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Prosthetics Certification and Certificate Programs

Prosthetists gain education through two degree levels: a Bachelor of Science degree, or a post-baccalaureate certificate in prosthetics. These degrees provide education in topics such as biology, anatomy, biomechanics, and other areas.

Essential Information

Certification in the field of prosthetics involves the study of biomechanics, orthotics and other subjects. Prosthetists work with physicians to help patients recover from illness or injury through the custom creation of artificial limbs or body parts.

  • Program Levels in Prosthetics: Bachelor of Science degree in orthotics and prosthetics; Post-baccalaureate certificate program.
  • Prerequisites: Bachelor's degree- Observation or volunteer experience in orthotics and prosthetics; undergraduate courses in Anatomy and physiology, Biology, Psychology, Trigonometry, Physics, Chemistry, and Statistics. Certificate- Bachelor's degree in health-related field; prerequisites in math, science and statistics.

Bachelor of Applied Science in Orthotics and Prosthetics

The professional portion of the orthotics and prosthetics curriculum is normally presented solely in the junior and senior years. Students spend the first two years of studies completing prerequisite science and math courses and apply in their sophomore year for admission into the program. Due to this '2+2' structure, students often complete general education requirements at community colleges and transfer at the start of their junior year.

Coursework in an orthotics and prosthetics program is very technical. Students complete clinical rotations in order to gain hands-on experience Topics studied include:

  • Biomechanics
  • Gait analysis
  • Lower and upper extremity orthotics
  • Transtibial prosthetics
  • Clinical pathology
  • Spinal orthotics

Post-Baccalaureate Certificate of Completion in Prosthetics

Certificate programs in prosthetics incorporate didactic and hands-on training over a period of 6-9 months. Following completion of the program, graduates complete a 1-year residency in order to become eligible for the certification examination. Graduates can work as prosthetists.

Program coursework gives students hands-on experience in the following topics:

  • Biomechanics
  • Normal and pathological gait
  • Knee prosthetics
  • Radiographic procedures
  • Disarticulations
  • Upper limb prosthetics

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the need for prosthetists and orthotists is expected to grow at a rate of 36% between 2012 and 2022. The average annual salary for practitioners was $64,040 in 2014.

Continuing Education Information

Continuing education requirements for prosthetists are administered by American Board for Certification in Orthotics, Prosthetics and Pedorthics (ABCOP). Dually certified practitioners (CPO) must complete 100 credit hours of mandated continuing education every five years.

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