What Does A Medical Appliance Technician Do (including Their Typical Day at Work)

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Salary, Job Description, How To Become One, and Quiz

Medical Appliance Technicians

Medical Appliance Technicians construct, maintain, or repair medical supportive devices such as braces, orthotics and prosthetic devices, joints, arch supports, and other surgical and medical appliances.

Salary
$45630
Becoming One
Medium
Education
Associate's degree
Job Satisfaction
Job Growth

Personality





Find a job you love and you will never work a day in your life.Confucius

What they do

Medical Appliance Technicians construct, maintain, or repair medical supportive devices such as braces, orthotics and prosthetic devices, joints, arch supports, and other surgical and medical appliances.

  • Drill and tap holes for rivets and glue, weld, bolt, or rivet parts together to form prosthetic or orthotic devices.
  • Read prescriptions or specifications to determine the type of product or device to be fabricated and the materials and tools that will be required.
  • Make orthotic or prosthetic devices, using materials such as thermoplastic and thermosetting materials, metal alloys and leather, and hand or power tools.
  • Bend, form, and shape fabric or material to conform to prescribed contours of structural components.

Typical day

On a daily basis, Medical Appliance Technicians repair, modify or maintain medical supportive devices, such as artificial limbs, braces, or surgical supports, according to specifications. They make orthotic or prosthetic devices, using materials such as thermoplastic and thermosetting materials, metal alloys and leather, and hand or power tools.

A typical day for a Medical Appliance Technician will also include:

  • Test medical supportive devices for proper alignment, movement, or biomechanical stability, using meters and alignment fixtures.
  • Layout and mark dimensions of parts, using templates and precision measuring instruments.
  • Construct or receive casts or impressions of patients’ torsos or limbs for use as cutting and fabrication patterns.
  • Polish artificial limbs, braces, or supports, using grinding and buffing wheels.
  • Bend, form, and shape fabric or material to conform to prescribed contours of structural components.

Other responsibilities

Besides their typical day, Medical Appliance Technicians also service or repair machinery used in the fabrication of appliances. They may also mix pigments to match patients’ skin coloring, according to formulas, and apply mixtures to orthotic or prosthetic devices.

On a weekly to monthly basis, Medical Appliance Technicians instruct patients in the use of prosthetic or orthotic devices. They might also bend, form, and shape fabric or material to conform to prescribed contours of structural components.

In addition, they fit appliances onto patients and make any necessary adjustments.

Although specific duties may vary, many of them layout and mark dimensions of parts, using templates and precision measuring instruments.

To some Medical Appliance Technicians, it is also their responsibility to repair, modify, or maintain medical supportive devices, such as artificial limbs, braces, or surgical supports, according to specifications.

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What is the job like

Job satisfaction

Very High

Is this job meaningful

Very High

78% said they were satisfied with their job and 90% said they found their job meaningful.


Pros

Suitable for people who like practical and hands-on work.

Suitable for people who value relationships between co-workers and customers and want to work in a friendly non-competitive environment.

This career is perfect for people who love to work indoors.

It is not too difficult to get into this career. Previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is required for this career.

Cons

Not suitable for people who like to start and carry out projects.

Salary is below average.

Long working hours (More than 40 hours per week).

How much do they make

Average salary

$45630 per year

Average hourly wage

$22 per hour

Entry-level Medical Appliance Technicians with little to no experience can expect to make anywhere between $27,100 to $33,350 per year or $13 to $16 per hour.

Salary by experience Annual Hourly
Highest (Top 10%) $69,850 $34
Senior (Top 25%) $54,240 $26
Median $41,750 $20
Junior (Bottom 25%) $33,350 $16
No experience (Bottom 10%) $27,100 $13

This table shows the top 10 highest paying industries for Medical Appliance Technicians based on their average annual salary.

Salary by industry Annual Hourly
Specialty Hospitals $59790 $28.74
Outpatient Care Centers $58750 $28.24
Professional and Commercial Equipment and Supplies Merchant Wholesalers $48620 $23.38
Offices of Physicians $48540 $23.34
Navigational, Measuring, Electromedical, and Control Instruments Manufacturing $47850 $23.01
Colleges, Universities, and Professional Schools $47570 $22.87
Rental and Leasing Services $47460 $22.82
General Medical and Surgical Hospitals $45830 $22.03
Medical Equipment and Supplies Manufacturing $45750 $22.00
Offices of Other Health Practitioners $42830 $20.59

View more salary by industries here.

Where can they work

Where can Medical Appliance Technicians work? Here is a table showing the top 10 largest employers of Medical Appliance Technicians including the average salary in that industry.

Employers Total Employed Annual Salary Hourly Wages
Medical Equipment and Supplies Manufacturing 8440 $45750 $22.00
Health and Personal Care Stores 1050 $40160 $19.31
Professional and Commercial Equipment and Supplies Merchant Wholesalers 760 $48620 $23.38
Offices of Physicians 630 $48540 $23.34
General Medical and Surgical Hospitals 610 $45830 $22.03
Navigational, Measuring, Electromedical, and Control Instruments Manufacturing 600 $47850 $23.01
Offices of Other Health Practitioners 580 $42830 $20.59
Employment Services 200 $32340 $15.55
Outpatient Care Centers 130 $58750 $28.24
Specialty Hospitals 130 $59790 $28.74

What is the work day like

Working hours

Less than 40 hours
25%

40 hours
53%

More than 40 hours
22%

Working schedule

80%

11%

9%

Email

How often do you use email in this job?

Once a week
35%

Every day
37%

Telephone

How often do you have telephone conversations in this job?

