Orthotics Prosthetics Canada (OPC) is the national credentialing and regulatory body for the orthotic and prosthetic profession in Canada. As such, one of its core functions is to establish the standards for the credentials offered including: Certified Orthotist CO(c); Certified Prosthetist CP(c); Registered Technician in Orthotics RTO(c); and, Registered Technician in Prosthetics RTP(c).
OPC’s mandate is to advance the profession in all aspects. As part of that mandate, OPC contracted consultants to prepare the report titled “National Education Standards for the Orthotic and Prosthetic Profession in Canada”. The report follows from a gathering of orthotic and prosthetic education stakeholders in May 2018, which involved all four of the current orthotic and prosthetic programs in Canada, to discuss the current and future state for orthotic and prosthetic education in Canada. It was recognized that OPC, in collaboration with its education stakeholders, needed to establish national education standard(s) for the profession as three education levels were evolving.
Education standards for orthotics and prosthetics are in a dynamic state throughout the world. The US has recently moved to the Master’s level as a pre-requisite to becoming certified. The International Society of Prosthetics and Orthotics recently published new education standards and the World Health Organization published “Standards for Orthotics and Prosthetics” at the end of 2018. The National Education Standards for the Orthotic and Prosthetic Profession in Canada report contains a set of recommendations with respect to Canadian O&P education standards. The report includes information about the education standards, competencies and program accreditation requirements of the UK, Australia, and the USA as well as the international standards approved by the WHO and ISPO, and makes the following recommendations for the Canadian profession:
- A Master’s entry-level credential should be implemented for orthotists and prosthetists.
- A plan should be developed and implemented with the aim of increasing the number of Orthotist/Prosthetist graduates and clinicians.
- A plan should be developed and implemented with the aim of increasing the number of Orthotic and Prosthetic Technician education programs.
- An Associate Orthotist/Prosthetist educational level should be established.
- Supporting documents should be produced for each of the educational levels established.