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Orthotist & Prosthetist

 What is an ABC Certified Practitioner?

An ABC certified orthotist and/or prosthetist is an allied health professional  specifically educated and trained to make and fit orthoses and prostheses and manage comprehensive orthotic and/or prosthetic patient care. As ABC practitioners, these individuals are certified to independently provide or supervise the provision of patient care.

ABC's Certified Orthotist an​d/or Prosthetist Scope of Practice details the specific functions of certified practitioners. This includes patient assessment, formulation of a treatment plan, implementation of a treatment plan, follow-up and practice management.  

Additionally, certified practitioners are required to support and conform to the ABC Code of Professional Responsibility which promotes and assures the overall welfare of the patient and the integrity of the profession.​

 Credentials

Candidates who have met the ABC requirements and passed all three certification exams will be awarded the Certified Orthotist (CO) or Certified Prosthetist (CP) credential. Candidates who have met the ABC requirements and passed all certification exams for both disciplines will be awarded the Certified Prosthetist Orthotist (CPO) credential​.

 International Recognition

​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.  

 ABC Student & Resident Awards

​​ABC has donated funds for two O&P young professional awards with the Orthotic and Prosthetic Education and Research Foundation (OPERF). 

The ABC Student Award for Academic Excellence will award $1,000 to ten exceptional O&P practitioner students each year. The funds are to cover educational expenses including tuition, lab and materials fees, books and/or computer time. For more details and to apply, visit the OPERF website​

​Application Deadline: October 1

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The ABC Resident Travel Award will award $2,500 to four current residents (or practitioners who completed their residency in the last three years) who wish to present their Directed Study report or project at the Academy Annual Meeting. For more details and to apply, visit the OPERF website.

​Application Deadline: August 1

 

 Eligibility

​Effective January 1, 2020, we will revise the eligibility criteria for the orthotist and prosthetist credentials to a master's degree in orthotics and prosthetics from a CAAHEP accredited educational program. Individuals who graduated from a CAAHEP-accredited bachelor's or certificate program and who have not completed their residency, you have until December 31, 2019, to complete your residency and submit a certification application to ABC. Please contact certification@abcop.org or call 703-836-7114 if you have any questions.

You must meet the following eligibility requirements to be eligible to take the ABC practitioner certification exams. Please refer to the ABC Practitioner Book of Rules and Candidate Guide ​for specific eligibility requirements.

Single Discipline Pathway (Education and Clinical Residency) 

Education

  • A bachelor's degree or higher in any major along with a post-graduate orthotics or prosthetics certificate from a CAAHEP accredited program or

  • A foreign degree equivalent to a bachelor's degree or higher in orthotics and prosthetics  or

  • A foreign degree equivalent to a bachelor's degree or higher in any major along with a post-graduate orthotics and prosthetics certificate from a CAAHEP accredited program

Clinical Residency

NEW Combined Discipline Written Examination Pathway

This pathway is for eligibility for the Combined Orthotic and Prosthetic Written Examination only.  Completion of an NCOPE acredited residency is required for eligibility for the Simulation and Clinical Patient Management (CPM) examinations.  For more information regarding this pathway, please visit our FAQ section. 

 Education

 Application

​Once you have met the education and clinical residency requirements, simply submit your application for approval as a candidate for the practitioner certification exams.  For more information regarding the application process, please refer to the ABC Practitioner Book of Rules & Candidate Guide.

How to Apply:  You must apply onlin​e and register for at least one of the three exams.  The exams may be taken in any order.  Please read the instructions carefully before proceeding to the next section in the application.​

Click here to apply under the single discipline pathway ​, which requires completion of an NCOPE accredited residency program.

Click here to apply for the new combined discipline written examination only, which requires completion of a masters degree.

Required Documentation:  The following documents may be uploaded to your account or emailed to certification@abcop.org 

  • Official bachelor's or master's degree transcript 

  • O&P program certificates (if applicable, include your official transcript/certificate from your O&P certificate program)

  • World Education Service (WES) credential evaluation (only applicable if you received your education in a foreign country.) 

Retaking an Exam or Registering for an Additional Exam:  You may register to either retake or sign up for an additional exam by using the online application.

 

 Exams

You are required to pass all three exams which evaluate your knowledge and clinical aptitude in orthotic and prosthetic practice. The exams are independent of one another and may be taken in any sequence. 

Exam Descriptions 

Written Multiple Choice Exam
The three-hour, 165 question, multiple choice exam assesses your knowledge of patient and practice management. Knowledge assessed on the written exam includes anatomy, physiology, biomechanics, kinesiology, disease process, pathologies, material science, ethics and professionalism.

Simulation Exam
The three-hour interactive exam uses seven simulated case scenarios to test your analytic and clinical problem solving skills. The cases include topics such as prescription criteria, device recommendation, technical implementation and follow-up protocols.