Once a week
45%

Every day
44%

Group discussions

How often do you have group discussions in this job?

Once a week
19%

Every day
63%

Public speaking

How often does this job require you to do public speaking?

Never
44%

Once a year
13%

Once a month
9%

Once a week
13%

Every day
21%

Level of competition

How much competitive pressure is in this job?

Not competitive at all
10%

Slightly competitive
8%

Moderately competitive
33%

Highly competitive
37%

Extremely competitive
13%

What is the work environment like

Office-style environment

Indoors in an environmentally controlled condition

Never
1%

Once a year or more
0%

Once a month or more
0%

Once a week or more
9%

Every day
90%

Warehouse-style environment

Indoors in a non-controlled environmental condition such as a warehouse

Never
85%

Once a year or more
6%

Once a month or more
6%

Once a week or more
2%

Every day
2%

Outdoors

Outdoors exposed to all weather conditions

Never
91%

Once a year or more
5%

Once a month or more
0%

Once a week or more
4%

Every day
0%

Outdoors – Under Cover

Outdoors but under cover (e.g. structure with roof but no walls)

Never
98%

Once a year or more
2%

Once a month or more
0%

Once a week or more
0%

Every day
0%

How to become one

Difficulty to become one

Medium
You will need previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience. Most careers in this difficulty category require training in vocational schools, related on-the-job experience, or an Associate’s degree, and one or two years of on-the-job training. Similar careers include Travel Agents, Agricultural Technicians, Court Reports, and Medical Assistants.

Required level of education

What level of education do you need to perform the job?

Less than a High School Diploma
6%

High School Diploma or equivalent
21%

Post-Secondary Certificate
10%

Some College Courses
9%

Associate’s Degree or similar
26%

Bachelor’s Degree
18%

Post-Baccalaureate Certificate
0%

Master’s Degree
10%

Post-Master’s Certificate
0%

First Professional Degree
0%

Doctoral Degree
0%

Post-Doctoral Training
0%

Relevant majors

Assistive/Augmentative Technology and Rehabilitation Engineering

A program that prepares individuals to apply the principles of psychology, engineering, and occupational therapy to the design and implementation of technological interventions and systems to promote patient rehabilitation and function. Includes instruction in ergonomics, seating and mobility design, universal and near environment systems design, rehabilitation research, rehabilitation biomechanics, access and communications design, microprocessor-based technologies, neurological trauma, standards and testing, and service delivery management.

Orthotist/Prosthetist

A program that prepares individuals, in consultation with physicians and other therapists, to design and fit orthoses for patients with disabling conditions of the limbs and/or spine, and prostheses for patients who have partial or total absence of a limb or significant superficial deformity. Includes instruction in biomechanics, gait analysis, pathomechanics, kinesiology, pathology, neuroanatomy, materials science, diagnostic imaging, patient analysis and measurement, impression taking, model rectification, assistive/restorative technology and engineering applications, product finishing, diagnostic and definitive fitting and alignment, power devices, postoperative management, and patient counseling and follow-up.

Relevant work experience

How much related work experience do you need to get hired for the job?

None
8%

1 month
3%

1 to 3 months
0%

3 to 6 months
10%

6 months to 1 year
22%

1 to 2 years
29%

2 to 4 years
11%

4 to 6 years
6%

6 to 8 years
0%

8 to 10 years
0%

Over 10 years
11%

On The Job Training

How much on the job training do you need to perform the job?

None or short demonstration
1%

1 month
4%

1 to 3 months
11%

3 to 6 months
25%

6 months to 1 year
25%

1 to 2 years
24%

2 to 4 years
8%

4 to 10 years
1%

Over 10 years
0%

Should you become one

Best personality type for this career

The Builder

People with this personality type likes practical and hands-on work. They prefer working with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery.

The Builder
100%

People with The Builder personality type likes practical and hands-on work. They prefer working with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery.


The Thinker
67%

People with The Thinker personality likes to work with ideas that require an extensive amount of thinking. They prefer work that requires them to solve problems mentally.


The Artist
33%

People with The Artist personality likes to work with designs and patterns. They prefer activities that require self-expression and prefer work that can be done without following a clear set of rules.


The Helper
62%

People with The Helper personality type likes to work with people and in teams. They prefer work that allows them to build relationships with others.


The Leader
24%

People with The Leader personality likes to start and work on projects. They also like leading people and making many decisions.


The Organizer
43%

People with The Organizer personality type likes to follow set procedures and routines. They prefer working with data and details more than with ideas.


You can read more about these career personality types here.

People who are suitable for this job tend to like work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They like working with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery.

They also like working with ideas and require an extensive amount of thinking. They like searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.

Take this quiz to see if this is the right career for you.

Work Values

Which values are the most important to a person’s satisfaction for this job?

Achievement
67%

You are someone who is results oriented. You prefer work that allows you to utilize your skills and abilities while at the same time giving you a sense of accomplishment.

Working Conditions
69%

You are someone who values job security, steady employment, and good working conditions. You also prefer work that keeps you busy all the time with something different to do every day.

Recognition
52%

You are someone who values job advancement and leadership roles. You prefer work that receives recognition for the work you do and jobs that are looked up to by others in the company and your community.

Relationships
81%

You are someone who likes to provide a service to others. You prefer a work environment where you can work with your co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment.

Support
76%

You are someone who values a company that stands behind their employees. You prefer a work environment where everyone is treated fairly and is being supported by the company.

Independence
67%

You are someone who likes to work on your own and make your own decisions. You prefer work that requires little supervision and are allowed to try out your own ideas.

FAQ


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