Because the field of prosthetics involves hands-on work in laboratories and with patients, fully online entry-level programs do not exist. However, there are a few options for further education for orthotists and prosthetists (commonly called O&P professionals) already working in the field.
|Majors with Prosthetics Courses||Orthotics and Prosthetics, Industrial Engineering|
|Degree Levels Available||Hybrid Transitional Master's Degree, Master's in Hybrid Management of Orthotics and Prosthetics, Master's in Industrial Engineering|
|Online Availability||Partially available online|
|In-Person Requirements||On-campus examinations|
Prosthetics Education and Training Requirements
Prosthetics is a hands-on discipline that includes designing and building artificial limbs and mechanical devices, as well as fitting patients with them. Most programs teach both orthotics and prosthetics. In order to become an O&P professional, an individual must compete an on-campus master's degree program. On-campus associate's and bachelor's degree programs are available for those wishing to become O&P technicians.
Orthotics and Prosthetics Education
There are a few partially online graduate degree programs available for O&P professionals who have not yet attained a master's degree. There is also at least one school that offers an online master's degree in industrial engineering, with a specialization in engineering management of orthotics and prosthetics.
Hybrid Transitional Master's Degree
Current prosthetists who do not yet have a master's degree can enroll in this distance education program. Students take online courses delivered through a variety of media, including DVDs, online modules and videos. They must also come to campus to complete practical exams periodically.
Coursework for certified prosthetists includes biomechanics, lower limb orthotics and neuroscience, among other subjects. A collaborative research component is also included, in which the student collects data at a setting near his or her home and works with a project mentor. The 30-credit-hour program is self-paced, and students must complete all coursework within three years.
Hybrid Management of Orthotics and Prosthetics Master's Degree
This partially online program is for students with a bachelor's degree in orthotics and prosthetics. Courses are synchronous, and students must come to campus periodically for exams. Curricula combine business and management with materials science subjects.
To maintain licensure, prosthetics professionals must complete a certain amount of continuing education each year. Continuing education classes and programs in prosthetics are available online from several accredited schools. These programs often have flexible schedules and include both lectures and exercises to keep working prosthetic professional current with industry trends and innovations.