Combined O&P Written Multiple Choice Exam
The three and a half hour, 200 question, multiple choice exam assesses your knowledge of patient management. Knowledge assessed on the exam includes anatomy, physiology, biomechanics, kinesiology, disease process, pathologies, prescription criteria, material science, ethics and professionalism.

Clinical Patient Management (CPM) Exam
There are three hands-on practical assessments​ of your knowledge and skills through direct examiner and patient model interaction in a clinical environment. You 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.   

Exam Format and Availability 

Written and Simulation Exams
The written and simulation exams are given using computer-based testing (CBT). The written and simulation exams are offered every other month at over 300 locations nationwide. Please click​ ​h​ere for a list of testing locations in your area.

Click to view Prometric's ​​What to Expect on Test Day​ video​.​​​

CPM Exam
The CPM hands-on practical exam is offered three times at the ABC Testing Center in Tampa, FL.

Examination Preparation
ABC has created numerous resources to help you prepare for your ABC practitioner certification exams. Please click here to access these resources​.​

 Fees & Dates

Fees:  The following fees are required for each discipline 

Single Discipline Pathway

​Fee
​Application (non-refundable)*​$250
​Written Exam​$250
​Simulation Exam​$250
​Clinical Patient Management Exam​$700
​Late Fee**​$75
 
*The application fee is  a one-time fee required once per discipline. 
 
**Applications submitted after the application deadline for the applicable exam cycle will be subjected to the late fee.

Combined Discipline Written Examination Pathway

​Fee
​Initial Application*​$250
​Combined O&P Written Exam​$300
​Application 2 (Orthotics or Prosthetics)*​$100
​Simulation Exam (Orthotics or Prosthetics)​$300
​CPM Exam (Orthotics or Prosthetics)​$775
​Application 3 (Orthotics or Prosthetics)*​$100
​​Simulation Exam (Orthotics or Prosthetics)​$300
​CPM Exam (Orthotics or Prosthetics)​$775
​Late Fee**​$75
 
*The application fees are non refundable
 
**Applications submitted after the application deadline for the applicable exam cycle will be subjected to the late fee, which is non refundable.

Annual Fee (required once certification is awarded): $275

Written a​nd Simulation Exam Dates and Deadlines

​Exam Cycle​​​​ Application Deadline ​Residency Deadline
October 7-12, 2019 August 1, 2019 September 1, 2019
December 9-14, 2019 October 1, 2019 ​November 1, 2019
February 10-15, 2020 December 1, 2019 January 1, 2020
April 6-11, 2020February 1, 2020​March 1, 2020
​June 8-13, 2020​April 1, 2020May 1, 2020
August 3-8, 2020June 1, 2020​November 1, 2020​​​

Exam Locations: The exams are offered at over 300 ​locations nationwide. Please click here for a list of testing locations in your area.

Clinical Patient Management (CPM) Exam Dates and Deadlines

Winter Exam Dates ​Application Deadline ​Residency Deadline
Orthotics: January 10-11, 2020 November 1, 2019 December 1, 2019
​​Prosthetics: January 24-25, 2020 November 1, 2019 ​December 1, 2019
​Spring Exam DatesApplication Deadline​Residency Deadline
Orthotics:  May 15-16, 2020March 1, 2020April 1, 2020
Prosthetics:  May 29-30, 2020March 1, 2020April 1, 2020
​Fall Exam Dates​Application Deadline​Residency Deadline
Orthotics: ​September 25-26, 2020July 1, 2020​August 1, 2020
Prosthetics: ​October 9-10, 2020​July 1, 2020​August 1, 2020​

Exam Location:  The CPM exams will be held at the ABC Testing Center in Tampa, FL.

 FAQs

My residency end date is after the residency deadline for my desired exam cycle. Am I still eligible for that cycle?
No, your re​​sidency end date must be on or before the residency deadline for your desired exam cycle.

What fees do I submit with my application?
The application and exam fees are due when you submit your application. Please note that the application fee is non-refundable.
 

I am an 18-month resident, do I submit an application fee for each credential?
Yes, application fees are required for each discipline. You must also submit two separate applications if you are applying for orthotics and prosthetics at the same time.
 

I am extending my credential, do I submit an application fee again?
Yes, the application and exam fees for the second credential are due when you apply.

What documents do I submit with my application?
Please include the following:

  • Official baccalaureate or higher degree transcript. If you are applying for both disciplines at the same time, we only require one set of transcripts.
  • O&P program certificates or transcripts, if applicable. 

I am extending my credential, do I have to submit my transcripts again?
No, ABC will reference your previous application if it was submitted within the last seven years. You are required to submit a copy of your program certificate, if applicable.

I obtained my education outside of the United States. What documents do I need to submit?
Please submit a credential evaluation from the World Education Service (WES).

When will ABC notify me of my application status?
You will receive notification of your eligibility status within four weeks of receipt of your application. This notification will be sent directly to you via email as well as mailed to your home address. You can also check your application status by logging in to your My ABC account. You should have received login information from NCOPE at the completion of  your residency. If you have lost your login information, please contact Roxanne Bobb-Semple at (703) 836-7114 ext. 238 or rbobbsemple@abcop.org.

