Frequently Asked Questions
When does the program begin?
Classes begin the third week of May each year.
How long is your Master's Degree program?
Our Master's Degree program is 18 months (five consecutive semesters: May year 1 through December year 2), culminating in graduation with a Master of Prosthetics and Orthotics degree. Following graduation, graduates go directly to residency — one year in each discipline.
What type of experience should I have?
We require that our prospective students visit a prosthetics-orthotics clinic to see first-hand what clinicians do in the course of their professional activities. Many applicants go beyond the minimum and visit more than one facility, volunteer at a clinic, etc.
Do you have a distance learning program?
We offer much of our didactic curriculum on an online learning platform as an adjunct to regular lecture and lab work. However the program is on-site full-time. The hybrid model gives students access to lecture materials 24/7 so they are best prepared for our on-site activities.
What type of clinical education do you offer?
Our program prepares you for patient care and we teach from a strong clinical perspective, as each faculty member practices in our clinic. We teach by example and will be sharing clinical scenarios with students as well as including you in some of our clinical activities. This program was established in 1982 and the move to the MPO has given us the opportunity to revise and re-sequence the curriculum so that we can offer you, the student, a clinically relevant and evidence-based education.
We are confident that our graduates will be successful in their residencies and be able to deliver excellent patient care. In addition to patient care experience at UT Southwestern and local hospitals, you will also have the opportunity to spend one month of concentrated time at a clinic learning under a clinician and experiencing daily practice.
What type of business curriculum to you offer?
We offer a four-credit course entitled, “Contemporary Practice and Synthesis” during the student’s last semester. A good portion of this course is dedicated to practice management focusing on reimbursement policy and fraud and abuse. It is designed to enhance the student’s clinical experiences and billing assignments he/she has already completed. The course covers federal, state, private, self-pay, and charity reimbursement.
Insurance representatives, case workers, state vocational rehabilitation counselors, P&O insurance authorization and charge entry staff, Special Agents with the OIG, and attorneys with the U.S. Attorney’s Office are an example of invited guests who participate in the course. In addition to the more than 20 hours of reimbursement education covered in the final semester, we provide many more hours each semester through discussion, example, and exercise. Learning proper charting and coding is an integral part of each course.
Do you assist students in finding residencies?
Yes, we provide you with guidance to find a residency. There is no formal matching program in our profession, yet students do not have a difficult time securing a residency. Positions locally can be scarce and we encourage students to seek residences nationally.
When and where are classes held?
Prosthetic and orthotic courses meet throughout the week with lecture and laboratory often combined. The schedule is flexible and will shift depending on clinic and rounds opportunities each week. We currently not hold classes in the evenings or weekends. However there are occasionally early morning rounds (6:30 a.m.). Health Care Sciences courses that include students from other programs meet in classrooms on the north and south campus. Prosthetic and orthotic courses meet in the School of Health Professions building (West Campus V building on map). You can walk to all locations on campus or use the campus connector shuttle system.
Can I work while attending UT Southwestern?
Yes, evening and weekend work hours are possible. Working part-time during the regular work week (8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday) is difficult because of the course schedule. Many students work on campus at the Student Center. For more information about student staff opportunities please visit: https://www.utsouthwestern.edu/education/students/student-life/staff
After completion of residency, prosthetists and orthotists may work in hospitals, private clinics, or have their own practices.
What kind of salary can I expect?
For salary and other employment information, visit the OP Careers website
Who will I be working with?
Prosthetists and orthotists are members of the rehab team and work with physicians, physical therapists, occupational therapists, social workers, case managers, nurses, and family members.
Who will my patients be?
P&O practitioners will see patients with orthopedic and neuromuscular problems, including amputation, cerebral palsy, spina bifida, diabetes, stroke, trauma, or muscular dystrophy.
How can I help people in other parts of the world through a P&O career?
Many non-industrialized countries lack facilities or personnel to serve the needs of people who have lost limbs or experienced functional limitation due to disease or accident. Prosthetists and orthotists from the U.S. may participate in international programs that offer assistance to underserved populations.
What is the job outlook for P&O?
In coming decades, more than 70 percent of the top jobs will fall under health professions such as P&O.* As the population increases and ages, the demand for P&O professionals increases. Every year 156,000 individuals in the United States lose a limb. More than 1.5 million Americans have had amputations and need ongoing care. More than 54 million Americans experience functional limitations due to an impairment or health condition.**
*U.S. Department of Labor Statistics
**Centers for Disease Control and Prevention