Entry requirements and training (prosthetist/orthotist)

This page has information on the entry requirements and training needed to become a prosthetist or an orthotist.

To practise as a prosthetist or an orthotist, you must be registered with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). To register with the HCPC, you first need to successfully complete an approved degree (BSc) in prosthetics and orthotics or an approved degree apprenticeship in prosthetics and orthotics. Two universities in the UK offer full-time courses which take three or four years, depending on the university.

Orthotist checking shoes and insoles

Full-time course

To get onto a degree course in orthotics and prosthetics you need

  • two or three A-levels, including maths, physics, biology/human biology or engineering, along with five GCSEs (grades A-C), including English language, maths and science

or alternative qualifications, including

  • BTEC, HND or HNC which includes maths or engineering
  • relevant NVQ
  • science-based access course
  • equivalent Scottish or Irish qualifications
  • a previous degree or a full practising qualification in a related area.

Degree apprenticeship

A degree apprenticeship standard (level 6) in prosthetics and orthotics has been approved. To get onto a degree apprenticeship, you will need to apply for an apprentice position with a health care provider.

As well as a genuine interest in pursuing a role as a prosthetist or orthotist, you will need to demonstrate that you can meet the academic requirements of the apprenticeship - typically holding qualifications at level 3.

You can search for vacancies on the NHS Jobs website and Find an Apprenticeship website. 


Once you’ve successfully completed a programme approved by the HCPC, you are then eligible to apply for registration with the HCPC. Once registered as a practitioner, you can choose to specialise either as a prosthetist or an orthotist. You'll be required to retain your name on the register by keeping your knowledge and skills up to date through continuing professional development (CPD) and paying an annual retention fee.

Want to learn more?

  • Personal characteristics needed be become a prosthetist or orthotist include:

    • understanding of how other people live their lives
    • interested in how engineering can be used to help people
    • willing to work alone or in a team
    • happy to be hands-on with patients
    • good listeners
    • understanding
    • calm
    • able to motivate people
  • Skills needed be become a prosthetist or orthotist include:

    • IT skills
    • engineering and maths skills
    • good manual (hand) skills
    • organisation skills
    • good communication skills
    • ability to explain treatment to patients
    • business skills for private practice
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