The first step for any new emerging program is for the program to apply for the candidate status. NCOPE has in place the Candidacy Policy Program. The purpose for the candidacy program is to help assure that institutions develop O&P education programs with adequate planning and the necessary resources (e.g., leadership, faculty, physical plant and budget). This program allows developing O&P programs the opportunity to establish a formal and publicly recognized relationship with NCOPE. Candidate for Accreditation once granted is not an accreditation status and therefore students graduating under candidacy would not be graduating from an accredited program and would not be accepted by the American Board for Certification in Orthotics, Prosthetics and Pedorthics.
The basic steps are as follows:
- Submission of an application for candidate status (ACS) no later than ten months prior to the planned enrollment of the first class of students in the professional or technical phase of the program with a check for $2,000 made out to NCOPE.
- Submission of a Candidacy Self-Study Report to NCOPE
- Staff and committee review the application
- Written report regarding the program's progress towards compliance with the Standards, judgments concerning institutional readiness to start the proposed program and suggestions related to the findings with respect to the Standards is provided
- If no additional information is required and a new or revised application is not needed then a one day Candidate visit is coordinated
- Site visit report from the Candidacy Visit is prepared and provided to the NCOPE board of directors for review and decision
- Granting of Candidate for Accreditation status must occur prior to the enrollment of students in the program
- The attainment of Candidate for Accreditation status is required for the program to proceed with the accreditation process
- Definition of Candidate for Accreditation:
- Candidate for Accreditation is a status that indicates that the orthotic and prosthetic education program is progressing toward formal accreditation. Attainment of Candidate for Accreditation status does not assure accreditation by NCOPE/CAAHEP. The purpose is to help assure that the institution develops an O&P program with adequate planning and with the necessary resources (e.g., leadership, faculty, physical plant, budget, clinical education sites).