What to Expect
Orthopedic technology students learn to apply casts, splints and other
orthopedic devices and assist orthopedic surgeons.
For Stephanie Rock, who has a degree in athletic training and an interest
in sports medicine, an orthopedic technology program was an obvious choice.
"I spoke to some potential employers at a sports medicine clinic and they
suggested this program as the best entry into the field," she says. She took
the program at Grossmont College.
"I was well prepared for the scientific requirements of the program,
but was surprised by how hard it is to put a cast on a hurt person," she
says. "They are not very cooperative!"
Dawn Chony chose an orthopedic technology program as a route to medical
school. "I like the hands-on aspect of the program, and working with
"Some of my days [were] at least 12 to 13 hours between the hospital and
university alone," she says, which gave her great practice for medical school.
How to Prepare
Rock strongly suggests that potential applicants to the program spend
some time volunteering at a hospital or other clinical setting. "Even
a day or two can help you decide if this is the career you want to pursue,"
She also recommends concentrating in your high school biology class. "Know
your anatomy and muscles and bones," she says. "It will save you a lot
of grief once you're in the program."
Rosario Flores also studied at Grossmont. She says it helps to have a good
memory. "Memorization is a lot of what we do," she says.
Flores agrees that students should spend some time volunteering to see
if this is what they really want.
"I was surprised by how real it all is. This is not the Learning Channel
or ER. It attacks all the senses -- smell, taste, touch, hearing....[It] can
be overwhelming for those with no exposure to clinical settings."