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Study Prosthetics & Orthotics, why & how to study

Prosthetists and orthotists use the latest technology to transform the lives of patients who need an artificial limb or device. See what it’s like to study the area, and if this career is for you.

Technological Prosthetic Robot Arm is Tested by Two Professional Development Engineers

CONTENTS

  1. What’s Prosthetics & Orthotics?

  2. What Prosthetics & Orthotics degrees can you study?

  3. What do you need to get onto a Prosthetics & Orthotics degree?

  4. What topics does a Prosthetics & Orthotics degree cover?

  5. How will you be assessed?

  6. Why study Prosthetics & Orthotics?

  7. What do Prosthetics & Orthotics graduates earn?

  8. What jobs can you get as a Prosthetics & Orthotics graduate?

  9. What are the postgraduate opportunities?

  10. Similar subjects to Prosthetics & Orthotics

  11. Have any questions?

What’s Prosthetics & Orthotics?

Prosthetics & Orthotics help people with their ability to move their bodies freely using technology.

Prosthetists both design and fit artificial limbs for patients who've lost them through amputation or were missing them at birth. Only prosthetists are qualified to fit limbs to patients.

Orthotists create and fit surgical devices like splints and braces to existing body parts. This helps correct issues or deformities in bones, muscles or nerves.

Solutions can be temporary or permanent and help relieve pain, improve movement, or prevent physical issues from worsening.

What Prosthetics & Orthotics degrees can you study?

The Prosthetics and Orthotics BSc course is currently only available at:

  • University of Salford (three years)
  • University of Strathclyde (four years)

A foundation year is available. A degree apprenticeship may also be available.

What do you need to get onto a Prosthetics & Orthotics degree?

Entry requirements for a Prosthetics & Orthotics degree are 120–147 UCAS points across the range of qualifications below:

  • A Levels: ABB–BBB
  • BTECs: DDM
  • Scottish Highers: AABBB– BBBBB (Advanced Highers: BBB)
  • International Baccalaureate: 34–32
  • Universities will usually ask that you have studied: at least one A Level or Higher science subject, usually maths or physics

Other good subjects to have studied include:

  • Biology, human biology or engineering
  • General studies may be acceptable as a fourth A Level

Experience that would look good on your application:

  • A day shadowing or talking to a prosthetist or orthotist about their work
  • Experiences that develop your interpersonal skills with diverse people, like volunteering at a respite centre, work in healthcare or helping at a soup kitchen
  • Knowledge of what the job of a prosthetist or orthotist really entails – check out the website of the British Association of Prosthetists and Orthotists (BAPO)
  • This subject area requires good practical skills, so a hobby that develops your manual dexterity could be helpful

Other requirements for this subject include:

  • Attend an interview
  • Pass in the practical element of science at A Level
  • Because you may be working with vulnerable people or children, you’ll need to complete Disclosure and Barring Services (DBS) checks (PVG scheme in Scotland)

What topics does a Prosthetics & Orthotics degree cover?

Typical modules for courses in this subject include:

  • Anatomy and physiology
  • Biomechanics
  • Clinical governance
  • Human biological science
  • Materials, manufacturing and design
  • Motion analysis and research methods
  • Principles of prosthetic and orthotic design
  • Prosthetic and orthotic science
  • Prosthetics and orthotics professional and technical skills

How will you be assessed?

Assessments include exams and coursework, and your performance throughout the year in seminars and tutorials is often observed. Methods may include:

  • Clinical assessments and portfolio
  • Dissections are sometimes assessed
  • Essays
  • Poster and oral presentations
  • Written and spot-test exams
  • A final-year dissertation project may be required

Why study Prosthetics & Orthotics?

During a Prosthetics & Orthotics course, you’ll learn how to assess and treat patients effectively. This area of healthcare can drastically improve people's quality of life. You could help someone stand, walk or even run again. You might even prevent patients from having their limbs amputated.

Career-specific skills:

  • Experience and interpersonal skills from fitting limbs or devices for patients
  • Each scenario is unique, so you’ll be using creativity and technical expertise to assess and address patient needs, and to design, make and fit the required device
  • Awareness of the latest developments in clinical practice

Transferable skills:

  • Communication
  • Attention to detail
  • Manual dexterity
  • Leadership
  • Problem solving

Professional accreditation: 

  • Degrees must be approved by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC)
  • Accreditation may also be awarded by the International Society for Prosthetics and Orthotics

What do Prosthetics & Orthotics graduates earn?

Prosthetics & Orthotics graduates have a starting salary of around £25,500. Mid-career, a prosthetist or orthotist could have an income of up to £45,839 for specialists or senior practitioners at Band 7.

What jobs can you get as a Prosthetics & Orthotics graduate?

A degree in Prosthetics & Orthotics is highly specialised. You could become a prosthetist or orthotist in a hospital or clinical environment. This could be with the NHS, privately or commercially. With experience, you can become more senior, manage teams or specialise in a specific area. Students often go into research and teaching.

Specialisms include:

  • Diabetes
  • Forensic podiatry
  • Arthritis
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Children
  • Sports injury
  • Dental

What are the postgraduate opportunities?

Some graduates of Prosthetics & Orthotics continue their studies and become specialists in certain areas.

  • Prosthetics and Orthotics MSc
  • Prosthetics & Orthotics Rehabilitation Studies PgCert/PgDip/MSc

Similar subjects to Prosthetics & Orthotics

Other subject areas that might appeal to you include:

Have any questions?

Get in touch with our experts by emailing ask@thecompleteuniversityguide.co.uk with your question about studying Prosthetics & Orthotics. We’ll be happy to hear from you!

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