There are no postsecondary education requirements for becoming a medical appliance technician. Many technicians learn through on-the-job training.
Most medical appliance technicians learn their duties through on-the-job training. Experienced technicians teach new employees how to create and repair orthotic and prosthetic devices or equipment. The amount of training varies. For example, a new technician may be trained for a year or more before independently creating an orthotic or prosthetic device.
There are no postsecondary education requirements for becoming a medical laboratory technician. Most technicians have at least a high school diploma. Some community colleges and technical or vocational schools have formal education programs, but such programs are not common.
High school students interested becoming a technician should take courses in mathematics, science, metal and wood shop, and computers.
Analytical skills. Because medical appliance technicians must construct medical appliances with accuracy and precision, they need to have an in-depth knowledge of how different tools and materials work.
Interpersonal skills. Medical appliance technicians need to be able to get along with others because they may be part of a team of technicians working on a single project. In addition, they need good communication to ensure safety when they work with hazardous materials.
Technical skills. When creating medical devices, medical appliance technicians set up and operate sophisticated equipment and instruments. They also may need to make adjustments to equipment.
Medical appliance technicians are not required to be certified. However, employers prefer to hire certified technicians. The American Board for Certification in Orthotics, Prosthetics and Pedorthics (ABC) offers certification for technicians after they pass an exam. Technicians are eligible for the exam after completing an accredited program or if they have 2 years of experience as a technician under the direct supervision of a certified technician.
Medical appliance technicians can advance to become orthotists or prosthetists after completing additional formal education. These practitioners work with patients who need braces, prostheses, or related devices. For more information, see the profile on orthotists and prosthetists.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition