Performs patient management tasks under the supervision of a certified practitioner. Fabricates, repairs, and maintains devices.
- High school diploma, GED, or college degree
- Courses in human anatomy, physics, and medical terminology
- One year of patient care
- Certification exam
O&P assistants blend patient care with design and fabrication of devices. Certified orthotic and prosthetic assistants are similar in many ways to other healthcare providers: They see patients in an exam room, they must touch their patients, they work in partnership with other healthcare professionals, and they become familiar with all aspects of their patients’ health. However, instead of using prescriptions or medical procedures to treat patients, they build and provide orthotic and prosthetic devices to address their patients’ needs.
The O&P assistant must be supervised by a certified practitioner, but their work includes many of the same duties. An O&P assistant manages patient care as well as fabricates, repairs, and maintains orthotic and prosthetic devices to provide appropriate fit, function, and appearance. O&P assistants may work in settings such as patient care facilities, hospitals, and VA facilities.
Steps to a career as an O&P assistant
To become an O&P assistant, you must attain a high school diploma, GED, or college degree, and take college courses in human anatomy, physics, and medical terminology. To become certified in either orthotics or prosthetics, you must complete one year of patient care under the supervision of a certified orthotist or prosthetist. For certification in both orthotics and prosthetics, you must complete 18 months of supervised patient care. You will have to pass exams from the American Board for Certification in Orthotics, Prosthetics and Pedorthics (ABC). To learn more about the requirements for certification, please visit the ABC website.
Read a profile of certified prosthetic assistant Linda Martin.