Orthotics technicians are medical professionals who build, adjust, alter, and maintain a variety of braces, support equipment, and even elements of prosthetics for patients who need these devices. Typically, these technicians work with patients who require these devices due to injury, illness, or ongoing impairment. The orthotics can be as simple as custom-designed shoe inserts, or as complex as the components required in prosthetic devices.
Orthotics technicans must have the manual dexterity to work with a variety of materials to create these devices from molds, casts, measurements, and tracings for patients from licensed physicians. These specifications are also typically accompanied by material recommendations; for orthotic technicians, the goal is to build supporting devices which find balances between necessary support, light weight, and comfort.
These technicians work with a variety of materials. Some braces still require metals, although usually in the form of lightweight alloys. They may work with plastics and foam rubber pieces, but also work high-tech developments like 3D printers and high-strength composite resins, as well. Orthotic braces are typically fitted to the patient, and the technician will make frequent adjustments as the patient adapts to the presence of the device.
A career as an orthotic technician typically requires a degree or certification program from a medical vocational school or community college. Technicians often work in internships while in school to acquire the necessary hands-on experience for the job's required certifications. Most orthotic technicians work in a clinical laboratory environment during regular business hours of the week.
Orthotics Technician Tasks
- Make orthotic devices by bending, forming and shaping materials to prescribed specifications.
- Read specifications to determine the type of device to be fabricated and the materials and tools that will be required.
- Fit, test and evaluate devices on patients and make adjustments for proper fit, function and comfort.
- Repair, rebuild and modify orthotic appliances.