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Schools for Aspiring Orthotists: How to Choose the Right School

Students in orthotics and prosthetics master's degree programs learn how to combine and apply knowledge of science, medicine and technology in clinical settings. A few programs at the associate's degree and certificate levels prepare students to become orthotics technicians.

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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.

Orthotist/Prosthetist Schools

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

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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.

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