Once my application is accepted, how do I register for the exam?
ABC will send you an email with information on how to register for a specific time, date and location with Prometric, our testing provider.

Are there exam prep materials available?
Yes, practitioner exam prep materials are available, including a test content outline, practice analysis of the O&P profession, exam references and a recommended reading list. In addition, there are sample written exam questions and information on available exam review courses (provided independently of ABC).

What if I can’t find a testing center close to me?
Unfortunately, availability at the testing centers is on a first come, first served basis with limited seating. If you are having difficulty finding a location close to you, please contact us at 703-836-7114 ext. 221 or at certification@abcop.org.

What if I can’t make it to the exam?
You are provided a thirty day cancellation period without incurring a penalty. If you cancel in less than thirty days, you will need to pay a $50 fee.

When will I receive my exam results?
For the written and written simulation exams, you will receive an immediate preliminary score report on screen when you finish your exam. Your official score report will be provided in four weeks.

CPM exam results are available in approximately four weeks.

If I fail my exam, when can I re-take it?
You may immediately register for the next available exam cycle.

How many times can I take the exam?
When your initial application is approved, you are provided with a three year eligibility window in which you are allowed four attempts at the exam.

What happens if I've taken the exam more than four times?
If you have failed the exam more than four times or if your eligibility period has expired, you are required to reapply for eligibility. Please reference the ABC Practitioner Book of Rules and Candidate Guide for more information.

If I have applied for more than one discipline during an exam cycle, can I take all of my exams during the same day and/or cycle?
Yes, you are able to take more than one exam during the same day, space and time permitting.

If I passed all of my exams, when will I receive my certificate?
Certificates are mailed six weeks after the conclusion of the exam cycle.

What do I do to maintain my certification?
After obtaining certification, you are awarded a five-year certification cycle in which you must accrue continuing education credits and submit an annual fee. Click here ​for information on practitioner continuing education credit requirements.

How much is my annual fee and when is it due?
Your annual fee is $275 and is due by December 1st every year. Your first year fee will be prorated.   ​​​

NEW ​Combined Discipine Written Examination Pathway

 

Is the combined discipline exam a combination of the current single discipline written exams?

No, the combined discipline exam is a new exam with its own test specifications. The single discipline exams are designed for a candidate who has completed an NCOPE residency in the relevant discipline. The combined discipline exam is designed for a candidate who has just graduated from a CAAHEP accredited master’s program.
 
How do I know if I am eligible for this pathway?
Graduates with a master’s degree in orthotics and prosthetics from a CAAHEP accredited program are eligible to apply under this pathway.

 
Is completion of an NCOPE accredited residency program required to apply under this pathway?
No, completion of an NCOPE accredited residency program is not required.  You may apply for the combined discipline written exam only immediately after graduation by the application deadline for your desired exam cycle.
 
Am I eligible if I am already enrolled in an NCOPE accredited residency program and have yet to complete it?
Yes, you are eligible if you possess a master’s degree in orthotics and prosthetics from a CAAHEP accredited program.
 
Can I apply under this pathway if I have a master’s degree in orthotics and prosthetics and also completed an NCOPE accredited residency program?
Yes, you may apply under this pathway if you are ultimately seeking dual disciplined certification as a practitioner.  Please be aware that additional application and exam fees will be required to apply for the simulation and CPM exams, per discipline.
 
What documents do I submit with my application?
You must submit your official master’s degree transcript from a CAAHEP accredited program.
 
Do I have to submit my transcript at the time of my application submission?
If you do not have your transcripts when you submit your application, you may upload your transcript directly to your “My ABC” account or email it directly to ABC at certification@abcop.org at a later date.  ABC provides a grace period of up to thirty days after the posted application deadline to submit your transcript.  However, failure to submit your transcript by the extended deadline will result in a denial of your application.
 
What fees do I submit with my application?
The application and exam fees are due when you submit your application.  Please note that the application fee is non-refundable. Please be aware that additional application and exam fees will be required to apply for the simulation and CPM exams, per discipline.

 
How can I find out what content will be on the combined discipline written exam?
The Combined O&P Written Test Content Outline provides information on the exam.
 
How do I know what the examination dates are/when the exam is offered?
Please click here for available examination dates and application deadlines.
 
What if I take the combined discipline exam and fail it?  Can I decide to take the single discipline exams in the future?
You may apply to take the single discipline exams in the future once the eligibility requirements are met.  Please be aware that additional application and examination fees will be required.
 
How many times can I attempt the exam?
Once your application is approved, you are provided with a three-year eligibility window to pass the exam.  You may not attempt the exam no more than four times within your current eligibility window.
 
When do I apply for the other exams?
You may apply for the simulation and/or CPM exams once you have completed the NCOPE accredited residency program for that discipline.  Please be aware that additional application and exam fees will be required to apply for the simulation and CPM exams, per discipline.  You will also receive a new eligibility period for these exams.