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Career profile Prosthetist

Also known as Certified Orthotist (CO), Certified Pedorthist, Certified Prosthetist (CP), Certified Prosthetist and Orthotist (CPO), Certified Prosthetist Orthotist (CPO), Licensed Prosthetist and Orthotist (LPO), Orthotic Practitioner, Orthotist, Prosthetic Practitioner, Prosthetist

Prosthetist

Also known as Certified Orthotist (CO), Certified Pedorthist, Certified Prosthetist (CP)

Interests Profile
  • Social
  • Realistic
  • Investigative
Pay Range
$41,790 - $110,130 (annual)
Required Skills
  • Reading Comprehension
  • Active Listening
  • Writing
Knowledge Areas
  • Customer and Personal Service
  • Design
  • Production and Processing
Core tasks
  • Maintain patients' records.
  • Fit, test, and evaluate devices on patients, and make adjustments for proper fit, function, and comfort.
  • Examine, interview, and measure patients to determine their appliance needs and to identify factors that could affect appliance fit.
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What does a Prosthetist do?

Prosthetists design, measure, fit, and adapt orthopedic braces, appliances or prostheses, such as limbs or facial parts for patients with disabling conditions.

What kind of tasks does a Prosthetist perform regularly?

Prosthetists are often responsible for overseeing or executing some or all of the following tasks:

  • Maintain patients' records.
  • Fit, test, and evaluate devices on patients, and make adjustments for proper fit, function, and comfort.
  • Examine, interview, and measure patients to determine their appliance needs and to identify factors that could affect appliance fit.
  • Instruct patients in the use and care of orthoses and prostheses.
  • Design orthopedic and prosthetic devices, based on physicians' prescriptions and examination and measurement of patients.
  • Select materials and components to be used, based on device design.
  • Construct and fabricate appliances, or supervise others constructing the appliances.
  • Make and modify plaster casts of areas to be fitted with prostheses or orthoses to guide the device construction process.
  • Repair, rebuild, and modify prosthetic and orthopedic appliances.
  • Train and supervise support staff, such as orthopedic and prosthetic assistants and technicians.
  • Update skills and knowledge by attending conferences and seminars.
  • Confer with physicians to formulate specifications and prescriptions for orthopedic or prosthetic devices.
  • Show and explain orthopedic and prosthetic appliances to healthcare workers.
  • Research new ways to construct and use orthopedic and prosthetic devices.

The above responsibilities are specific to Prosthetists. More generally, Prosthetists are involved in several broader types of activities:

Documenting/Recording Information
Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
Assisting and Caring for Others
Providing personal assistance, medical attention, emotional support, or other personal care to others such as coworkers, customers, or patients.
Getting Information
Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Making Decisions and Solving Problems
Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships
Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.

What is a Prosthetist salary?

The median salary for a Prosthetist is $70,190, and the average salary is $74,120. Both the median and average roughly describe the middle of the Prosthetist salary range, but the average is more easily affected by extremely high or low salaries.

Many Prosthetists earn significantly more or less than the average, due to several factors. About 10% of Prosthetists earn less than $41,790 per year, 25% earn less than $53,770, 75% earn less than $89,240, and 90% earn less than $110,130.

Between the years of 2020 and 2030, the number of Prosthetists is expected to change by 18.8%, and there should be roughly 1,000 open positions for Prosthetists every year.

Median annual salary
$70,190
Typical salary range
$41,790 - $110,130
Projected growth (2020 - 2030)
18.8%

What personality traits are common among Prosthetists?

Interests

Career interests describe a person's preferences for different types of working environments and activities. When a person's interest match the demands of an occupation, people are usually more engaged and satisfied in that role.

Compared to most occupations, those who work as a Prosthetist are usually higher in their Social, Realistic, and Investigative interests.

Prosthetists typically have very strong Social interests. Social occupations frequently involve working with, communicating with, and teaching people. These occupations often involve helping or providing service to others.

Also, Prosthetists typically have strong Realistic interests. Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.

Lastly, Prosthetists typically have moderate Investigative interests. Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.

Values

People differ in their values, or what is most important to them for building job satisfaction and fulfillment.

Compared to most people, those working as a Prosthetist tend to value Relationships, Independence, and Achievement.

Most importantly, Prosthetists very strongly value Relationships. Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment.

Second, Prosthetists very strongly value Independence. Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions.

Lastly, Prosthetists strongly value Achievement. Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment.

Psychological Demands

Each occupation brings its own set of psychological demands, which describe the characteristics necessary to perform the job well.

In order to perform their job successfully, people who work as Prosthetists must consistently demonstrate qualities such as integrity, concern for others, and dependability.

Below, you'll find a list of qualities typically required of Prosthetists, ranked by importance:

Integrity
Job requires being honest and ethical.
Concern for Others
Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
Dependability
Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
Attention to Detail
Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
Self-Control
Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.

What education and training do Prosthetists need?

Many Prosthetists have earned a graduate degree. For example, they may require a master's degree, and some require a doctoral degree, such as a Ph.D., M.D., or J.D..

Prosthetists may need some on-the-job training, but most candidates will already have the required skills, knowledge, work-related experience, and/or training.

Educational degrees among Prosthetists

  • 2.2% did not complete high school or secondary school
  • 17.9% completed high school or secondary school
  • 30.5% completed some college coursework
  • 17.9% earned a Associate's degree
  • 22.2% earned a Bachelor's degree
  • 6.1% earned a Master's degree
  • 3.1% earned a doctorate or professional degree

Knowledge and expertise required by Prosthetists

Prosthetists may benefit from understanding of specialized subject areas, such as customer and personal service, design, or production and processing knowledge.

The list below shows several areas in which most Prosthetists might want to build proficiency, ranked by importance.

Customer and Personal Service
Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
Design
Knowledge of design techniques, tools, and principles involved in production of precision technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.
Production and Processing
Knowledge of raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and other techniques for maximizing the effective manufacture and distribution of goods.
Administration and Management
Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
Mechanical
Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.

Important Abilities needed by Prosthetists

Prosthetists must develop a particular set of abilities to perform their job well. Abilities are individual capacities that influence a person's information processing, sensory perception, motor coordination, and physical strength or endurance. Individuals may naturally have certain abilities without explicit training, but most abilities can be sharpened somewhat through practice.

For example, Prosthetists need abilities such as written comprehension, oral comprehension, and oral expression in order to perform their job at a high level. The list below shows several important abilities for Prosthetists, ranked by their relative importance.

Written Comprehension
The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
Oral Comprehension
The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
Oral Expression
The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
Written Expression
The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
Problem Sensitivity
The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing that there is a problem.

Critical Skills needed by Prosthetists

Skills are developed capacities that enable people to function effectively in real-world settings. Unlike abilities, skills are typically easier to build through practice and experience. Skills influence effectiveness in areas such as learning, working with others, design, troubleshooting, and more.

Prosthetists frequently use skills like reading comprehension, active listening, and writing to perform their job effectively. The list below shows several critical skills for Prosthetists, ranked by their relative importance.

Reading Comprehension
Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work-related documents.
Active Listening
Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Writing
Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
Speaking
Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Critical Thinking
Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.

What is the source of this information?

The information provided on this page is adapted from data and descriptions published by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration under the CC BY 4.0 license. TraitLab has modified some information for ease of use and reading, and the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment, and Training Administration has not approved, endorsed, or tested these modifications.

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