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BOC Launches First Specialty: Board Certified Specialist in Orthopedics Credential

The BOC’s first-ever board-certified specialty credential, the Board Certified Specialist in Orthopedics (BCS-O), exam launched this fall and is a step forward in elevating the role and level of recognition of Athletic Trainers (ATs) within health care.

The inaugural administration of the BOC Orthopedic Specialty exam takes place between Oct. 15 and 24, 2021. Initial applicants to take the exam include ATs representing varied practice settings, with knowledge and skills focused in orthopedics.

The “BOC Orthopedic Practice Analysis” (OPA) defines the domains (medical knowledge, procedural knowledge, professional practice) and task statements that are assessed on the Orthopedic Specialty Exam. The knowledge and skills required of each domain and task statement can be found in the full OPA. The exam contains a combination of 125 scored and unscored (experimental) items, with no practical component.

To maintain the credential, BCS-O credential holders must comply with Continuing Specialty Certification requirements found here and activities must align with the OPA. Continuing Specialty Certification opportunities will be searchable in the BOC program directory

The launch of BOC Specialties, and specifically, the orthopedic specialty, has been more than a decade in the making. Many steps of research and development, combined with a large number of volunteer hours, went into the creation of this exciting advancement for the athletic training profession.

BOC specialty certification is a voluntary process by which an AT earns formal recognition of their advanced education and experience within a specialized area of clinical practice.

Specialty certification identifies ATs who have clinical practice abilities beyond the ATC® credential. These abilities will be identified via demonstration of post-professional education and training (e.g., CAATE-accredited residency and/or employment experience), and passage of a specialty certification exam. The specialty certification demonstrates an ability to enhance quality of patient care, optimize clinical outcomes, increase cost-effectiveness, provide value-based care, and improve patients’ health-related quality of life within a specialized area of athletic training practice.

Benefits of Specialty Certification:

  1. Quantifies an advanced level of skills and knowledge in a specific area of practice
  2. Improves quality of care
  3. Enhances clinical outcomes
  4. Improves patient’s quality of life

With ATs practicing their craft more and more in focused areas of practice that require specialized knowledge and skills, it only makes sense to follow the specialist paradigm created by other health care professions. That’s why the orthopedic specialty is only the beginning. We look forward to many more specialties to emerge in the coming years.

For more information on BOC Specialties and the BCS-O, visit the BOC website.

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