Orthotist and Prosthetist Assistant Studies
Within the Department of Human Movement Science, the Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science offers an Orthotist and Prosthetist Assistant Studies (OPA) specialization. In the bachelor’s degree specialization, you will develop the skills needed for face-to-face patient care under the direction of a certified orthotist or prosthetist. Clinically, the OPA is a professionally accredited profession requiring successful post-graduate completion of both a clinical residency and a professional licensing exam to enter practice.
The foci of this challenging field includes providing multiple levels of patient care, through appropriate orthotic/orthosis (bracing) and prosthetic (partial limb replacement) interventions, based upon the knowledge of pathologies and injuries, the physical assessment of impacts and compensations on gait and functional movement, and the selection/refinement of patient solutions.
Oakland University’s bachelor of science in exercise science with an orthotist and prosthetist assistant studies specialization has earned initial accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) in conjunction with the National Commission on Orthotic Prosthetic Education (NCOPE). Now enrolling students, OU is the first program in the nation that has earned this recognition/status from the governing boards based on the 2019 CAAHEP Orthotist and Prosthetist Assistant Standards.
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In this program, you will complete the core Exercise Science courses as well as specific courses related to orthotics and prosthetics. Detailed information can be found in the Undergraduate Catalog (see Curricular Requirements).
For information regarding specific course requirements, please contact Tamara Treanore, Director and Instructor of Orthotist and Prosthetist Assistant Studies, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
An 18-credit minor in Orthotist and Prosthetist Assistant Studies is available to students in any major. The purpose of this minor is to gain first-hand knowledge and experience of this meaningful field of practice through coursework, as a means of supplementing the student’s home major field (such as health science, engineering, biology, social work). Students in the minor take courses from the Orthotist and Prosthetist Assistant Studies (OPA) specialization, which is part of the Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science degree program. For specific course requirements, visit the Undergraduate Catalog minor page.
Students who are taking the minor will not be eligible for the orthotics and prosthetics certification exam or patient contact.
An Orthotic and/or Prosthetic Assistant performs patient management tasks under the supervision of a certified practitioner as well as fabricating, repairing and maintaining devices. Assistants play an important role on the healthcare team. They often work in patient care facilities, such as hospitals, physical therapy clinics or privately-owned orthotics and prosthetics offices, where they fit, customize and modify orthotic and prosthetic devices to make sure they fit the patients' unique needs.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there is above-average job growth expected for Orthotist and/or Prosthetist Assistants (and all medical appliance technician jobs) over the next decade. Increased limb loss caused by cardiovascular disease and diabetes, as well as technological advancements leading to the updates of existing orthotic and prosthetic devices are expected to create job growth in the field.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that the median annual wage for medical appliance technicians, such as orthotist and prosthetist technicians who have received an Associate's degree or certificate, was $46,320 in 2021. Meanwhile, according to the BLS, the median annual wage for orthotists and prosthetists who have received a Master's degree was $75,440 in 2021. The salary for an orthotist and prosthetist assistant with a Bachelor's degree has not been defined yet by the BLS but is expected to be somewhere in that range.
O+P cost of tuition
Oakland University tuition rates
American Board for Certification in Orthotics, Prosthetics and Pedorthics
National Commission on Orthotic and Prosthetic Education
American Orthotic and Prosthetic Association
American Academy of Orthotists and Prosthetists
Michigan Orthotic and Prosthetic Association
Ohio Chapter of the American Academy of Orthotists, Prosthetists & Pedorthists
The O and P Edge
Lower Extremity Review
O and P News