Medical Appliance Technicians
Construct, maintain, or repair medical supportive devices such as braces, orthotics and prosthetic devices, joints, arch supports, and other surgical and medical appliances.
Sample of reported job titles: Certified Pedorthotist, Hearing Aid Repair Technician, Lab Technician, Orthopedic Technician, Orthotic and Prosthetic Technician (O and P Technician), Orthotic Technician, Prosthetic Technician, Prosthetics Technician, Registered Prosthetic Orthotic Technician
Tasks | Technology Skills | Tools Used | Knowledge | Skills | Abilities | Work Activities | Detailed Work Activities | Work Context | Job Zone | Education | Credentials | Interests | Work Styles | Work Values | Related Occupations | Wages & Employment | Job Openings | Additional Information
- Drill and tap holes for rivets, and glue, weld, bolt, or rivet parts together to form prosthetic or orthotic devices.
- Read prescriptions or specifications to determine the type of product or device to be fabricated and the materials and tools required.
- Make orthotic or prosthetic devices, using materials such as thermoplastic and thermosetting materials, metal alloys and leather, and hand or power tools.
- Bend, form, and shape fabric or material to conform to prescribed contours of structural components.
- Construct or receive casts or impressions of patients’ torsos or limbs for use as cutting and fabrication patterns.
- Repair, modify, or maintain medical supportive devices, such as artificial limbs, braces, or surgical supports, according to specifications.
- Cover or pad metal or plastic structures or devices, using coverings such as rubber, leather, felt, plastic, or fiberglass.
- Test medical supportive devices for proper alignment, movement, or biomechanical stability, using meters and alignment fixtures.
- Lay out and mark dimensions of parts, using templates and precision measuring instruments.
- Fit appliances onto patients, and make any necessary adjustments.
- Polish artificial limbs, braces, or supports, using grinding and buffing wheels.
- Take patients’ body or limb measurements for use in device construction.
- Instruct patients in use of prosthetic or orthotic devices.
- Service or repair machinery used in the fabrication of appliances.
- Mix pigments to match patients’ skin coloring, according to formulas, and apply mixtures to orthotic or prosthetic devices.
Find occupations related to multiple tasks
back to top
- Computer aided design CAD software — Autodesk AutoCAD ; Ohio Willow Wood OMEGA Tracer System; Seattle Systems Shapemaker; SoftSource CADview (see all 5 examples)
- Computer aided manufacturing CAM software — Orthotic fabrication software
- Medical software — Footmaxx Metascan software; Gait analysis software
- Spreadsheet software — Microsoft Excel
Hot Technology — a technology requirement frequently included in employer job postings.
back to top
- Production and Processing — Knowledge of raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and other techniques for maximizing the effective manufacture and distribution of goods.
- Customer and Personal Service — Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
- English Language — Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
- Mechanical — Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
- Design — Knowledge of design techniques, tools, and principles involved in production of precision technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.
- Education and Training — Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
- Mathematics — Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
back to top
- Active Listening — Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
- Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.
- Quality Control Analysis — Conducting tests and inspections of products, services, or processes to evaluate quality or performance.
- Reading Comprehension — Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work-related documents.
- Speaking — Talking to others to convey information effectively.
- Troubleshooting — Determining causes of operating errors and deciding what to do about it.
- Operations Monitoring — Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
- Social Perceptiveness — Being aware of others’ reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
- Complex Problem Solving — Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
- Judgment and Decision Making — Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
- Monitoring — Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
- Service Orientation — Actively looking for ways to help people.
- Active Learning — Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
- Coordination — Adjusting actions in relation to others’ actions.
- Equipment Maintenance — Performing routine maintenance on equipment and determining when and what kind of maintenance is needed.
- Instructing — Teaching others how to do something.
- Repairing — Repairing machines or systems using the needed tools.
- Time Management — Managing one’s own time and the time of others.
- Writing — Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
back to top
- Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
- Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
- Problem Sensitivity — The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing that there is a problem.
- Arm-Hand Steadiness — The ability to keep your hand and arm steady while moving your arm or while holding your arm and hand in one position.
- Deductive Reasoning — The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
- Oral Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
- Visualization — The ability to imagine how something will look after it is moved around or when its parts are moved or rearranged.
- Finger Dexterity — The ability to make precisely coordinated movements of the fingers of one or both hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble very small objects.
