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Schools with Orthotics and Prosthetics Programs: How to Choose

Master's degree programs are available at some colleges and universities throughout the U.S. that prepare individuals for careers as orthotists and prosthetists, and a few schools offer undergraduate degrees for technicians. All 50 states have licensing requirements for orthotists and prosthetists.

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Orthotic and prosthetic programs train students in conceptualizing, creating, fitting and measuring artificial limbs and body braces. The industry standard for employment as an orthotist is certification from the American Board for Certification in Orthotics, which requires a master's degree and a yearlong residency, but there are also undergraduate programs available to aspiring technicians.

10 Orthotics/Prosthetics Schools

At these schools, students can learn about orthotics and prosthetics:

College/University Location Institution Type Degrees Offered Tuition (2015-2016)*
Georgia Institute of Technology Atlanta, GA 4-year, public Master's $13,452 in-state, $27,872 out-of-state
Northwestern University Evanston, IL 4-year, private not-for-profit Master's $48,624
University of Washington Seattle, WA 4-year, public Master's $15,207 in-state, $27,255 out-of-state
University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center Dallas, TX 4-year, public Master's $5,232 in-state, $15,256 out-of-state
Loma Linda University Loma Linda, CA 4-year, private not-for-profit Master's $24,128
University of Hartford West Hartford, CT 4-year, private not-for-profit Bachelor's, Master's $36,460 undergrad, $11,700 grad
Alabama State University Montgomery, AL 4-year, public Master's $8,232 in-state, $16,464 out-of-state
University of Pittsburgh Pittsburgh, PA 4-year, public Master's $21,260 in-state, $34,944 out-of-state
Concordia University-Saint Paul Saint Paul, MN 4-year, private not-for-profit Bachelor's, Master's $20,750 undergrad, $8,550 graduate
Eastern Michigan University Ypsilanti, MI 4-year, public Master's $14,328 in-state, $26,400 out-of-state

Source: *National Center for Education Statistics

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School Selection Criteria

To narrow down their options for which school to attend, prospective orthotics/prosthetics students might want to keep the following in mind:

  • Schools with on-site orthotic and prosthetic facilities can give students the opportunity to gain a greater amount of hands-on experience.
  • Students should look into program scheduling options. For instance, it may be possible to enroll in 2+2 or 3+1 bachelor's degree programs, which divide the general education requirements and the clinical learning experiences at on- or off-site facilities.
  • Students interested specifically in orthotics or in prosthetics may enroll in programs that favor one over the other, or programs that instruct solely in one category.
  • Programs offering the study of both disciplines are widely available, though students may be required to enroll in two separate post-graduate residency programs for certification.

Associate Degree in Orthotics and Prosthetics

Associate degree programs in orthotics and prosthetics can qualify students for certification as orthotics technicians and entry-level employment and can be completed in two years. General education courses can transfer to bachelor's degree programs and internship opportunities may be available.

Bachelor's Degree in Orthotics and Prosthetics

Bachelor's degree programs in orthotics and prosthetics can be completed in four years and qualify students for residency programs as well as certification and employment. Upper and lower extremity prosthetics are studies, as well as upper and lower extremity orthotic braces.

Certificate in Orthotics or Prosthetics

Certificate programs in orthotics and prosthetics are generally offered as post-baccalaureate programs, focus only on prosthetics or orthotics, and may be completed in 1-2 years or less. Clinical experiences are typically required at this level. Coursework commonly includes the development of prosthetics for upper extremities, lower extremities and the spine, or orthotics for below the knee, above the knee or upper limbs.

Master's Degree in Orthotics and Prosthetics

Master's degree programs allow students to study not only the practical applications of orthotics and prosthetics, but research and theoretical concepts behind them as well. In addition to the study of specific orthotic and prosthetic development, students take lecture-based coursework in advanced scientific topics.

Whether students are looking for an undergraduate or graduate-level degree in orthotics and prosthetics, there are programs available at postsecondary institutions that include relevant scientific coursework and practical training opportunities. Different program formatting options may be available, depending on the school.

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