dcsimg
Search our Site!

Articles By Subject

How to Become an Orthopedic Technologist

Home >> Articles >> Healthcare Careers >> How to Become an Orthopedic Technologist

Orthopedic Technologist.

What orthopedic technologists do

Orthopedic technologists and technicians have specialized training in the medical field of orthopedics, which focuses on the correction of skeletal and related disorders. According to the National Association of Orthopaedic Technologists (NAOT), these technicians provide support for orthopedic surgeons in the medical environment, assisting in the care of sick and disabled persons. Orthopedic technologists (OTs) have a wide range of potential responsibilities, for example:

  • Perform routine office and departmental procedures and certain basic nursing functions
  • Apply and remove casts
  • Help in preparing and adjusting setup for traction
  • Prep for surgical procedures and assist surgeons in the operating room
  • Fit and adjust walking aids such as canes, crutches and walkers
  • Apply simple braces and perform basic repairs on this type of medical equipment
  • Advise patients on the care of casts and other devices

The duties of OTs overlap with those of surgical technologists and assistants, orthopedic physician's assistants and nurses, athletic trainers, occupational and physical therapists, medical assistants, and certain other health care professionals, according to the Virginia Department of Health Professions. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS.gov, 2012) classifies orthopedic technicians in the general category of health technologists and technicians who share the basic role of performing technological functions in medicine and related fields.

How to become an orthopedic technologist

Aspiring health care professionals need interpersonal skills and the ability to communicate with patients who may be in pain or under stress.

NAOT Recognized Schools and Programs have requirements for associate degrees or certificates in orthopedic technology: at least 450 hours of instruction, including classroom lectures and practical laboratory instruction, plus at least 200 hours of field experience through a clinical rotation or externship. Graduates of NAOT recognized programs can take the certification examination of the National Board for Certification of Orthopaedic Technologists, and they may be excused from the qualifying requirement of two years of full time on-the-job training. Certification is also available from organizations such as The American Society of Orthopedic Professionals, which offers an online exam for Registered Orthopedic Technologists; certification also requires specified work experience or training.

While the process may vary, the path to becoming an orthopedic technologist may include some or all of these steps that are typical for would-be surgical technologists (BLS):

  • Earn a high school diploma or GED
  • Attend and successfully complete a post-secondary training program
  • Consider examinations for professional certification (requirements vary according to state and local requirements)
  • Apply for employment

Orthopedic technologists' duties may overlap to some extent with those of surgical technologists, and the BLS notes that surgical technologists need to be detail oriented, manually dexterous, able to stand for long periods of time and capable of managing stress (BLS). Surgical technologists generally require a postsecondary certificate or an associate degree, and certain states have regulations for this occupation, the BLS notes. Training programs offer courses like anatomy, biology and medical terminology as well as specific surgical and medical techniques (BLS).

Additional certification, training, education and professional experience may be required for employment.

Career outlook for orthopedic technologists

The BLS doesn't provide a career outlook for orthopedic technologists but does have data for surgical technologists. Employment of surgical technologists in the U.S. is expected to increase by up to 19 percent from 2010 to 2020, about as fast as the average for all occupations in the U.S. (BLS). Employment opportunities should be strongest for candidates with training from an accredited education program and professional certification (BLS).

According to the Occupational Information Network (O*NET OnLine), general health technologists and technicians should see faster than average job growth nationally between 2010 and 2010, with an increase of up to 20 to 28 percent.

As of May 2011, health technologists and technicians earned an annual median wage of $38,080 nationally, with the lowest 10 percent earning $25,540 nationally and the highest-paid 10 percent earning up to $62,530 nationally (BLS). The highest levels of employment for this occupation were seen in settings such as general medical and surgical hospitals, outpatient care centers, offices of physicians, and offices of other health practitioners. In 2011, the states with the highest employment levels of health technologists and technicians included California, Texas, Ohio, Illinois and New York (BLS).

Quick Facts: Health Technologists and Technicians
*All Facts from BLS.gov*

2011 National Median Pay

$38,080 per year; $18.31 per hour

Number of Jobs, 2011

103,120

Job Outlook, 2010-2020

20% to 28% nationally (Faster than avg national growth)

Employment Change, 2010-2020

40,400

Quick Facts: Surgical Technologists
*All facts from BLS.gov*

2011 National Median Pay

$40,950 per year; $19.69 per hour

Entry Level Education

Postsecondary non-degree award

Work Experience in a Related Occupation

None

On-the-job Training

None

Number of Jobs, 2011

94,490

Job Outlook, 2010-2020

19% (Average job growth)

Employment Change, 2010-2020

17,700

Sources

The American Board for Certification in Orthotics, Prosthetics & Pedorthics, "Certified O and P Technician," 2012, http://www.abcop.org/certification/OrthotistsProsthetists/Pages/Default.aspx

