Prosthetics Technician Schools
Health issues or physically traumatic events may cause individuals to require the services of an orthotist, podiatrist or prosthetist. Learn about education programs that could prepare you to assist these professionals as a prosthetics technician. Get info on certification options.
You can become a prosthetic technician by completing a certificate or associate degree program in the field. See what these programs cover, how they will prepare you for a career, and where they can be found in the article below.
How Do I Find a School for Prosthetic Technicians?
Prosthetic technology is closely related to orthotic technology, and both fields are grouped under the general heading of medical appliance technology. Consequently, schools often offer programs in both areas, either singly or together.
To find schools offering programs in medical appliance technology, you may want to look at the online directory maintained by the National Commission on Orthotic and Prosthetic Education (NCOPE). As of 2012, NCOPE had accredited only six programs nationwide (www.ncope.org). If you intend to seek certification, you may want to consider one of the NCOPE-accredited programs.
What Are Some Available Programs?
One common degree program is an Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) in Orthotic and Prosthetic Technology. A.A.S. programs can consist of over 60 credits, including general education courses, and will typically take you two years to complete. Because of the necessity of a large amount of hands-on training, you may only be allowed to complete general education courses online.
You may also decide to try for a diploma, Certificate of Achievement or Certificate of Completion in prosthetic technology. Diploma and Certificate of Achievement programs take less time and contain fewer general education courses than degree programs. Certificate of Completion programs have no general education requirements and may concentrate on one specific area, such as prosthetics.
Which Schools Offer Certificate/Diploma Programs in Prosthetic Technology?
A great deal of colleges offer students the opportunity to earn a certificate or diploma in prosthetic technology, such as the ones below:
- Francis Tuttle Technology Center delivers a Prosthetic Technician Certificate of Completion program
- Century College houses a Prosthetic Technician Diploma program
- Joliet Junior College has a Certificate of Achievement in Prosthetics program
Which Schools Offer Associate Degree Programs in Prosthetic Technology?
Associate degree programs in prosthetic technology are commonly available at a variety of schools. Some examples of these include:
- St. Petersburg College provides an Associate in Science in Orthotics and Prosthetics Technology degree program
- Baker College hosts an Associate of Applied Science in Orthotic/Prosthetic Technology
- Century College has an Associate in Applied Science in Prosthetic Technology degree program
What Courses Can I Expect to Take?
Some typical courses found in these programs include transtibial and transfermoral prosthetics, socket inserts, alignments and duplication, prosthetic fabrication, upper and lower limb prosthetics and medical terminology. In addition, you may be required to pursue fabrication-related courses such as wiring and circuit design, machine tool technology and engineering graphics. Some programs require you to complete an internship.
How Can I Earn Certification?
As stated by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, certification as a prosthetic, orthotic or O&P technician is voluntary (www.bls.gov). However, certification can increase your employment and advancement opportunities.
Once you complete an NCOPE-accredited program, you qualify to sit for a certification examination administered by the American Board for Certification in Orthotics, Prosthetics and Pedorthics (ABC). The credentials include certified prosthetic-orthotic technician, certified prosthetic technician and certified orthotic technician. Your eligibility for a specific certification depends on what program you complete.
You can become eligible to sit for a certification examination even if you don't complete a formal education program. The ABC states that if you complete at least two years of qualified work experience as a prosthetic technician, under the supervision and guidance of an ABC-certified practitioner, you can apply to sit for a certification exam.
Certificate, diploma and associate degree programs allow students to pursue a career as a prosthetic technician. They can also qualify students for certification exams, which, in tandem with an educational program, can give you a headstart in your career.