The Board of Certification/Accreditation (BOC) changed the prerequisites to become a certified orthotist or prosthetist, beginning January 1, 2013. They now require graduation from an education program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) followed by a residency approved by the National Commission on Orthotic and Prosthetic Education (NCOPE).
The new educational requirements were established during what has come to be known as the Historic Agreement, signed in 2008 by the leaders of five of the national organizations representing the clinical, business, and quality improvement aspects of the orthotic and prosthetic (O&P) professions. These five organizations now comprise the O&P Alliance and include, along with BOC: American Academy of Orthotics and Prosthetics (AAOP); American Board for Certification in Orthotics, Prosthetics, and Pedorthics (ABC); American Orthotic and Prosthetic Association (AOPA); and National Association for the Advancement of Orthotics and Prosthetics (NAAOP).
Even though the NCOPE residency requirement was not a part of the original agreement, BOC considered the addition important. John Kenney, MURP, BOCO, BOC Board Chair, was a member of the committee that negotiated the Historic Agreement on behalf of BOC. He noted, “There were those who doubted BOC would raise its O&P eligibility requirements, but we always intended to fulfill the agreement on time and go above and beyond what we committed to do.”
In addition to updating its standards, BOC has continued to make the process more customer-centric. BOC certification exams are offered year-round at testing locations across the country and results are provided instantly. Furthermore, BOC O&P certification candidates have the option to take their exams during their residency, while their test-taking skills are fresh, and begin practicing immediately following their residency programs.
“We want BOC Orthotists and Prosthetists to have the option to begin practicing soon after they complete their residency,” said Jan paul Miller, MA, MEd, BOC Director of Certification. “This benefits the practitioner, the facility where he or she works, and the patients they serve.”
To become a BOC-Certified Orthotist or Prosthetist, candidates pass three exams: a multiple-choice exam, a clinical-simulation exam, and a media-based practical exam. The media-based practical exam is designed to test a candidate’s competence to perform the basic tasks of an orthotist or prosthetist. BOC is unique in offering candidates the ability to complete this part of the exam series from their own facility or residency site without having to bear the travel expenses to take the practical exam in person.
Since 1984, the Board of Certification/Accreditation (BOC) has provided credentials demonstrating the competence and proficiency of O&P and DME professionals. BOC offers NCCA-accredited certification programs in five O&P disciplines: orthotics, prosthetics, pedorthics, orthotic fitting, and mastectomy fitting. BOC partners with suppliers of Durable Medical Equipment, Prosthetics, Orthotics, and Supplies(DMEPOS), offering accreditation that evidences compliance with standards set by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). BOC also offers the Certified DME Specialist™ (CDME™) certification for DMEPOS facility personnel. Learn more at www.bocusa.org.