Shadowing a DoctorDecember 18, 2014
- J ob Description
- Education and training
- Essential Skills, Qualities & Interests
- Job Opportunities & Job Prospects
Education & Training
Before you can practice as a prosthetist or orthotist in the UK, you will have to complete a 3 or 4-year degree course approved by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) and the British Association of Prosthetists and Orthotists (BAPO).
The approved degree course is available at two universities in the UK –
- University of Strathclyde – The National Centre for Training and Education in Prosthetics and Orthotics
- University of Salford – School of Health Sciences
If you are a resident of the UK and depending on your financial circumstances you could get your tuition fees paid and you may also be able to get a grant. You can find more details on this at the NHS Business Services Authority website.
Prosthetist-orthotist programmes usually combine academic studies with clinical placements where students get the opportunity to see patients wearing both kinds of device – orthoses and prostheses.
As part of your coursework curriculum you will study the same core subjects as other allied health professionals. This includes:
- anatomy (the structure of the body)
- human motion analysis (how the body moves)
- physiology (function of the body)
- pathology (the nature and cause of disease)
In addition you will also study specific subjects that are directly relevant to this particular field including prescribing, designing and fabricating prostheses and orthoses.
When you have completed the degree, you can then either choose to specialise in any one area or you could practise both, orthotics as well as prosthetics. The British Association of Prosthetists and Orthotists (BAPO) offers a variety of short specialised courses and advanced training for practicing professionals.
Job Opportunities & Job Prospects
Most prosthetists and orthotists start your career with a prosthetic manufacturing company or within a commercial orthotic company. Both of these types of companies often work under contracts with the NHS. Another option is to work directly with the NHS.
With some experience under your belt, you could move into a specialist clinical area or progress to a research and development post teaching or a management post.
There is an acute shortage of graduate prosthetists and orthotists worldwide and career prospects are excellent in both these specialties. UK courses are recognised in most countries around the world, making it easier to find job opportunities with manufacturing and servicing companies or in private practice in any country. Another opportunity that can be very rewarding is working with organisations such as the Red Cross who work with communities traumatised by war and where the need for prostheses and orthoses are very high.
Starting salaries for prosthetists/orthotists are between £21,390 and £27,900 a year. More experienced professionals earn an average salary of about £25,784 to £34,530.