Our History

ABC was established on September 9, 1948. Its founding fathers determined that instead of being referred to as 'fitters', certified individuals would be designated Certified Orthotists and Certified Prosthetists and a competency exam would be required to attain certification. 


ABC is founded September 1948 as the American Board for Certification of the Orthotic and Prosthetic Appliance Industry by O&P Practitioners Chester C. Haddan, CPO,  J. Blaine Korrady, Lee J. Fawver, CPO and David E. Stolpe, CPO. This is the beginning of a long history of excellence in the orthotics and prosthetics profession.


The first ABC certification exam is administered in New York City in 1951. In that first year, 51 individuals attain their certification. 


The ABC Board votes to drop the term appliance industry from its original name and adopt the name American Board for Certification in Orthotics & Prosthetics, Inc.


The ABC Character and Fitness Committee (now Professional Ethics Committee) is created to review practitioner ethical misconduct and oversee a consumer complaint process.


Realizing the need for additional continuing education options, ABC and the American Orthotic & Prosthetic Association (AOPA)​  sponsor the establishment of the American Academy of Orthotists and Prosthetists (AAOP).


ABC creates both the Educational Accreditation Commission (EAC) to develop O&P programs with colleges and universities and the Continuing Education Policy Committee to establish continuing education requirements for all ABC certified practitioners, phasing these requirements in over the next decade. 


Following three years of debate, the ABC Board approves a historic change in certification eligibility criteria, determining that candidates must possess a minimum of an Associate of the Arts degree in orthotics and/or prosthetics to be eligible for the ABC certification exams. 


Michael A. Lewis, CPO is elected ABC Board of Directors President, the organizations first Black president.  


ABC raises the minimum educational standard to a bachelor’s degree. 


The Facility Accreditation program is revamped to further improve the standards. New standards are developed and an onsite survey becomes mandatory. 


ABC’s responsibility for overseeing primary O&P education is passed on to the newly created National Commission on Orthotic and Prosthetic Education (NCOPE).


ABC begins requiring an NCOPE residency to obtain certification as an orthotist and/or prosthetist.


The ABC Board unanimously votes to create orthotic and mastectomy fitter credentialing programs.


ABC creates OandPCare.org website as a public service and resource for patients, caregivers and the public at large.


ABC adds the therapeutic shoe fitter credentialing program for providers of non-custom diabetic footwear and inserts.


On January 1, the Board for Certification in Pedorthics (BCP) is integrated into ABC. This integration brings along a new name, the American Board for Certification in Orthotics, Prosthetics & Pedorthics, Inc., and more than 2,500 certified pedorthists.


ABC fulfills CMS mandatory accreditation deadline for all post-mastectomy, durable medical equipment and pedorthic facilities.


The International Society for Prosthetics and Orthotics (ISPO) awards ABC and NCOPE Category I recognition, the highest international education standard. ABC is still the only credentialing body in the U.S. to receive Category I recognition from ISPO.


With ABC’s support, NCOPE revises the orthotic and prosthetic education standards, raising the minimum education level for the profession to a master’s degree in both Orthotics and Prosthetics.


ABC establishes a Central Fabrication Accreditation program to ensure that the entire continuum of care is represented by ABC accreditation programs.


ABC introduces Digital Badges as the newest method for credential holders to communicate their achievements and capability on social media, emails, websites and electronic resumes.


Grand Opening of new CPM Testing Center in Tampa, FL


ABC elects Deborah M. Plescia, CPO, as the first female President of the Board of Directors.


ABC updates its logo to reflect a current and modern profession.

"The new logo provides a fresh look for a 70-year-old standard bearer. It represents our ability to embrace the need for change while still honoring the past.” - Deborah M. Plescia, CPO, 2018 Board President.


ABC Combines the practitioner written exam to cover both orthotics and prosthetics.


ABC Launches WhatisPOP Career Awareness Initiative.

Learn More About ABC

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