- Information Ordering — The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
- Inductive Reasoning — The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
- Manual Dexterity — The ability to quickly move your hand, your hand together with your arm, or your two hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble objects.
- Speech Clarity — The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
- Speech Recognition — The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
- Control Precision — The ability to quickly and repeatedly adjust the controls of a machine or a vehicle to exact positions.
- Multilimb Coordination — The ability to coordinate two or more limbs (for example, two arms, two legs, or one leg and one arm) while sitting, standing, or lying down. It does not involve performing the activities while the whole body is in motion.
- Written Comprehension — The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
- Category Flexibility — The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
- Depth Perception — The ability to judge which of several objects is closer or farther away from you, or to judge the distance between you and an object.
- Hearing Sensitivity — The ability to detect or tell the differences between sounds that vary in pitch and loudness.
- Originality — The ability to come up with unusual or clever ideas about a given topic or situation, or to develop creative ways to solve a problem.
- Selective Attention — The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.
- Trunk Strength — The ability to use your abdominal and lower back muscles to support part of the body repeatedly or continuously over time without “giving out” or fatiguing.
- Visual Color Discrimination — The ability to match or detect differences between colors, including shades of color and brightness.
- Written Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
back to top
- Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
- Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Materials — Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
- Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
- Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
- Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work — Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
- Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
- Estimating the Quantifiable Characteristics of Products, Events, or Information — Estimating sizes, distances, and quantities; or determining time, costs, resources, or materials needed to perform a work activity.
- Monitoring Processes, Materials, or Surroundings — Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
- Thinking Creatively — Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
- Controlling Machines and Processes — Using either control mechanisms or direct physical activity to operate machines or processes (not including computers or vehicles).
- Processing Information — Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
- Assisting and Caring for Others — Providing personal assistance, medical attention, emotional support, or other personal care to others such as coworkers, customers, or patients.
- Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards — Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
- Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
- Handling and Moving Objects — Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.
- Judging the Qualities of Objects, Services, or People — Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.
- Documenting/Recording Information — Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
- Performing General Physical Activities — Performing physical activities that require considerable use of your arms and legs and moving your whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling materials.
- Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others — Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.
- Coordinating the Work and Activities of Others — Getting members of a group to work together to accomplish tasks.
- Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships — Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
- Performing for or Working Directly with the Public — Performing for people or dealing directly with the public. This includes serving customers in restaurants and stores, and receiving clients or guests.
- Training and Teaching Others — Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.
- Analyzing Data or Information — Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
- Scheduling Work and Activities — Scheduling events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.
back to top
Detailed Work Activities
- Drill holes in parts, equipment, or materials.
- Operate welding equipment.
- Read work orders or other instructions to determine product specifications or materials requirements.
- Construct customized assistive medical or dental devices.
- Adjust fabrics or other materials during garment production.
- Cast molds of patient anatomies to create medical or dental devices.
- Repair medical or dental assistive devices.
- Draw guide lines or markings on materials or workpieces using patterns or other references.
- Inspect medical or dental assistive devices.
- Measure clients to ensure proper product fit.
- Operate grinding equipment.
- Polish materials, workpieces, or finished products.
- Apply protective or decorative finishes to workpieces or products.
- Mix ingredients to create specific finishes.
- Instruct patients in the use of assistive equipment.
- Repair production equipment or tools.
Find occupations related to multiple detailed work activities
back to top
- Indoors, Environmentally Controlled — 90% responded “Every day.”
- Exposed to Contaminants — 80% responded “Every day.”
- Wear Common Protective or Safety Equipment such as Safety Shoes, Glasses, Gloves, Hearing Protection, Hard Hats, or Life Jackets — 62% responded “Every day.”
- Spend Time Using Your Hands to Handle, Control, or Feel Objects, Tools, or Controls — 65% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
- Face-to-Face Discussions — 63% responded “Every day.”
- Frequency of Decision Making — 75% responded “Every day.”
- Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — 52% responded “Extremely important.”
- Time Pressure — 57% responded “Every day.”
- Spend Time Standing — 51% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
- Exposed to Hazardous Equipment — 65% responded “Every day.”
- Contact With Others — 58% responded “Contact with others most of the time.”
- Structured versus Unstructured Work — 48% responded “A lot of freedom.”
