

Which Schools Offer Programs in Orthopedic Technology?

There is not a large number of schools in the U.S. that offer degree or certificate programs in orthopedic technology. These programs are offered at some community or technical colleges. Schools that have orthopedic technology programs include:

  • NHTI, Concord's Community College
  • Grossmont College
  • Southern Crescent Technical College
  • Rio Hondo College
  • Central Georgia Technical College
  • Atlantic Technical College

What Courses Will I Take?

Courses in these programs cover topics such as medical terminology, orthopedic technology, billing and insurance practices, anatomy and biology. Some courses are accompanied by labs. Program also may include a clinical that provides instruction in wound care, sterile techniques and traction. Specific courses that you can expect to take include:

  • Orthopedic techniques
  • Orthopedic surgical techniques
  • Orthopedic anatomy and physiology
  • Diagnosis and treatment of orthopedic disorders

Is Certification Available?

The National Association of Orthopaedic Technologists offers several levels of certification. The first level of certification requires that you have a high school diploma and one year of work experience; the second level of certification requires that you have completed a training program and have two years of experience. You may also need to sit for the National Board for Certification of Orthopaedic Technologists exam.

The American Society of Orthopedic Professionals (ASOP) also offers a Registered Orthopedic Technologist certification. One year casting experience or having attended an ASOP casting workshop and having current work experience under an orthopedic surgeon makes you eligible to take this certification exam.