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Career and Education Opportunities for Medical Appliance Technicians in Seattle, Washington

Many educational and employment opportunities exist for medical appliance technicians in the Seattle, Washington area. Currently, 360 people work as medical appliance technicians in Washington. This is expected to grow 5% to about 380 people by 2016. This is not quite as good as the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for medical appliance technicians are expected to grow by about 10.9%. Medical appliance technicians generally construct, fit, or repair medical supportive devices, such as braces, artificial limbs, and other surgical and medical appliances.

A person working as a medical appliance technician can expect to earn about $16 hourly or $35,180 yearly on average in Washington and about $16 hourly or $34,460 annually on average in the U.S. as a whole. Compared with people working in the overall category of Medical and Dental, people working as medical appliance technicians in Washington earn more. They earn more than people working in the overall category of Medical and Dental nationally.

There are sixty-five schools of higher education in the Seattle area, including one within twenty-five miles of Seattle where you can get a degree to start your career as a medical appliance technician. Medical appliance technicians usually hold some college courses, so you can expect to spend a short time training to become a medical appliance technician if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Medical Appliance Technician

Medical Appliance Technician video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, medical appliance technicians construct, fit, or repair medical supportive devices, such as braces, artificial limbs, and other surgical and medical appliances.

Medical appliance technicians repair and maintain medical supportive devices, such as artificial limbs and surgical supports, according to given requirements. They also bend and shape fabric or material to conform to prescribed contours of structural components. Equally important, medical appliance technicians have to drill and tap holes for rivets and glue and rivet components together to fashion prosthetic or orthotic devices. They are often called upon to read prescriptions or specifications to establish the type of product or device to be fabricated and the materials and tools that will be required. They are expected to construct or receive casts or impressions of patients' torsos or limbs for use as cutting and fabrication patterns. Finally, medical appliance technicians instruct patients in use of prosthetic or orthotic devices.

Every day, medical appliance technicians are expected to be able to visualize how things come together and can be organized. They need to evaluate problems as they arise. It is also important that they articulate ideas and problems.

It is important for medical appliance technicians to service and repair machinery used in the fabrication of appliances. They are often called upon to instruct patients in use of prosthetic or orthotic devices. They also mix pigments to match patients' skin coloring, in line with formulas, and apply mixtures to orthotic or prosthetic devices. Somewhat less frequently, medical appliance technicians are also expected to lay out and mark dimensions of components, using templates and precision measuring instruments.

Medical appliance technicians sometimes are asked to make orthotic or prosthetic devices, using materials such as thermoplastic and thermosetting materials, metal alloys and leather, and hand and power tools. They also have to be able to take patients' body or limb measurements for use in device construction and test medical supportive devices for proper alignment and biomechanical stability, using meters and alignment fixtures. And finally, they sometimes have to drill and tap holes for rivets and glue and rivet components together to fashion prosthetic or orthotic devices.

Like many other jobs, medical appliance technicians must be thorough and dependable and have exceptional integrity.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Seattle include:

  • Dental Laboratory Technician. Construct and repair full or partial dentures or dental appliances.
  • Printing Press Machine Operator. Set up or operate various types of printing machines, such as offset, letterset, or gravure presses or screen printers to produce print on paper or other materials.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Medical Appliance Technician Training

University of Washington-Seattle Campus - Seattle, WA

University of Washington-Seattle Campus, 1400 NE Campus Parkway, Seattle, WA 98195-4550. University of Washington-Seattle Campus is a large university located in Seattle, Washington. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 39,675 students and an admission rate of 61%. University of Washington-Seattle Campus has a bachelor's degree program in Orthotist/Prosthetist which graduated eleven students in 2008.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Seattle, Washington

Seattle, Washington
Seattle, Washington photo by Dschwen

Seattle is located in King County, Washington. It has a population of over 598,541, which has grown by 6.2% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Seattle, 126, is far greater than the national average. New single-family homes in Seattle are valued at $206,700 on average, which is well below the state average. In 2008, five hundred ninety-five new homes were built in Seattle, down from seven hundred seventy-five the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Seattle are health care, professional, scientific, and technical services, and educational services. For men, it is professional, scientific, and technical services, construction, and educational services. The average commute to work is about 25 minutes. More than 47.2% of Seattle residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 17.3%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Seattle is 7.8%, which is less than Washington's average of 8.7%.

The percentage of Seattle residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 37.3%, is less than the national average but more than the state average. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the LDS (Mormon) Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Seattle is home to the Berth 5 and the Akli Point Lighthouse as well as Lincoln Park and Myrtle Edwards Park. Shopping centers in the area include Lake City Shopping Center, Westwood Village Shopping Center and Oak Tree Village Shopping Center. Visitors to Seattle can choose from A-1 Motel, Arlington Suites and Marriott Sea-Tac Airport for temporary stays in the area.