J. Warren Perry, Ph.D. *
Barbara R. Friz, M.S. *
(This report is an addendum to the Manpower Survey which appeared in the December 1969 issue of this publication. It represents the second and final part of that paper.)
Salaries In The Fields Of Prosthetics And Orthotics
Information relative to salaries in the fields of prosthetics and orthotics was reported on 1,183 of the 1,374 persons entered in the Manpower Survey.3 The item on annual salaries included in the questionnaire form was completed on 95 prosthetist-orthotists, 245 prosthetists, 217 orthotists, 235 prosthetic technicians, 216 orthotic technicians, 120 corsetieres, and 55 shoe specialists. Reported here are findings on salaries of 1,008 persons in the first five categories. A report of the survey on corsetieres and shoe specialists is found immediately following the salary data.
The figures in this study pertain to basic annual salaries. No attempt was made to obtain information on fringe benefits, bonuses, or other types of remuneration.
Table 1 presents the annual salaries of the five categories according to:
- The salary range in which the middle 50 percent of the group fell.
- The median salary.
- The mode.
As in other sections of this study, the similarity of the findings related to prosthetists and those related to orthotists is noteworthy. A similarity of findings is likewise manifested in the two technician groups.
Salaries were analyzed as above for two combined categories of personnel:
- prosthetists-orthotists, prosthetists and orthotists, and
- prosthetic technicians and orthotic technicians. (Table 2) The median salaries of these two combined groups are shown for each region in Table 3. The number in each salary range for the two groups, again according to region, are shown in Table 4 and Table 5.
Table 2 Table 3 Table 4 Table 5
Salary By Years In Field
In this survey, orthotists were the only group whose median salaries showed a continuous upward trend commensurate with the number of years in field (Fig. 1 ). Prosthetists' salaries started at the same level as those of the orthotists, rose more sharply following the first period, but declined earlier. (The last two periods are not significant because of the small sample.)
Salaries of prosthetist-orthotists showed increases up to the 20-29-year period, subsequently dropped, and then rose again to a second, although lesser, peak in the 40-49-year period.
Orthotic and prosthetic technicians started at approximately the same salary level, after which both levels showed a gradual upswing. (Fig. 2) The salary level of orthotic technicians showed a sharper rise than that of the prosthetic technicians after the first 9-year period and maintained a somewhat higher level most of the time. Both reached a peak in salary level in the 30-39-year period. (Again, the last periods are not significant.)
Salary Ranges By Educational Level
Although salary ranges were analyzed for each group according to educational level, this factor did not appear to affect salary level. When more graduates from degree courses enter the field, the effect of educational background will become clearer.
This brief report represents a first attempt to report salaries within the fields of prosthetics and orthotics. To obtain accurate and precise information on salaries is difficult. The economics situation constantly changes, the personnel picture fluctuates, and frequently a reluctance to divulge the proper information distorts the findings. In this survey, for instance, approximately 15 percent of the respondents failed to complete the question on salaries, and few did not enter precise figures.
This type of information serves a useful purpose, however, and health professions, as well as other professions, make a practice of periodically conducting a salary survey of their members. Professional associations are usually committed to promote the economic welfare of their membership, in which case such surveys are essential. This type of information is also needed to advise and perhaps guide employers in determining salary scales for employees. Finally, in the important business of recruiting students into the field, it is only fair that they should have available accurate information on salary scales within a particular field.
This study, in spite of certain shortcomings, does provide a general idea of salaries in prosthetics and orthotics and enables comparisons to be made with salaries in other health professions. It also provides a baseline with which future findings in this area may be compared.
It is recommended that a more sophisticated study be done for the purpose of more accurately documenting salaries, fringe benefits and miscellaneous remunerations. Distinction should be made between the gross income of the self-employed and the income of those employed on a salary basis. The effect of the educational level on salary should become more evident at a later date.
This paper reports findings related to salaries entered in the Manpower Survey. Salaries are analyzed for five categories, and the median salaries of these groups are correlated with The American Orthotic and Prosthetic Association regions and with the number of years in the field.
Corsetieres And Shoe Specialists
This paper will report the findings of the Manpower Survey* as they relate to corsetieres and shoe specialists. Two hundred and three facilities, institutions and military installations participated in the survey which was terminated January 31, 1969. Reported in the survey were 1,374 workers, 149 (10.8 percent) of whom were corsetieres and 62 (4.5 percent) shoe specialists. (Table 1 &2-table 1) All corsetieres except nine were female; all shoe specialists except one were male.
Estimated Personnel Needs
Estimates by survey respondees showed that the overall demand for personnel at the time of the study was somewhat greater for shoe specialists than for corsetieres. (Table 1 &2-table 2 and Table 3 ) A requirement of 21.3 percent increase in personnel was reflected for shoe specialists and 16.7 percent for corsetieres. In five years, according to estimates, the number of shoe specialists would have to be doubled and the number of corsetieres increased by 57.3 percent in order to meet personnel demands.
Regional samples are small, and no attempt is made to analyze the findings in this section. The reported figures are presented in Table 1 &2-table 2 and Table 3 as a matter of interest.
Years In Field
Seventy-three (49 percent) of the corsetieres reported in this studyhad less than ten years' experience in this type of work. (Fig. 1 ) Twenty-three (37 percent) shoe specialists had less than ten years' experience. The numbers in both categories diminished in inverse proportion to the number of years' experience. This pattern is similar to that of the prosthetic and orthotic technicians.
The median salary reported for shoe specialists was $6,000.00; for corsetieres, $4,900.00. The median salary for shoe specialists showed two relatively sharp rises, one after the first four-year period, the other following the 10-14 year period. (Fig. 2) The median salary for corsetieres peaked between 5 and 9 years' experience and showed little increase thereafter.
In this study, the level of median salaries for corsetieres was highest in the northeastern and western parts of the country. The regional samples were small, however, and generalizations should not be made on the basis of this study. The regional samples were even smaller for shoe specialists, and no analysis is attempted.
Seventy-three percent of both corsetieres and shoe specialists reported in this study were high school graduates. The remainder, in the corsetiere category, was equally divided between those having less than a high school education and those having more. Of the remaining 12 shoe specialists, two had an educational level above that of high school.
Over half of the respondees to the survey recommended a high school level of education for both corsetieres and shoe specialists. (Table 4 ) However, technical school was favored for shoe specialists by 45 percent of the re-spondees.
The effect of educational background on salary level cannot be discerned from the findings in this study.
Table 5 gives the median age, salary, years in field, and average education for the two groups.
Reported here are data related to 211 persons employed in two categories: corsetieres and shoe specialists. Manpower shortages, both current and projected, are also reported.
* J. Warren Perry and Barbara R. Friz: "Manpower Survey," Orthotics and Prosthetics, 23:207-226, December 1969.