Designing prosthetic devices for the human body involves taking measurements of the person to receive the prosthetic, and then building the prosthetic itself. This is no simple process and prosthetists are, in general, highly skilled craftsmen that also have a broad knowledge of engineering principles, material science and biomechanics.
The number of people currently employed in the field is relatively small. As of 2008, there were about 5,500 people working as prosthetists nationwide. Most prosthetists need to be able to work and be able to machine a wide array of different parts, ranging from thermoplastics and acrylic resin to aluminum.
Career Opportunities and Job Outlook-Unknown:
The exact rate of growth for the field is unknown. However, there is every reason to believe that more prosthetists will be needed in the future. The reason for this assessment is two fold, war injuries and the general aging of the American population. These two factors make it likely that this is a growth field.
A Day in The Life:
Most days will begin either measuring a new client for a prosthetic device or building an existing order. Building a quality prosthetic is a time consuming process that often requires working at length with the wearer to get a proper fit.
The average prosthetist earns about $50,000, but many people working in this career can earn much more.
Career Training and Qualifications:
A four-year college degree in prosthetics is usually required for this job. Also certification by the American Board for Certification in Orthotics, Prosthetics and Pedorthics is essential. This course work largely centers on science and engineering.