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Professions: Orthotists and Prosthetists

Qualification and registration requirements

Orthotists and Prosthetists are university trained Allied Health Professionals and must hold a bachelor degree in Prosthetics and Orthotics.

The available training schools in Australia are the University of the Sunshine Coast which offers a Bachelor of Health Science with an Extended Major in Prosthetics and Orthotics, and the Latrobe University which offers a Bachelor of Prosthetics and Orthotics (Honours).

Orthotists and Prosthetists must be eligible for membership of the Australian Orthotics and Prosthetics Association.  There are currently no registration requirements.

What is an Orthotist?

An Orthotist is a highly skilled health professional who works in the field of Orthotics which is the science that deals with the use of specialised mechanical devices that can be either dynamic or static to support, correct, and/or assist with the function of impaired parts of the muscular and skeletal system.

An orthotist's device can provide one or all of the following: protect or support an injury, assist with a patient's mobility, independence, and rehabilitation.

The term 'Orthosis' is now used to encompasss a variety of devices such as braces, splints, callipers and other types of surgical applicances etc.

What does an Orthotist do?

Orthotists are the people who work in clinical and ward environments to assess patient's orthotic needs. They also design, measure, make and fit all types of custom made orthosis to patients who have disabilities, have suffered trauma injuries and/or are recovering from surgical procedures.

Orthotists also fit a wide range of off the shelf non-custom orthosis to patients.

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What is a Prosthetist?

A Prosthetist is an Allied Health Professional who designs, measures, fabricates, and fits Prostheses.

What does a Prosthetist do?

A Prosthetist is clinically responsible for assessing, manufacturing, and fitting various types of upper and lower limb prostheses (artificial limbs).  Prosthetists also provide education and training regarding the use, care and function of prostheses.

All limb prostheses are precision made applicances that are individually designed to restore the function and look of the lost limb as much as possible.  Prosthetists assist clients such as children born with congenital limb deficiency, people who have had an amputation following an accident or the elderly who have lost a limb as a result of vascular disease.

Due to modern advances in prosthetic technology, prosthetists supply lighter, stronger and more naturally functioning prostheses than ever before.  Technological advances include the 'energy storing foot', the 'microprocessor controlled knee' and the myo-electric (bionic) hand.

(Adapted from the Australian Orthotic Prosthetic Associaiton Inc. website)

Related links

For information on how to gain recognition of Allied Health qualifications obtained overseas, please contact the relevant professional association as per web links above.