Employment of orthotists and prosthetists is projected to grow 23 percent from 2014 to 2024, much faster than the average for all occupations. However, because it is a small occupation, the fast growth will result in only about 1,900 new jobs over the 10-year period.
The large aging baby-boom population will create a need for orthotists and prosthetists, because both diabetes and cardiovascular disease, which are two leading causes of limb loss, are more common among older people. In addition, older people will continue to need other devices designed and fitted by orthotists and prosthetists, such as braces and orthopedic footwear.
Advances in technology are allowing more people to survive traumatic events. Patients with traumatic injuries, such as some veterans, will continue to need orthotists and prosthetists to create devices that allow the patients to regain or improve mobility and functionality.
Moreover, the number of individuals who have access to health insurance is expected to continue to increase because of federal health insurance reform. Patients who were previously uninsured or found treatment to be cost prohibitive may opt for new or replacement devices, such as braces or artificial limbs.
Job prospects should be best for orthotists and prosthetists with professional certification. Although it is not required in all states, certification shows a specific level of educational knowledge and training that employers may prefer.
Orthotists and Prosthetists
Percent change in employment, projected 2014-24
Orthotists and prosthetists
Health technologists and technicians
Total, all occupations
Note: All Occupations includes all occupations in the U.S. Economy. Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections program