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What are the Different Kinds of Orthopedic Jobs?

Laura M. Sands
By Laura M. Sands
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Orthopedic jobs encompass an array of specialties including surgery, podiatry, chiropractic care and veterinarian care. While each of these pinpoints a specific orthopedic specialty, other careers that do not require a medical degree may also be classified as orthopedic jobs. A few of these include an occupational therapist, an orthopedic nurse or an orthopedic physician’s assistant. All jobs within the scope of orthopedics, however, require varying degrees of medical training emphasizing musculoskeletal care.

One of the most common types of orthopedic specialties is that of an orthopedic physician. These are doctors who specialize in the care and treatment of musculoskeletal injuries, defects or disorders. Many physicians working within this genre of medicine choose to become orthopedic surgeons who specialize in performing surgeries to correct musculoskeletal problems. Other specialties relevant to orthopedic jobs for physicians include working with elderly populations in geriatric orthopedics and working with children in pediatric orthopedics.

Orthopedic specialties in podiatry are also commonly pursued by physicians and others interested in corrective medicine. Podiatrists may work in general practice and many frequently work with orthopedic physicians and surgeons when necessary. Some podiatrists, however, also specialize in orthopedics. Individuals working in these types of orthopedic jobs are commonly found to work in sports medicine or in pediatric orthopedics.

Some occupational therapists also specialize in orthopedics. Many work in hospital settings or in rehabilitation clinics. Individuals working within these particular orthopedic jobs frequently work with athletes, as well as aging populations. As a sub-specialty, occupational therapists specializing in orthopedics help patients regain strength, balance and coordination, while also working with doctors to correct other musculoskeletal dysfunctions.

Chiropractors frequently specialize in orthopedic jobs. Many work in orthopedic hospitals and in rehabilitation facilities. While all legitimate chiropractors are trained in elements of orthopedic medicine, some decide to solely focus on this specialty in postdoctoral education before receiving specialist certification in this area.

Besides doctors, other types of orthopedic jobs include orthopedic nurse positions and an orthopedic physician’s assistants. Beyond the general training needed for either of these professions, individuals must also be trained in aspects of orthopedic medicine so as to assist other orthopedic specialists. Many begin working in a general practice setting before deciding to pursue additional training or experience in orthopedics.

Not all orthopedic jobs focus on the human musculoskeletal system, however. An orthopedic vet, for instance, is a veterinarian who specializes in the care and rehabilitation of animals with congenital birth defects, diseases or those that have sustained injury due to an accident. As with doctors who work with humans, vets specializing in this genre of medicine must also undergo extensive orthopedic training before being able to work in this particular field.

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