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Orthopedic Specialty Certification: Expansion of the Athletic Training Profession

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The BOC is excited to launch the Orthopedic Specialty certification this year, the profession’s first board-certified specialty credential. This release will provide credible recognition for Athletic Trainers (ATs) who provide specialized care in orthopedics and elevate the perception of athletic training within the health care community.

Introduction of this first specialty is part of a bigger strategy to advance the profession. The launch of specialty certification from the BOC is part of a continuing effort to build a pathway to improved working conditions, compensation, advancement, elevation, differentiation, respect and inclusion for ATs in the health care community. For ATs, this means a viable, long-term career filled with opportunities to distinguish themselves in the delivery of patient care earning recognition and respect for the experience, focus and skills they demonstrate.

As we prepare for the specialty launch, we are finalizing many structural details of the orthopedic board-certified specialty credential, as well as informational communications to all ATs. In addition, we will be providing messaging/marketing to current and future employers, and to the health care community, at large, articulating the value of this new board-certified orthopedic specialty credential. The BOC is collaborating with the National Athletic Trainers’ Association in these promotional efforts to align messaging and maximize reach.

Here is the latest update of ongoing development:

  • The Orthopedic Practice Analysis (OPA) Content Outline including the exam domain weighting, and full OPA is now posted in the Orthopedic Specialty section of the BOC website. The full OPA is available for purchase.
  • In spring, the applicant handbook, as well as finalized eligibility and recertification requirements, will be released. The Specialty Council and Standards Committee collaborated to create the eligibility and recertification requirements, supported by a public comment survey in November 2020.
  • BOC orthopedic exam item writers continue developing and validating the item bank for launch.
  • We are planning for a September 2021 initial administration of the orthopedic board-certified specialty exam, which will be supported earlier in the summer by the addition of the Personal Development Needs Assessment. Based on this timeline, the first exam application deadlines will occur during July/August 2021.
  • Initial marketing launch will target those currently eligible for the exam, closely followed by a full rollout to all ATs and employers. The BOC will engage affiliated organizations, leadership and key players. Messaging will focus on the added value of specialty and the positive impact for ATs, employers and the profession overall. Ongoing efforts will bring success stories to light for those achieving the specialty certification.

For the latest updates, current information and to purchase the full OPA, visit the Orthopedic Specialty page on the BOC website.

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