Prosthetic technicians manufacture artificial replacements (prosthetics) for patients who are missing a limb.
This page has information on the role of prosthetic technican with links to further information.
As a prosthetic technician, you'll work with people of all ages who may have
- been born with a limb missing
- lost an limb in an accident or during military service
- had a limb amputated as a result of a condition such as diabetes
You will work with registered prosthetists who assess the patient’s needs. You'll then manufacture the prosthesis using the most suitable materials. You will work with a wide range of materials including plastics, metals, leather, carbon fibre and composites. Prostheses are made to measure, designed specifically for each patient. Frequently you'll be involved in the design stage, using use digital imaging techniques, CAD (computer-aided design) and CAM (computer-aided modelling).
You will aim to design and create prostheses which match as closely as possible the missing limb. You'll also take into account what the patient wants and needs their prosthesis to help them achieve. For example, some prostheses are designed for particular sports.
Who will I work with?
Where will I work?
As well as working in the NHS, some prosthetic technicians work in private clinics and in companies which supply the NHS. In a hospital or clinic the technician is likely to have contact with patients, in a manufacturing company they may not.
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. You can search for vacancies on the NHS Jobs website and Find an Apprenticeship website.
Employers may ask for engineering or manufacturing experience. They may also ask for experience in healthcare, particularly for jobs where you have contact with patients. Even where this is not specified, it would be an advantage if you have worked in health or social care, either in paid employment or voluntary work.
Skills and personal characteristics needed
A prosthetic technician needs to be:
- good with their hands
- able to work to deadlines
- methodical and accurate
- able to work from technical instructions
You'll also need
- practical skills
- design skills
- problem-solving skills
- using hand tools
- working with different materials
- IT and CADCAM skills
- good communication skills if working with patients
Training and development
You'll be given the training you need for the job including:
- an introduction to the department and its procedures
- how to use the equipment
- manufacturing processes
You may have the opportunity to study for qualifications such as NVQ or BTEC. You may also be able to attend short courses on particular topics.
Prosthetic technicians can become members of the British Association of Prosthetists and Orthotists (BAPO). BAPO run courses, conferences and seminars where prosthetic technicians can update their skills and network with others doing similar work.
- Pay and conditions Expand / Collapse
Prosthetic 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
Terms and conditions will usually be different for prosthetic technicians working outside of the NHS.
Most prosthetic technicians in the NHS work standard hours, which are likely to be around 37.5 a week. They may work some evenings or weekends.
- Where the role can lead Expand / Collapse
With experience, you could become a team leader, supervising the work of other technicians. You could apply to train as a prosthetist.
- Job market and vacancies Expand / Collapse
Manufacturing companies and private clinics may advertise locally or on their own websites.
If you're applying for a role either directly in the NHS or in an organisation that provides NHS services, you'll be asked to show how you think the NHS values apply in your everyday work.
- Further information Expand / Collapse