Orthotic support worker

Orthotic support workers work with orthotists to design, make and fit orthotic devices for patients. Orthoses are artificial or mechanical aids that provide support or assistance to a weakened part of the body. They can be made from titanium, thermoplastics, leather or carbon fibre.

My name is Francesca Muratore. I work as an Orthotics Technician, senior assistant in Gartnavel General [Hospital] in NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde.

So, I am a technician. I have been trained to assess the patient, fit and deliver compression hosiery.

The skills I need are manual skills and I need to know how to use hand tools. I need problem solving skills and computer skills, obviously.

I make insoles for the patient and the insoles stop the pain to the patient. With an insole, I can improve the life of the patient.

I like and enjoy work with the computer and also I like making something to help a patient and to make better their life.

I feel really proud to have something I made in my hands. I feel very proud of that.


Starting your career

Choosing subjects at school

To become an orthotic support worker, you need a good standard of education. There are no entry requirements, but useful subjects include:

  • Science
  • Engineering Science
  • English
  • Maths

Work placements and volunteering

You may find it helpful to get some experience of working in healthcare by doing a work placement. There may also be opportunities to volunteer. This could help you when applying to university, college or a new job with NHSScotland.


Foundation Apprenticeships

A Foundation Apprenticeship could give you the skills, knowledge and work experience you need to start your career journey as an orthotic support worker.

Learn more about relevant Foundation Apprenticeships in:

Modern Apprenticeships

A Modern Apprenticeship can give you the skills, knowledge and experience to start your career journey as an orthotic support worker.

Find out about the Modern Apprenticeship in Healthcare Support.

All Healthcare Support modern apprentices study the three mandatory units of communication, health and safety, and learning development. For orthotic support worker, you will then choose your remaining units from the clinical pathway options.

The role

As an orthotic support worker, you'll use the orthotist's designs and specifications to make orthoses using the most suitable materials. You will also be responsible for maintaining and repairing them.

You’ll work with people of all ages with a range of conditions including:

  • arthritis
  • stroke
  • cerebral palsy
  • spina bifida
  • scoliosis

What you’ll do

Your main tasks include:

  • manufacturing, maintaining and repairing orthotic devices
  • supporting and developing manufacturing processes to meet quality standards
  • making sure work areas and equipment are maintained and kept clean
  • ordering materials and equipment

You’ll also be expected to keep up to date with the latest manufacturing techniques and technologies.

Top skills

You’ll need these skills:

  • caring
  • communication
  • creativity
  • motivating people
  • problem-solving
  • relationship-building

As an orthotic support worker, you’ll need to have good practical skills and some knowledge of IT and CADCAM.

Who you’ll work with

You could work with:

  • occupational therapists
  • nurses
  • podiatrists
  • doctors
  • physiotherapists

Working environment

You could work in:

  • hospitals
  • private clinics

Useful information

To work as an orthotic support worker in NHSScotland, you’ll need to:

Did you know?

The word orthotist comes from the Latin root ‘Ortho’ which means to straighten.

Learning and development

When joining the NHS, you will work through the Mandatory Induction Standards. These standards are designed to help you work safely and must be completed within the first 3 to 6 months of employment. They will also support you in your first steps as a new healthcare support worker.

You may also be encouraged while in the post to work towards further education qualifications. These may include:

Getting experience as a healthcare support worker can be very helpful if you decide you want to go to university to study to become a registered orthotist.

Learn more about becoming a healthcare support worker from NHS Education for Scotland's Healthcare Support Worker Careers Guidance leaflet