BOC Explains New Education Standards in Open Letter

In an open letter to the Board of Certification/Accreditation International’s (BOC) certificants, accredited facilities and other key stakeholders, Sharon Nichelson, COF, CMF, chairwoman of BOC’s board of directors and Claudia Zacharias, MBA, CAE, president and chief executive officer, emphasized the organization’s continuing commitment to what has become 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 O&P professions, the agreement was a consensus regarding the minimum standards necessary for education and training of providers of custom orthotics and prosthetics.

“The most frequent question we’ve been getting this year from practitioners is, ‘Will the new requirements as of Jan. 1, 2013 affect current BOC practitioners?” Nichelson and Zacharias, stated in the open letter. “The answer to that is that a practitioner who is a BOC orthotist and/or prosthetist prior to this date and who remains in good standing will not need to fulfill the 2013 requirement. This grand-fathering is a standard practice in any profession when requirements change.”

The other concern that is frequently shared comes from board-eligible orthotists and prosthetists asking if the requirements will be changed for those already in the pipeline.

“The reason the agreement allowed for a 4-year implementation process was so prospective certificants who were preparing to earn certification would not be penalized by changing minimum requirements,” according to the letter. “Candidates who complete the current eligibility requirements and submit their applications as of Dec. 31, 2012, will proceed under the requirements that were in effect on the date of application. Any candidates who apply after Jan. 1, 2013 will need to be in full compliance with the new standards.”

The new standards will require a minimum of a bachelor’s degree. Candidates must earn the bachelor’s degree at an institution accredited by Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Programs (CAAHEP) or earn the degree and then complete a certificate in orthotics and/or prosthetics at a CAAHEP-accredited educational institution.

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