Orthopedic Technologist  What They Do

Just the Facts


Insider Info

dotIf you've ever had a cast on one part of your body or another, chances are it was applied by an orthopedic technologist rather than a doctor.

dotOrthopedic technologists prep patients for surgery and assist orthopedic surgeons in the operating room. Following a doctor's orders, they apply or remove casts and other orthopedic devices. They're also responsible for setting up patients in traction configurations.

They must know what type of material to use and how to fit all orthopedic devices properly. Once an orthopedic device is on a patient, the technologist explains how to properly care for the cast or splint.

dotAn orthopedic technologist may work in private practice, a hospital or a clinic.

dotThe hours an "ortho tech" works depend on the job situation. Those who work in a clinic or private practice may have a 9-to-5 routine. Technologists employed at hospitals usually have to work shifts to cover the demands of a 24-hour staff.

Tom Byrne was an orthopedic technologist for 30 years. He is now an instructor at Grossmont College. Byrne says interested students should realize that this is a physical job. "Orth technology requires physical ability, because we are working with patients who are debilitated."

At a Glance

Apply casts and assist in orthopedic surgeries

  • This is a physical job
  • You must pass a certification exam
  • An orthopedic technologist may work in private practice, a hospital or a clinic