Spokane Falls Community College offers the only Orthotic and Prosthetic technician training programs in the western
United States. Students are trained in the basic skills of making orthopedic braces and artificial limbs in a two-year
competency-based program. Each discipline, orthotics and prosthetics, includes three quarters of study and lab work plus
an off-site, five-week clinical experience.
Students in the orthotics program take courses in the use of power tools, materials, and human anatomy. They develop
skills in modifying shoes and fabricating upper limb, lower limb, and spinal orthoses. Students in the prosthetics
program also learn the proper use of hand and power tools and materials. They take courses in human anatomy, below-knee
and above-knee prosthetics, followed by below-elbow and above-elbow prosthetics. The O&P technician training programs
give students the opportunity to work in an environment similar to the actual practice while gaining hands-on experience.
The average student/faculty ratio is 15:1.
The programs are taught in a competency-based format in which each student works with reasonable independence
utilizing numerous learning resources, and individual and group instruction. Competency-based learning allows students
to progress as they learn mastery of academic content and fabrication techniques.
The orthotic and prosthetic lab has 9,000 square feet of space including individual workstations for 32 students.
Surrounding the main lab space are multiple rooms filled with specialized tools and equipment. The adjoining 1,200-square foot
classroom is used for lectures and guest speaker presentations.
Following three quarters of formal classroom training, students participate in a
five-week clinical experience, sometimes in another city, to practice fabrication skills under the supervision of a
certified orthotic or prosthetic practitioner.
While most college programs start in the fall quarter, students may enter the O&P programs in the fall, winter, or
spring quarter. Students usually finish the program two years from their starting date. Orthotic and prosthetics
classes are not conducted during the summer.