Manages all aspects of patient care.
Designs, fabricates, and fits devices.
- O&P master's degree
- Residency in orthotics, prosthetics, or both
- Certification exam
O&P practitioners blend patient care with design and fabrication of devices. Certified orthotists and prosthetists also known as "practitioners," 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.
An orthotist designs, fabricates, and fits custom-made orthopedic braces, or "orthoses," and fits pre-fabricated devices, and provides related patient care.
A prosthetist designs, fabricates, and fits custom-made artificial limbs, or "prostheses," and provides related patient care.
O&P practitioners are integral members of the healthcare and rehabilitation team. Practitioners evaluate patients, formulate treatment plans, and provide follow-up care and continued patient management that ensures the overall welfare of their patients. Their unique expertise in patient assessment, design, and materials offers patients increased mobility and independence. Practitioners work in settings such as patient care facilities, hospitals, VA facilities, rehabilitation facilities, long-term care facilities, and in patients' homes.
Steps to a career as an O&P practitioner
After completion of the master's degree program, you must complete a residency in orthotics, prosthetics, or both. To learn more about residencies, visit the NCOPE website.
To become certified, candidates must pass certification exams in orthotics, prosthetics, or both from the American Board for Certification in Orthotics, Prosthetics and Pedorthics (ABC), the Board of Certification/Accreditation, International (BOC), or both. To learn more about the requirements for certification, please visit the ABC website or the BOC website.