Are you considering the profession of orthotist/prosthetist as your future career path?
Are you thinking of studying orthotics and prosthetics in Australia?
AOPA can provide you with information to assist your decision. We encourage you to be familiar with the work role, tasks and employment opportunities of the profession in Australia.
What qualification to study?
Australian orthotist/prosthetists are tertiary qualified allied health practitioners, with a prosthetics and orthotics qualification.
An Australian Qualification Framework Level 7 qualification (Bachelor Degree) is required to practice as an orthotist/prosthetist in Australia. This is reflected in public sector employment awards and the AOPA membership eligibility criteria.
The only Bachelor Degree accepted for entry into the profession is a Bachelor of Prosthetics and Orthotics.
What is studied?
Orthotist/prosthetists study the same core subjects as other allied health professions, such as anatomy, physiology, neuroscience and pathology. Further specific studies relevant to the profession include biomechanics, materials science, orthotic and prosthetic prescription and design and fabrication.
An orthotist/prosthetist requires a thorough understanding of clinical assessment, strong technical skills, the application of orthotic and prosthetic techniques and research to support evidence-based practice. A generalist health degree or alternative allied health qualification does not allow entry into the occupation.
In 2016, AOPA introduced Course Accreditation as a self-regulatory mechanism to ensure the entry of safe and effective graduates in to the profession in Australia. Course Accreditation ensures that Australian orthotic/prosthetic tertiary degrees adhere to agreed standards and produce graduate orthotist/prosthetists who are eligible for AOPA membership. Graduates from AOPA accredited courses have been taught and assessed against the AOPA Competency Standards.
All orthotic/prosthetic programs in Australia, whether undergraduate or postgraduate, are assessed against the same standards in the accreditation process.
Where to study?
There are two tertiary institutions offering degrees in Orthotics and Prosthetics in Australia.
La Trobe University (Victoria)
La Trobe University is already recognised as meeting AOPAs current minimum standards and will be undergoing formal Course Accreditation procedures with AOPA this year. This course underwent some changes in 2014. Students are currently enrolled in a 4 year program from which graduates exit with a Bachelor of Health Science and a Master of Clinical Prosthetics and Orthotics. However, students who enrolled after 2013 will graduate with a Bachelor of Applied Science and Master of Clinical Prosthetics and Orthotics. Students completing the Bachelor of Applied Science and Master of Clinical Prosthetics and Orthotics will graduate in 2018.
This program also offers a graduate entry level for students who already have an appropriate Bachelor qualification. The graduate entry allows for completion of the Master in Clinical Prosthetics and Orthotics in 2 years.
University of Sunshine Coast (Queensland)
The University of Sunshine Coast (USC) commenced a new course in 2016. This course is a Bachelor of Health Science, Extended Major in Prosthetics and Orthotics. AOPA is in current consultation with USC regarding accreditation of this new course.
AOPA student support
AOPA offers a student membership option to all students enrolled in the Master of Clinical Prosthetics and Orthotics degree. AOPA provides a small number of grants and prizes for students of the La Trobe University prosthetics and orthotics program. In order to assist students with integrating into the workforce, AOPA also provides numerous information and networking sessions designed specifically for students.