What is a Medical Appliance Technician?

A career in medical appliance technology involves designing, fitting, creating, and maintaining medical devices. Individuals who have lost limbs due to birth defects, amputation, disease, aging, or other reasons have the option of wearing medical devices such as foot and leg braces, prosthetic limbs, and arch supports. This is all thanks to the work of medical appliance technicians.

By combining manual fabrication skills with an interest in medicine, medical appliance technicians use a variety of materials to create medical products like prosthetics, orthotics, and braces. They work directly with patients to take casts or impressions, manufacture the appliances, fit and adjust them to the patient, and tend to repairs on an ongoing basis.

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What does a Medical Appliance Technician do?

A medical appliance technician fitting a patient's arm prosthetic.

Medical appliance technicians design, fit, and create medical devices such as limb prosthetics, orthotic arch supports, and joint braces based on work orders and specifications from podiatrists, orthotists, and prosthetists. They decide what materials and tools are appropriate to use for a specific application, and also use digital scans of the patient's body to create the needed product.

Using fabrication techniques like welding, carving, grinding, or cutting, medical appliance technicians work plastic or other crafting materials into the desired shape and form.

A career as a medical appliance technician can be a great fit for individuals who are interested in both the healthcare industry and in technology. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there should be plenty of career opportunities in this field over the next few years, as jobs are expected to grow faster than average.

Responsibilities of medical appliance technicians:

• Reading and interpreting fabrication forms
• Forming, shaping, laminating, and sewing various plastic braces or prosthetic devices
• Pouring plaster molds
• Keeping updated with the latest technologies and material sciences

Other Duties

• Fine-tuning and repair work
• Ordering supplies and keeping inventory
• Assuring quality control
• Working well as an integral part of a medical team

Are you suited to be a medical appliance technician?

Medical appliance technicians have distinct personalities. They tend to be realistic individuals, which means they’re independent, stable, persistent, genuine, practical, and thrifty. They like tasks that are tactile, physical, athletic, or mechanical. Some of them are also investigative, meaning they’re intellectual, introspective, and inquisitive.

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What is the workplace of a Medical Appliance Technician like?

Medical appliance technicians usually work for medical supply manufacturers and laboratories, but some work for private care clinics and hospitals, fulfilling physicians' prescriptions and requests for devices that assist patients in dealing with injuries, birth defects, and amputations.

Medical Appliance Technicians are also known as:
Orthopedic Technician Orthotic Technician Prosthetic Technician Prosthetics Technician Registered Prosthetic Orthotic Technician Orthotic and Prosthetic Technician