Accreditation is a system of recognizing educational institutions and professional programs that meet the minimum standards in preparing students for practice. Primary education is and continues to be responsive to current clinical practice.
The O&P accreditation system provides for public confidence in the integrity and quality of O&P education and residency programs by ensuring that education remains fundamentally sound, responsible, responsive and effective
Benefits of Accreditation
NCOPE's accreditation process is a valuable service to students, the education and residency programs, the profession, and the public. These benefits include:
- Students are able to identify those O&P educational and residency programs that meet their chosen profession's standards for a quality, relevant education. Graduation from an accredited program is required for certification.
- Educational Programs benefit from the self-evaluation and self-directed improvement provided by the accreditation process. Accreditation status increases opportunities for public and private funding for both the institution and its students.
- Residency Programs contribute to the continuing education of future O&P professionals. These programs provide students with a 12-month per discipline or a combined 18-month, structured experience by complying with established standards and guidelines. Completion of an accredited residency program is required for certification.
- The profession benefits from its members' vital input into the standards established for education of entry-level O&P professionals. A commitment to excellence in O&P practice is reinforced since the accreditation process unites practitioners, instructors and students in an activity directed toward continual improvement of O&P education.
- The public is assured that accredited O&P education and residency programs are evaluated extensively and conform to general expectations of the O&P profession. Through the accreditation process the public can be assured the educational quality of the programs remains current and reflects changes in O&P knowledge and practice. This assurance is important to the patients who use O&P services and their families.