Orthopedic Cast Technician Certification and Degree Program Info
Orthopedic cast technicians assist licensed physicians and orthopedic specialists by applying and removing casts and splints on patients. Individuals interested in the position can enroll in an Associate of Science in Orthopedic Technology program.
Associate of Science in Orthopedic Technology
The primary goals of an associate's degree program in orthopedic technology are to provide students with the requisite skills and training needed in the field and to prepare them to gain certification as orthopedic technicians. Students enrolled in these programs first gain a background in human anatomy and physiology, biology, basic healthcare, and medical terminology. They then learn about advanced orthopedic techniques, orthopedic technology, and orthopedic surgery procedures.
Most associate's degree programs in orthopedic technology also contain a clinical practicum that requires students to gain hands-on training in a hospital or physician's office. Students learn practical aspects of the position, including how to apply and remove casts, adjust casts, set up traction configurations, assist with patient care and transportation, and perform routine administrative tasks.
Students with a high school diploma and grade point average of at least 3.0 are the most likely to gain acceptance to an associate's degree program in orthopedic technology. Some schools also require students to achieve a minimum score of 220 on the Psychological Services Bureau Allied Health Occupations Aptitude Examination.
Associate's degree programs in orthopedic technology include both general and core occupational courses, in addition to a clinical practicum. Specific examples of courses include:
- Medical terminology
- Anatomy and physiology
- Introduction to healthcare
- Mathematical modeling
- Orthopedic techniques
- Orthopedic technology
- Advanced orthopedic anatomy
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
While the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not offer specific data in regards to orthopedic cast technicians, it did report that medical appliance technicians in general held about 14,200 jobs in the United States in 2010 (www.bls.gov). The employment of all medical appliance technicians, including orthopedic cast technicians was projected to grow by as little as 4% during the 2010-2020 decade, according to the BLS.
According to PayScale.com, orthopedic cast technicians earned between $25,226 and $51,470 in November 2013, with a median annual salary of $36,401. The BLS reported that the median annual salary earned by all medical appliance techs was approximately $36,100 in May 2012.
Graduates of associate's degree programs in orthopedic technology are eligible to sit for a certifying examination given by the National Board for Certification of Orthopaedic Technologists. Certification as an Orthopaedic Technologist Certified (OTC) is not required, but it might help orthopedic technicians secure employment with some healthcare facilities.
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