Breaking Into Orthopedic Work by Way of Orthopedic Technician Schools

Orthopedics need help with their patients. Orthopedic technicians, or orthopedic assistants or orthotechs, are trained to help fit casts on broken arms or to apply traction splints to broken joints. A great way to get a head start is through orthopedic technician schools.

To start as an orthotech, you typically only need a high school diploma. To advance to a level II, you would go through extra training and certifications, including coursework approved by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy. This also promotes you from orthopedic technician to orthopedic technologist.

Although on-the-job training counts, orthopedic technician schools offer a faster way to certification than the required two years for a Level II technician.

Orthopedic Technicians Work Directly with Patients

As an orthopedic technician, you would have the gentle task of making casts for broken arms and legs, either plaster or synthetic casts, and carefully placing them on the injury. This requires knowledge of how to carefully handle a broken limb, use traction techniques, prepare patients according to the doctor's specifications, and remove the cast. More experienced orthotechs could also work in surgery as an assistant to the surgeon.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that orthopedic technicians should experience 34 percent growth between 2008 and 2018, significantly faster than average. A large part of this growth should come from the growing demand of medical care by an aging Baby Boomer generation, as well as replacing workers that advance to other medical professions. In May 2009, orthopedic technicians earned an annual median salary of $28,650.