Orthotists and prosthetists, commonly referred to as O&P professionals, design and fit custom medical supportive devices such as artificial limbs, braces and other devices. It's possible to specialize in just orthotics, which focuses on medical supportive devices, like braces and inserts, but there are only a handful of schools around the country that offer programs in this area.
These schools offer training for aspiring orthotists and prosthetists:
|College/University||Location||Institution Type||Degrees Offered||Tuition (2015-2016)*|
|Alabama State University||Montgomery, AL||4-year, public||Master's||$8,232 in-state, $16,464 out-of-state|
|Georgia Institute of Technology||Atlanta, GA||4-year, public||Master's||$13,452 in-state, $27,872 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|
|Northwestern University||Evanston, IL||4-year, private not-for-profit||Master's, Postgraduate certificate||$48,624|
|University of Washington||Seattle, WA||4-year, public||Bachelor's Master's||Undergraduate: $11,839 in-state, $34,143 out-of-state; Graduate: $15,207 in-state, $27,255 out-of-state|
|University of Hartford||West Hartford, CT||4-year, private not-for-profit||Master's||$11,700|
|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||$20,750|
|Eastern Michigan University||Ypsilanti, MI||4-year, public||Master's, Postgraduate certificate||$14,328 in-state, $26,400 out-of-state|
|Loma Linda University||Loma Linda, CA||4-year, private not-for-profit||Master's||$24,128|
Source: *National Center for Education Statistics
Find schools that offer these popular programs
- Art Therapist
- Dance Therapist
- Music Therapist
- Occupational Therapy
- Physical Therapy
- Prosthetics and Orthotics
- Rehabilitation Technologies
- Therapeutic Recreation
- Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor
School Selection Criteria
These are some important considerations for students choosing between schools:
- Students should make sure that the program is consistent with their academic interests. Some schools offer an orthotics-focused track, and some schools expect students to spend equal amounts of time studying prosthetics and orthotics.
- Students should make sure that the degree offered by the program is consistent with their career goals. Associate's-level programs typically prepare individuals for jobs as technicians, while master's degree programs can lead to career as an orthotist.
- Applicants to master's degree programs should look for schools that have been accredited by the accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs, since this is necessary to be eligible for certification.
- Because graduates of master's degree programs must complete a one-year residency before they can take the certification exam, prospective students may want to look at residency placement rates before enrolling.
Associate of Applied Science in Prosthetics and Orthotics
Earning an Associate of Applied Science can prepare graduates for the job market as prosthetics technicians. These individuals work in settings that include hospitals, rehab clinics, nursing homes and fabrication laboratories.
Bachelor of Science/Master of Science in Prosthetics and Orthotics
This degree program provides the student with a Bachelor of Science in a relevant area, such as biology or health science, which is designed to transfer into a Master of Science in Prosthetics and Orthotics (MSOP) program. These are often 5-year programs, allowing students to complete the degree program in less time than it would take to complete the bachelor's and master's programs separately.
Master of Science in Prosthetics and Orthotics
This is the required degree for entering the profession of orthotist. Programs generally take two years to complete, after which the graduate must complete a 1-year residency. Some programs offer evening classes so students can hold jobs while earning their degree.
A master's degree program in prosthetics and orthotics can prepare students for residencies, certification, and practice in the field. Associate's-level programs may be available for aspiring technicians.