An ABC certified orthotist and/or prosthetist is a healthcare professional who is specifically educated and trained to manage comprehensive orthotic and/or prosthetic patient care. This includes patient assessment, formulation of a treatment plan, implementation of the treatment plan, follow-up and practice management. ABC’s Certified Orthotist, Certified Prosthetist and Certified Prosthetist/Orthotist credentialing programs are accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA.) The International Society for Prosthetics and Orthotics (ISPO) has awarded ABC and the National Commission on Orthotic and Prosthetic Education (NCOPE) Category I recognition. The Category I recognition validates the ABC/NCOPE pathway for its Certified Prosthetist Orthotist certification program. With this recognition the ABC/NCOPE CPO pathway is recognized throughout the world as having met the highest international educational standards in existence today. ABC is the only credentialing body in the United States to receive Category I recognition from ISPO. As the individual responsible for all patient care, the certified practitioner independently provides or supervises the provision of comprehensive orthotic and/or prosthetic care. ABC's Certified Orthotist and/or Prosthetist Scope of Practice document details the specific capacity the certified individual can practice. This includes patient assessment, formulation of a treatment plan, implementation of a treatment plan, follow-up and practice management. Additionally, the certified prosthetist and/or orthotist is obligated to support and conform to the Code of Professional Responsibility which promotes and assures the overall welfare of the patient and the integrity of the profession.
To be eligible to take the ABC certification exams, orthotic and prosthetic practitioners must meet the specific education and clinical residency requirements established by ABC. Applicants must successfully complete:
A bachelor's degree or higher in orthotics and prosthetics from a Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) accredited program
A bachelor's degree or higher in any major along with a post-graduate orthotics or prosthetics certificate from a CAAHEP accredited program
An NCOPE accredited residency program
Applicants with a foreign orthotic and prosthetic education should refer to the Practitioner Book of Rules & Candidate Guide for specific eligibility and documentation requirements.
Applicants for practitioner certification who have been evaluated and deemed to have satisfied all eligibility requirements are assigned a “candidate” status. The candidate is given a three year eligibility period in which to take and pass all three examinations. The candidate is limited to four attempts at each exam within their eligibility period. After receiving a candidate status, applicants will choose the date and location for their exam.
ABC conducted a Practice Analysis of Certified Practitioners in the Disciplines of Orthotics and Prosthetics which identified performance domains for both orthotists and prosthetists. Within each domain, several identified tasks provide the basis for questions in the examination. The five domains of practice as well as specific tasks, knowledge and skill statements were identified and are used to construct the practitioner examinations.
The five domains of practice are:
Formulation of the Treatment Plan
Implementation of the Treatment Plan
Follow-up Treatment Plan
Candidates are required to successfully pass three examinations that are designed to evaluate their knowledge and clinical aptitude in orthotic and prosthetic practice. The three examinations are independent of one another and may be taken in any sequence.
Written Multiple Choice Examination: a three hour, multiple choice examination that assesses the candidate's knowledge of patient and practice management. Knowledge assessed on the written examinations includes anatomy, physiology, biomechanics, kinesiology, disease process, pathologies, material science, ethics and professionalism.
Written Simulation Examination: a three hour interactive exam that uses seven simulated case scenarios to test the candidate's analytic and clinical problem solving skills. The cases will include topics such as prescription criteria, device recommendation, technical implementation and follow-up protocols.
The written and written simulation examinations are held via computer-based testing (CBT). Computer-based testing is a method of administering tests in which the responses are electronically recorded. Computer-based testing makes use of a computer instead of a pen and paper exam.
Clinical Patient Management Practical Examination: a hands-on practical examination of knowledge and skills assessed through direct examiner and patient model interaction in a clinical environment. The candidate must perform specific tasks while demonstrating and describing the orthotic or prosthetic recommendation, fitting criteria, patient instructions and follow-up plans involved in the provision of care.
Individuals who have met the educational and residency requirements may submit an application for approval as a candidate for certification.
The process for applying:
1) Apply Online (for first-time applicants with an already completed NCOPE residency or retake candidates)
For first time applicants, please fill out and mail/fax the application form for first-time applicants. For those candidates who need to retake an examination, please register for the exam using the exam retake registration form.
2) Enclose the required documentation with your completed application:
Official baccalaureate or higher degree transcripts
O&P Program Certificates: If applicable, official transcripts/certificate from orthotic and/or prosthetic certificate program
Applicants with a foreign education should refer to the Practitioner Book of Rules for specific eligibility and documentation requirements
3) Register for the examination(s). Registration for at least one of the three examinations must be submitted with the application
4) Submit the application to: ABC P.O. Box 34862 Alexandria, VA 22334-0862
Please note overnight services such as UPS and FedEx do not deliver to P.O. Boxes.
Please refer to the Practitioner Book of Rules & Candidate Guide for additional information.
Practitioner Residency Completion Deadline
*The exams are offered every other month at 250 locations nationwide. For a list of testing location in your area, please click here for Available Testing Locations.
*Candidates test one day only. The winter 2013 CPM exams will be held in St. Petersburg, FL at the St. Petersburg College Caruth Health Education Center.
Practitioners who successfully complete the education, experience and examination requirements prescribed by ABC for practitioner certification are conferred the credentials of Certified Orthotist (CO), or Certified Prosthetist (CP).
The credential of Certified Orthotist/Prosthetist (CPO) is conferred upon practitioners whose responsibilities conform to both those of orthotist and prosthetist and who successfully fulfill all of the requirements in both disciplines.
If you have questions or need more information about ABC Certification, contact
Samlane KetevongManager, Credentialing Programssketevong@abcop.org(703) 836-7114 x 221
May PhoummithoneCertification Program Assistantmayp@abcop.org(703) 836-7114 x 229