The requirements for becoming an orthopedic technician depend on the jurisdiction in which you plan to work and the preferences of employers in your area. In most cases, however, you will have to earn a certificate to land a job in this field. You can usually find an appropriate training program through a community college or vocational program, and some hospitals offer them as well. You may also seek certification in this field, which usually requires you to obtain some hands-on training. An externship, which some orthopedic programs offer, may help you fulfill this requirement, or you may do so by completing two years of full-time, on-the-job training as an orthopedic technician.
The first step to becoming an orthopedic technician is usually completing high school or earning a general educational development diploma. Many employers, educational programs, and certification organizations will require this as a minimum credential. Once you’ve earned a high school diploma or its equivalent, you will likely have to enroll in a certificate program to become an orthopedic technician. In most cases, these certificate programs require a one- to two-year commitment. Typically, you can find orthopedic technician certificate programs through community colleges, vocational schools, and hospitals.
While enrolled in an orthopedic technician certificate program, you will typically study anatomy, medical terminology, physiology, and psychology. You may also study mathematics and receive training in a wide variety of orthopedic techniques as you work to become an orthopedic technician. Your coursework may include content related to patient education and the assessment of a patient’s joints and muscles as well. The specific curriculum requirements for becoming an orthopedic technician may vary a bit, depending on the certificate program you choose and the jurisdiction in which you are preparing to become an orthopedic technician.
You may also choose to seek certification as an orthopedic technician, which may open the doors to more job opportunities or higher pay. The education program you completed to become an orthopedic technician will usually fulfill part of the certification requirements. Most certification organizations also set experience requirements, however. You may fulfill these requirements by participating in a one-year externship as part of your orthopedic technician education program or by completing two years of full-time, on-the-job orthopedic technician training after graduating with your certificate. After you’ve fulfilled both the education and experience requirements for certification, you will usually have to pass an exam for this credential.