Schools for Aspiring Orthopedic Cast Technicians
Orthopedic cast technicians assist orthopedic surgeons in many aspects of their work, including brace, splint and cast fitting. Those seeking to enter this field could benefit from choosing a certificate or associate degree program that's approved by the National Association of Orthopaedic Technologists (NAOT).
How to Select an Orthopedic Cast Technician School
There are only seven NAOT-approved orthopedic technology programs in the U.S., so prospective students must weigh the benefits of choosing one of these programs against the costs of possibly having to relocate to attend one. Graduating from an NAOT-approved program qualifies students to sit for the National Board for Certification of Orthopaedic Technologists (NBCOT) exam. Conversely, students who choose a certificate or associate's degree program that's not approved by NAOT must complete two years of work experience after graduation before becoming eligible for the exam. Certification as an orthopedic technologist is not mandatory for aspiring orthopedic cast technicians, but it's often preferred by employers because it demonstrates the satisfaction of a national standard.
Certificate programs in orthopedic technology, which can often be completed in one year, offer students the quickest option for entering the work force. Students interested in furthering their education in the future are encouraged to enroll in an associate's degree program, which commonly includes general education requirements, as well as orthopedic courses.
Aspiring orthopedic cast technicians also might choose to pursue a bachelor's degree in athletic training, which would qualify them to go on to graduate work or medical school. Those who complete these undergraduate programs also could become eligible for NBCOT certification by earning certification through an organization such as the National Athletic Trainers' Association and gaining six months of relevant work experience.
Programs specifically in orthopedic technology offer differing opportunities, such as courses in radiology and surgical techniques or more extensive clinical experiences. Students are encouraged to evaluate the course offerings of prospective programs in order to choose one that fits their goals. Aspiring orthopedic cast technicians who are unable to enroll in an NAOT-approved program might choose training options that include externship and job-placement opportunities in order to gain the work experience required for NBCOT certification.
Orthopedic Cast Technician Program Overviews
Certificate for Orthopedic Cast Technicians
A certificate in orthopedic technology is typically designed to be completed in one year. Coursework might include cast fitting, traction configuration, anatomy, histology and minor surgical procedures. Clinical experiences, supervised by a faculty member or orthopedic surgeon, are typically required.
Associate Degree for Orthopedic Cast Technicians
Associate degree programs in orthopedic technology differ from certificate programs in that they typically require the completion of general education requirements, though the number of requirements differs by school. Orthopedic coursework might include anatomy and physiology, medical terminology and study of medical instruments needed to apply, fit and maintain braces, splints and casts. Clinical practicums are typically required.
Bachelor's Degree in Athletic Training
A bachelor's degree in athletic training can be completed in four years. Coursework relevant to orthopedic technology might include injury prevention, anatomy and physiology, orthopedic diagnosis and orthopedic treatment.
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