Orthotics and prosthetics technology programs are commonly available at the undergraduate level. To become a certified prosthetist, students must earn a master's degree, complete a two-year residency and pass a certification exam.
Schools with Prosthetics Programs
Prosthetics programs can be found at the following schools:
|College/University||Location||Institution Type||Degrees Offered*||Tuition and Fees, In-State (2015-2016)**|
|University of Washington-Seattle Campus||Seattle, WA||4-year, Public||Master's||Graduate: $16,278|
|St. Petersburg College||Clearwater, FL||4-year, Public||Certificate, Associate's||Undergraduate: $3,352|
|Eastern Michigan University||Ypsilanti, MI||4-year, Public||Master's||Graduate: $15,573|
|Georgia Institute of Technology||Atlanta, GA||4-year, Public||Master's||Graduate: $15,644|
|Northwestern University||Evanston, IL||4-year, Private||Master's||Graduate: $49,064|
|Baker College of Flint||Flint, MI||4-year, Private||Associate's||Undergraduate: $8,640|
|Spokane Falls Community College||Spokane, WA||2-year, Public||Certificate, Associate's||Undergraduate: $3,388|
|Century College||White Bear Lake, MN||2-year, Public||Diploma, Associate's||Undergraduate: $5,391|
Sources: *School website, **National Center for Education Statistics
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School Selection Criteria
Consider the following when looking for prosthetics schools:
- Students should make sure that the program provides training that is consistent with their career goals; aspiring prosthetists must earn a master's degree, while technicians only need to complete an undergraduate program.
- Students who want to become prosthetists must make sure that the master's program has been accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Program (CAAHEP).
- When looking at different master's degree programs, it can be helpful to find out what the residency placement rate is for graduates of the program.
- Students who are looking at undergraduate-level programs may want to find out about the pass rates for graduates on the Certified Technician Prosthetics (CTP) exam and the Certified Technician Prosthetics/Orthotics Exam (CTPO).
In undergraduate certificate programs for prosthetics technicians, students learn the basics of maintaining and repairing prosthetic and orthotic devices. They take foundational courses in human anatomy and physiology, and they gain hands-on experience with the tools and materials used in orthotics and prosthetics service. Some programs focus specifically on prosthetics, while others integrate studies in both prosthetics and orthotics.
Associate's Degree Programs
Associate of Applied Science (AAS) programs for aspiring prosthetics technicians typically cover the same material as certificate programs, but they also require students to fulfill general education requirements. Upon completion, graduates are prepared to take the national CPT or CPTO exam, depending on their career goals. In total, these programs take two years to complete.
Bachelor's Degree Programs
Bachelor's degree programs in orthotics and prosthetics go beyond the basics of associate's degree programs to incorporate more advanced studies in the design of prosthetic technologies and the social, political and ethical issues related to their use. Most programs confer a Bachelor of Science (BS), but there are some programs that provide five-year accelerated BS/MS degrees. It is important to note that many schools have been phasing out bachelor's degrees in the field since 2012, when the National Commission on Orthotic and Prosthetic Education mandated that certified prosthetists hold a master's degree.
Master's Degree Programs
In master's degree programs in orthotics and prosthetics, students gain the advanced biomedical training they need to prepare for a residency and the national certification exam. Most programs take two years to complete, and they combine classroom coursework in orthotics materials and use with supervised clinical experiences in the field. Some programs are available in distance learning formats in order to accommodate the needs of non-local students.
Students who want to work in the field of prosthetics can choose between undergraduate and graduate-level programs depending on their future career goals. Residency placement and national exam pass rates are also important considerations.