Do you want to work as an animal orthotist?
- Read about the most important info you need to decide on following this career.
- Follow the 7 points below and search for a tertiary institution near you for future studies. If you already are graduated, you may also search through our list of Jobs in the main menu.
- If you want to PLAN the way you need to prepare, then join our community in step 8 where you will learn everything, while chatting with other potential orthotist and experts from around the world. Prepare to be amazed!
UPDATED: 9 July 2021
1. What is an Animal Orthotist?
An animal orthotist designs, develops, fits, and manufactures orthoses (braces or splints) that support or correct musculoskeletal deformities and/or abnormalities of an animal’s limbs.
Animals that need orthoses may have severe injuries, fractures, arthritis, spinal cord injury or problematic growth of a limb.
Closely related career
A career very closely related to that of an orthotist, is an animal prosthetist. Instead of creating braces or splints to help limbs heal properly, that design and create artificial limbs to replace specific limbs (such as a leg) which an animal might have lost,
2. What does an Animal Orthotist do?
The animal related careers are organized into categories. Here are the categories in which an animal orthotist can be found:
- Animal Health
What does an Animal Orthotist focus on?
An animal orthotist works with other professionals, such as veterinarians and rehabilitators to design and create the best brace or splint to help an animal to heal a problematic limb.
Daily tasks of an Animal Orthotist
- Evaluating clients mobility
- Writing a treatment plan to help improve mobility
- Taking measurements of the body to be able to fit patients with a brace or other supportive device
- Choosing which device will be the best fit for a client
- Fitting devices to a client
- Educating clients and family members on how to use and care for the brace or device
- Maintaining client records
3. The work environment of an Animal Orthotist
Work environment and places where an Animal Orthotist can be employed:
Animal orthotists will work mainly indoors within an office or clinical setup.
Places of Employment –
They are mainly employed by government, private veterinary practices, laboratories, research institutions, academics, zoos and aquariums. They may also start their own private practices.
Average annual salary for an Animal Orthotist
They can earn an average of US$75,000 per year. The salary will also differ from country to country.
Can an Animal Orthotist be promoted?
They do have the opportunity to be promoted within the unit or department, or join a different organization at a higher position. They may also be the owner of their own private practice.
What difficulties do Animal Orthotists face?
They will work with animals that may be scared or hurt and could retaliate by biting or scratching.
They may also work long hours, in difficult conditions, and might need to travel frequently.
Future growth and possibilities in this Career
The future growth of the sector is growing rapidly at around 20% per year.
A good field to go into is to focus only on the design and printing of devices with a 3D printer.
4. Which Skills does an Animal Orthotist need?
The skills required for a career as an animal orthotist can be divided into two very important groups. The first is the group containing life skills, which are the core skills that are necessary or desirable for full participation in everyday life. The second group is career skills, or the specific skills required to allow a person to enter and operate effectively within a specific career. Some or maybe even all of the life skills can assist in strengthening the career skills, and they might even be the same for specific careers.
- Critical thinking
- Creative thinking
- Decision making
- Problem Solving
- Effective communication
- Interpersonal relationship
- Excellent customer service skills
- Good health and physical fitness
- Excellent computer literacy
5. Which Subjects must I have at School to help me prepare for this Career?
The subjects you choose at school are important as they lay the foundation for further studies at college or university. While still at school, it’s also important to learn more about the animals you will work with, as well as gain some experience.
OZT has a list of various tertiary institutions where you can study further, after school. Each of these institutions also have their own Group page on OZT where you will find the exact subjects they require of you to have passed in school. Keep these requirements in mind, and discuss it with your school, guidance counselor and parents to ensure that you are prepared!
6. What will I need to Study to become an Animal Orthotist?
Minimum educational requirement:
The minimum international requirement is a Bachelor’s Degree. Most do specialize after the Degree towards a more advanced Master’s Degree in Orthotics.
The following majors can be taken: biomedical engineering, biology, animal physiology or even animal science.
Short Courses –
Many colleges have excellent short courses in animal rehabilitation.
The duration of a Bachelor’s Degree is between 3 to 4 years. If you want to study further, you may have to add another 2 to 3 years for Masters. Short Courses are usually between a few weeks and a year.
Possible Career Preparation Paths:
If this is your dream career that you want to pursue, then it’s important to plan the way forward.
Why is planning important?
To ensure that you understand the requirements for your career, and that you are always prepared for the next step on the road towards your dream. A Preparation Path is like your road map to where you want to be.
Possible Combined Career Paths:
It is possible to sometimes combine two or more related careers. This normally happens when you study and practice a specific main career, but the knowledge and experience gained also help you to have a paying hobby or secondary income career.
Possible Alternatives (there are a lot more):
Training and apprenticeship:
Even though it is important to study to get into some of the animal careers, most of the research and designing skills you will need as an animal orthotist will be acquired through practice. This means that you will learn how to perform some of the daily tasks by actually doing it a few times and learning the steps.
In some cases entry level positions require training sessions even before you are allowed to actually perform your job duties. These sessions are offered by the place of employment, after you have successfully applied.
Join the Animal Orthotists Group in the OZT Community to learn more and even interact with the educational institutions that will help you secure your dream career!
Average level of education of those entering the career:
7. Licenses, Certificate, Registration and Professional Associations
Certain animal careers require some form of legal certification to prove that you can indeed do the work, and work with the necessary equipment.
Certifications might be required in certain countries, and it may help workers establish their credentials and enhance their skills.
Learn more about requirements by joining the OZT Community.
8. Where can I study further to become an Animal Orthotist?
All of the above information will help you understand more about the Career, including the fact that there are different paths to take to reach it. But if you are almost done with High School (Grades 11 or 12), you also need to start thinking about further studies, and WHERE you will study.
See the List of Universities, Colleges and Online Training Academies who offer courses towards orthotics.
Do you have information that you want to add to this career? Please click on the red beetle to find out how to become an OZT Mentor or Contributor.
Join the OZT community
Join us as a special member and learn more about becoming an animal orthotist.
Members of the Platform have special access to:
- Info on the best places where you can study (colleges, universities and online)
- Expertly designed advice to prepare you for the career, and links to places where you can gain valuable experience. For some career experience is necessary, otherwise you wont get the job!
- Top notch info on each of the different species you will work with
- Make friends around the world and share knowledge
- Compete and win points, badges, games, prizes and certificates. Be the best of the best, while you learn and prepare!
If you have decided on being an Animal Orthotist, please click on the JOIN GROUP button. Members will be directed to the Group, while non-members will be assisted to register first.
If this career is NOT the career for you, then you may return to the MAIN CAREER menu, and search for something different.
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