Prosthetists, or orthotists, help disabled people lead fuller, more capable lives. Prosthetists work with patients who are experiencing a disabling condition due to the absence of limbs or injuries to the spine. Prosthetists assist these patients by fitting and preparing artificial limbs, braces and other devices.
The mean hourly wage for orthotists and prosthetists was $32.02, and the mean annual wage, or average salary, was $66,600, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics in May 2009. Median annual wages for orthotists and prosthetists range from approximately $34,000 to $104,540. The lowest 10 percent of employees earn less than $34,000, and the top 10 percent of employees earn more than $104,540.
PayScale lists the starting salary of certified orthotists and prosthetists with one to four years of experience as anywhere between $48,115 and $58,383 as of October 2010.
The medical equipment and supplies manufacturing industry employed the largest number of orthotists and prosthetists with an average annual salary of $72,500, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics in May 2009. Other industries that employed large numbers were: health and personal care stores, at $69,230; physicians' offices, $55,150; the Federal Executive Branch, $67,850; and general medical and surgical hospitals, $54,000.
The professional and commercial equipment and supplies merchant wholesalers industry paid the highest average salary above all other industries to orthotists and prosthetists, with an average annual salary of $73,880, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics in May 2009. Other industries that offered high pay were: medical equipment and supplies manufacturing, at $72,500; health and personal care stores, $69,230; the Federal Executive Branch, $67,850; and outpatient care centers, $66,700.
New Hampshire paid the highest average salary above all other states to orthotists and prosthetists, with an average annual salary of $87,540, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics in May 2009. Other states that offered high pay were: Connecticut, $82,710; Indiana, $81,900; Texas, $80,030; and Rhode Island, $76,740.
According to O*Net, national employment for orthotists and prosthetists is expected to increase faster than average at a rate of 14 percent to 19 percent from 2008 through 2018. In 2008, the manufacturing industry and the healthcare and social assistance industry had the highest number of job openings.
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