The American Society of Orthopedic Professionals, Registered Orthopedic Technologist ("ROT") Certification, 2010, www.asop.org/rot-here/

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition, Surgical Technologists, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/surgical-technologists.htm

Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2011: 29-2799 Health Technologists and Technicians, All Other*, updated 2012, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes292799.htm

Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2011: 29-2055 Surgical Technologists, 2012, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes292055.htm

Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Classification System Manual, A208 Health Technologists and Technicians, October 2001, http://www.bls.gov/ncs/ocs/ocsm/comA208.htm

Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Classification System Manual (Orthopedic technician), October 2001, http://www.bls.gov/ncs/ocs/ocsm/como.htm

National Association of Orthopaedic Technologists, "What is an Orthopaedic Technologist?", 2010, http://www.naot.org/sections/about.orthotics.php

National Board for Certification of Orthopaedic Technologists, http://www.nbcot.net/, 2010

Occupational Information Network (O*NET OnLine), Summary Report for: 29-2099.00 - Health Technologists and Technicians, All Other, 2011, http://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/29-2099.00

Virginia Department of Health Professions, "Study into the Need to Regulate Orthopedic Technologists and Orthopedic Physician's Assistants," 2008, http://www.dhp.virginia.gov/ (downloadable file)

Featured Schools

Refine School Matches
Hide filters
  • SUBJECT Clear All

    See More

  • DEGREE

    See More

  • PROGRAM TYPE

  • START TIME

    LOCATION
    Please enter valid US or Canada Zip.
            Results open in new window

            Searching Searching ...

            Matching School Ads
            Associate of Occupational Science in Surgical Technology
            • At American Career College, we provide hands-on training for students who are ready for change.
            • The diploma and associate programs offered at ACC can change the direction of your healthcare career.
            • 5 campus locations in Southern California and 13 programs in healthcare fields.
            • Accredited
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid
            • Transferable Credits
            B/S Health Information Management
            • Health Care degrees include BA in Health Care Administration, BS in Health Information Management, BS in Nursing (RN to BSN), and more.
            • Coursework focuses on relevant topics in the health care field, such as administration, planning, and policy.
            • Students can specialize in areas like Human Resource Management, Health Care Informatics Systems, and Long-Term Care Management.
            • Online degree programs that can help students pursue a degree on their own schedule.
            • Online Courses
            • Financial Aid
            • Transferable Credits
            A.S. - Healthcare Technology and Systems
            • Offers special tuition pricing for Veterans, Active Duty Military and spouses/qualifying dependents of all Active Duty, National Guard and Reserves.
            • Works closely with an advisory board from the medical community to ensure that their curriculum, equipment and instruction are current.
            • Allows students to complete assignments on the go with its Blackboard Learn mobile app.
            • Gives online students live student support for technical or course questions.
            • Has campus locations in Florida as well as online learning programs.
            Show more [+]
            • Online Courses
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid
            • Transferable Credits
            Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Management - Health Informatics
            • Its Fast Track program enables qualified students to save up to 30% on tuition and graduate up to 30% faster.
            • Its online MBA program was named by the International Graduate Forum as a top 10 Online MBA Program in 2012.
            • Listed as a military friendly school by G.I. Jobs magazine in 2014.
            • Lets students watch, view, read, or hear content through its program, My Unique Student Experience (M.U.S.E.).
            • Has additional campus locations near military bases in Colorado Springs and Denver.
            Show more [+]
            • Online Courses
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Accelerated Programs
            • Financial Aid
            • Transferable Credits
            X-Ray Technician/Back Office Medical Assistant

            About Brightwood College

            Brightwood College offers accelerated programs that combine flexible schedules and professional instruction to create a rewarding learning experience for individuals focused on gaining the skills for specific careers. Brightwood College is owned and operated by Education Corporation of America.

            About Education Corporation of America

            Education Corporation of America's institutions broaden access to postsecondary educational opportunities.

            Pharmacy Technician
            • Offers programs in nursing, medical assisting, pharmacy technology, dental assisting, and more.
            • Six Campuses across Northern CA: Fremont, San Jose, Sacramento, S. San Francisco, Hayward, and Concord.
            • Accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges, with programmatic approvals from the California Board of Vocational Nursing and Psychiatric Technicians and the Board of Registered Nursing.
            • Approved by the Better Business Bureau (BBB) with an A+ rating since 2010.
            Show more [+]
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid
            • Transferable Credits
            Diagnostic Medical Sonography
            Platt College , Anaheim
            • A Los Angeles-based private college offering programs in medical sciences, legal studies, and graphic design since 1985.
            • Has weekend programs, including certified  veterinary technology, nurse assistant, and hemodialysis technician.
            • Showcases visual communication students’ artwork and design through campus magazine.
            • 3 campuses in Southern California.
            • Accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC).
            Show more [+]
            • Accredited
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Accelerated Programs
            • Financial Aid
            • Transferable Credits