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Future Student FAQ

What is the career outlook for the O&P profession?

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has identified growth for orthotist/prosthetist positions with faster than average anticipated growth: 

What is a typical O&P program duration?

Orthotist/Prosthetist programs operate anywhere from 18 to 30 months on overall length.  O&P technician programs can often be completed in 12 months.

How many seats does each program have?

Program size is variable for all CAAHEP accredited O&P schools ranging from as few as 12 seats to as many as 48 seats for the largest practitioner program in the country.  To learn about the number of students admitted to each class, please reach out to the individual school that you are applying.  

Do I need experience in order to apply for school?

Gaining experience in the profession is encouraged regardless of the admission requirements for each accredited program.  To learn about whether experience is required for admission, please reach out to the individual program you wish to apply to.

Some resources that a future student might find helpful for finding clinics or professionals in their area are:

The above hyperlinks are to sites external to NCOPE and any information provided is verified by the organization posting the information.

What are the prerequisites for admission to a program?

Prerequisites vary by program.  Please contact the individual programs you are interested in to learn about their specific prerequisites.  

Can any of the programs be completed via distance learning or completely online?

The hands-on nature of the profession and need to develop interpersonal skill sets prevents O&P or pedorthic programs from being delivered completely using a distance learning format.  Some orthotist/prosthetist programs do integrate blended learning (hybrid) methodologies where the students are able to complete a portion of the coursework remotely, but all programs require students to physically relocate to the metropolitan area where the program is housed a minimum of 2 semesters or 3 academic quarters.  

Do any programs have the ability to grant credit for previous work experience or related credentials?

While many individuals who are already credentialed within the profession (such as certified fitters of orthoses) or related professions (such as physical therapy) find experience beneficial, it is important that the individual complete all of the academic and other required aspects of a CAAHEP accredited program to ensure they have the same level of preparation and rigorous assessment as all other program graduates.

Is financial aid available to attend a CAAHEP accredited school?

In many cases, financial aid is available via the institution where the program is housed.  Please contact the individual program for additional details.  

Does NCOPE offer scholarships to individuals wishing to attend a CAAHEP accredited school?

NCOPE does not offer academic scholarships as their primary role is educational accreditation. Scholarships are offered by professional organizations such as The Orthotics and Prosthetics Foundation or directly by the academic institutions where the program is housed.

Are there presently any pathways that would allow me to become an orthotist/prosthetist by completing a bachelors degree or a post-baccalaureate certificate?

All CAAHEP accredited orthotist/prosthetist programs currently operate at the master’s degree level.  Furthermore, NCOPE residency and eligibility for the ABC Practitioner Exam all require completion of an entry-level master’s degree.

Is there a specific degree I should seek prior to applying for a master's degree level orthotist/prosthetist program?

All programs accept applications from persons with a wide variety of undergraduate degree backgrounds including exercise science or engineering.  It is not uncommon to have persons with degrees in psychology, business, education, or even fine arts enroll in the programs so long as they have completely the necessary prerequisites.  To learn about the best pathways to enroll in an orthotist/prosthetist program, reach out to your academic adviser at your undergraduate institution or the admissions to at the specific programs you with to apply to.

Is the GRE required for admission to orthotist/prosthetist programs?

Some Master’s level orthotist/prosthetist programs require the GRE for admissions, but not all.  Please contact the individual program for additional details.  

Is O&P Residency required to become a credentialed orthotist/prosthetist?

In order to become certified via the American Board for Certification or licensed in most states, O&P residency is a requirement  In most cases O&P residency is completed after an entry-level master’s degree program and it is a paid position.  Some schools to integrate the O&P residency into their curriculum, for example the Baylor College of Medicine, where students complete their residency while paying tuition via a structured set of clinical experiences.  

Where is the information regarding Ph.D/D.Sc programs?

NCOPE/CAAHEP does not accredit post-professional degree programs as there are no entry-level clinical doctorate programs.  Often post-professional doctoral degree programs are not specific to orthotics and prosthetics, but broader areas of study such as biomechanics, rehabilitation sciences, or biomedical engineering.  To learn about these opportunities, please directly visit the academic institution of interest to learn about what post-professional degrees they may offer.