In order to get into prosthetics and become a Clinical Prosthetist in Australia, clinicians require an accredited degree in the field in conjunction with the optional, yet recommended, membership with the Australian Orthotic and Prosthetic Association (AOPA).
In terms of study, there are currently two universities in Australia which offer bachelor’s degrees in Prosthetics and Orthotics: La Trobe University (Victoria) and The University of the Sunshine Coast (Queensland). Both courses feature prosthetic specific subjects as well as the opportunity to undertake clinical placements at Prosthetic and Orthotic facilities across Australia and around the world. University requirements vary and depend on a number of factors such as ATAR, previous study and availability of student positions.
A membership with AOPA is not essential, but highly recommended to work as a Prosthetist in Australia. AOPA is the professional body which regulates prosthetic and orthotic treatment in Australia and ensures its members are regularly up-skilling, exercising best clinical practice and adheres to the standard codes and conducts. AOPA organises an annual conference which features keynote speakers as well as allowing Prosthetists/Orthotists to share and collaborate their work.
Once these requirements and recommendations are met, clinicians are able to get into prosthetics and work as a Prosthetist in an Australian facility. Fortunately, both university degrees are recognised by AOPA and The International Society of Prosthetics and Orthotics (ISPO) which give graduates the opportunity to work as a Prosthetist/Orthotist around the world.
In order to get into prosthetics and become a Prosthetic Technician, applicants are encouraged to either reach out directly to prosthetic facilities or search ‘employment opportunities’ section of the AOPA website. There are no official study pathways in Australia to become a prosthetic technician, however, experience with hand tools and attention to detail are skills which are suited to the prosthetic industry. Often many P&O graduates will enter the industry as a prosthetic technician to broaden their skills and gain a more holistic understanding of prosthetics before moving into clinical roles as a Prosthetist.
Most importantly, many prosthetic facilities in Australia are very approachable and willing to provide information on how to get into prosthetics, albeit a Prosthetist or Prosthetic Technician.
For further questions on the various pathways to prosthetics, get in contact with the team at APC Prosthetics today.