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BCS-O Credential – Results, Recognition and Rewards


The first-ever board-certified specialty credential, the Board Certified Specialist in Orthopedics (BCS-O) was launched by the BOC late last year in a step toward elevating the role and level of recognition of Athletic Trainers (ATs) within health care. The BCS-O is a credential available to ATs who have acquired specialized education and focused experience in orthopedics beyond the requirements for the ATC® credential.

An initial group of 26 ATs with knowledge and skills focused in orthopedics, earned the BCS-O following the initial exam administration in October 2021. Five additional ATs earned the BCS-O during the most recent February 2022 exam. To date, there are several ATs in the pipeline for future exams, which will now take place bi-annually in August and February. Feedback received from the initial BCS-O cohort, as well as employers, demonstrates the value these new credential holders are already seeing.

The BOC continues to reach out to those in the profession whose education and experience align with this advanced credential and are proactively promoting the value of the BCS-O and the ATC® credentials to employers and potential employers of ATs. Over time current and potential employers, as well as co-workers, will develop an increased understanding of the unique value ATs bring and where they fit into the health care ecosystem.

Support to new BCS-O credential holders is being provided by the BOC through a specialty toolkit with marketing materials such as flyers, social media posts and a press release to assist ATs in promoting this achievement to employers, colleagues and the public. The BOC is connecting with employers directly and through ATs with messages around value of the credential, as well as return on investment.

In addition to ongoing promotions of the Orthopedic Specialty, the BOC is engaging directly with the first two groups of BCS-O credential holders. Through touch-point communications and surveys, we are drawing qualitative data and statistics to measure trends related to their personal situations. Drawing on their experiences, our goal is to educate other ATs on the value-add a specialty credential can bring.

The latest information on orthopedic specialty certification, eligibility requirements, exam deadlines and exam preparation tools are available by visiting the Orthopedic Specialty section of the BOC website. In addition, you can opt-in to receive updates on specialties through your preferences in your BOC profile.

This article was originally published in the 2022 summer “Cert Update” newsletter.

Chris Servian Nicholas Avallone
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