How do I Become an Orthotist?

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  • Written By: Carol Francois
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Last Modified Date: 02 November 2019
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There are four steps required to become an orthotist: post-secondary training, a 12-month residence program, successful completion of the certification process and finding employment. An orthotist is a health services professional who measures, creates and fits devices to provide assistance with a physical disability. These issues can be caused by either accidents, illness or birth defects. All orthotic devices are prescribed by a physican, and the orthotist works directly with the patient to provide necessary support devices.

Post-secondary education is mandatory if you want to become an orthotist. A minimum bachelor's degree or a post-graduate certificate in orthotics and prosthetics from an accredited school is required. These programs are available at a very select number of schools, and the competition for admissions is quite high.

Incorporated into the training program is a 12-month residency. This is a mandatory requirement and provides an opportunity to gain valuable experience in a supervised setting. The location for the residency is arranged by the school and might include a combination of clinical and equipment fabrication positions. During the residency period, you would be under constant supervision from a certified orthotist.


In order to become an orthotist in the United States, there are a combination of interviews and examinations required by The American Board of Certification in Orthotics & Prosthetics, IncĀ®. The examinations are designed to cover both theoretical and practical skills. Many schools provide access to study programs designed specifically to prepare students for these examinations. Orthotists are professionally regulated, and a valid license typically is necessary to work in this capacity.

Continuing education generally is required, with a specific number of course hours to be completed every year. In addition, you would be expected to perform your duties according to a professional standard. As a licensed medical professional, an orthotist is subject to medical malpractice lawsuits if he or she fails to provide a suitable level of care, so keep this in mind.

There are two primary employment opportunities if you become an orthotist: working in a private practice or working in a hospital or rehabilitation center. People who work in private practice must cultivate relationships with local physicians, because this is a referral-based type of work. This is a very lucrative career option, but it requires the purchase of malpractice insurance and the operation of a full medical services business.

After you become an orthotist, you also could find employment in a rehabilitation center or hospital. You then would be a member of the health services team. Working with patients, doctors and other support staff as an orthotist, you would provide an essential service that allows the patient to regain mobility and independence.


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Post 1

My name is Yohannes and I am a disabled person working in a rehabilitation center as an orthopedic technician. I have had training only for six months. Since I am also a disabled person and I am very happy helping others like me, how can I get further training for a Diploma or certificate or degree level in order to serve better? Please help me get a scholarship.

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