- Sounds, Noise Levels Are Distracting or Uncomfortable — 69% responded “Every day.”
- Telephone — 45% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Work With Work Group or Team — 47% responded “Extremely important.”
- Freedom to Make Decisions — 42% responded “Some freedom.”
- Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results — 39% responded “Important results.”
- Physical Proximity — 35% responded “Moderately close (at arm’s length).”
- Responsibility for Outcomes and Results — 40% responded “Very high responsibility.”
- Coordinate or Lead Others — 39% responded “Extremely important.”
- Electronic Mail — 37% responded “Every day.”
- Deal With External Customers — 42% responded “Very important.”
- Responsible for Others’ Health and Safety — 36% responded “High responsibility.”
- Spend Time Making Repetitive Motions — 29% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
- Exposed to Hazardous Conditions — 33% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Level of Competition — 37% responded “Highly competitive.”
- Exposed to Minor Burns, Cuts, Bites, or Stings — 35% responded “Every day.”
- Importance of Repeating Same Tasks — 31% responded “Important.”
- Consequence of Error — 28% responded “Serious.”
back to top
|Title||Job Zone Three: Medium Preparation Needed|
|Education||Most occupations in this zone require training in vocational schools, related on-the-job experience, or an associate’s degree.|
|Related Experience||Previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is required for these occupations. For example, an electrician must have completed three or four years of apprenticeship or several years of vocational training, and often must have passed a licensing exam, in order to perform the job.|
|Job Training||Employees in these occupations usually need one or two years of training involving both on-the-job experience and informal training with experienced workers. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with these occupations.|
|Job Zone Examples||These occupations usually involve using communication and organizational skills to coordinate, supervise, manage, or train others to accomplish goals. Examples include hydroelectric production managers, travel guides, electricians, agricultural technicians, barbers, court reporters, and medical assistants.|
|SVP Range||(6.0 to < 7.0)|
back to top
Percentage of Respondents
|Education Level Required|
|21||High school diploma or equivalent
back to top
back to top
Interest code: RIS Want to discover your interests? Take the O*NET Interest Profiler at My Next Move.
- Realistic — Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.
- Investigative — Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.
- Social — Social occupations frequently involve working with, communicating with, and teaching people. These occupations often involve helping or providing service to others.
back to top
- Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
- Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
- Concern for Others — Job requires being sensitive to others’ needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
- Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
- Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical.
- Innovation — Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.
- Analytical Thinking — Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
- Achievement/Effort — Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
- Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
- Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
- Self-Control — Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
- Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
- Independence — Job requires developing one’s own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
- Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high-stress situations.
- Leadership — Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
- Social Orientation — Job requires preferring to work with others rather than alone, and being personally connected with others on the job.
back to top
- Relationships — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment. Corresponding needs are Co-workers, Moral Values and Social Service.
- Support — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees. Corresponding needs are Company Policies, Supervision: Human Relations and Supervision: Technical.
- Working Conditions — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions. Corresponding needs are Activity, Compensation, Independence, Security, Variety and Working Conditions.
back to top
back to top
Wages & Employment Trends
|Median wages (2020)||$20.07 hourly, $41,750 annual|
|Employment (2020)||14,600 employees|
|Projected growth (2020-2030)||Faster than average (10% to 15%)|
|Projected job openings (2020-2030)||2,200|
|Top industries (2020)||
Health Care and Social Assistance
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2020 wage data and 2020-2030 employment projections . “Projected growth” represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2020-2030). “Projected job openings” represent openings due to growth and replacement.
back to top
Job Openings on the Web
back to top
Sources of Additional Information
Disclaimer: Sources are listed to provide additional information on related jobs, specialties, and/or industries. Links to non-DOL Internet sites are provided for your convenience and do not constitute an endorsement.
- American Academy of Orthotists and Prosthetists
- American Board for Certification in Orthotics, Prosthetics and Pedorthics
- National Association of Dental Laboratories
- National Board for Certification in Dental Laboratory Technology
- National Commission on Orthotic and Prosthetic Education
- Occupational Outlook Handbook: Dental and ophthalmic laboratory technicians and medical appliance technicians
back to top
This page includes information from O*NET OnLine by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration (USDOL/ETA). Used under the CC BY 4.0 license. O*NET® is a trademark of USDOL/ETA.