Orthotic technicians help people with conditions such as arthritis and spina bifida live their lives to the full by making splints, braces and special footwear.
Training and qualifications required
Although there are no set entry requirements, employers usually ask for five GCSEs (or equivalent) including English, maths and a science or engineering subject. A level 3 apprenticeship standard for prosthetic and orthotic technicians has been approved. To get onto an apprenticeship, you will need to apply for an apprentice position with a health care provider. Employers may ask for engineering or manufacturing experience and may also ask for experience in healthcare, particularly for jobs where you have contact with patients. You will be given the training you need for the job including an introduction to the department and its procedures, how to use the equipment and manufacturing processes. You may have the opportunity to study for qualifications such as NVQ or BTEC and attend short courses on particular topics. Engineering manufacture apprenticeships at intermediate and advanced levels may be available.
Expected working hours and salary range
Orthotic technicians working in the NHS are paid on the Agenda for Change (AfC) pay system.You would typically start on AfC band 4. With further training and experience, you may be able to apply for more senior positions at bands 5. Most orthotic technicians in the NHS work standard hours, which are likely to be around 37.5 a week. They may work some evenings or weekends. Terms and conditions will usually be different for orthotic technicians working outside of the NHS.
Desirable skills and values
An orthotic technician needs to be creative, good with their hands, able to work to deadlines, methodical and accurate and able to work from technical instructions. They also need practical skills, design skills, problem-solving skills, using hand tools, working with different materials, IT and CADCAM skills and good communication skills if working with patients.
With experience, you could become a team leader, supervising the work of other technicians. You could apply to train as an orthotist.