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Orthopedic Specialty

Become Orthopedic Specialty Certified

A Specialty Credential That Underscores Your Specialty—Orthopedics.

The BOC Orthopedic Specialty Certification (orthopedic specialty) for Athletic Trainers (ATs) is the only board-certified orthopedic specialty for ATs with advanced knowledge, skills and experience in orthopedics. The Board-Certified Specialty in Orthopedics (BCS-O) credential is backed by the Board of Certification’s rigorous process and standards. The orthopedic specialty is much more than a certificate earned after a day-long seminar. Armed with the BCS-O, ATs are better positioned to work within the orthopedic field where they are highly valued by employers for increasing throughput, serving as an extension of the physician, connecting systems to create efficiency, and building patient relationships.

This AT specialty certification is a major step on a pathway toward improved working conditions, compensation, advancement and respect 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 and earning recognition and respect for the experience, focus and skills they demonstrate.

Why Earn Specialty Certification?

While it may be premature to predict all the benefits the BOC Board Certified Specialist in Orthopedics (BCS-O) credential can offer Athletic Trainers (ATs), we are starting to see that it is being accepted in place of other required credentials for certain positions and roles, such as assisting in the operating room or scrub privileges. We have also seen ATs with the credential being promoted within their field. Learn more about how the BOC Orthopedic Specialty compares to other credentials available to ATs.

Download the Comparative Matrix: BOC Orthopedic Specialty

Join Us in Educating Employers About the Value of ATs.

The BOC is working on a comprehensive initiative to educate employers about the value of Athletic Trainers, and in this case – the specialized value inherent in the orthopedic specialty. Please encourage employer contacts within your organization to share their information so that we can connect with them about the value of the orthopedic specialty. It’s a crucial part of our targeted effort on your behalf.

“In a physician practice – Athletic Trainers tend to generate more money for the organization-they possess a better skillset.”
Apply for the Orthopedic Specialty Exam

Determine Eligibility

A credential available to Athletic Trainers who have acquired specialized education and focused experience in orthopedics beyond the requirements for the ATC® credential.

The minimum requirements for the BOC Orthopedic Specialty Certification are:

  • BOC Certified Athletic Trainer in good standing
  • Demonstration of education and practice experience in one of the two paths below
Achieve a passing score on the Orthopedic Specialty Certification Exam
PATH 1 REQUIREMENTS

Completion of a CAATE accredited residency in orthopedics from 2012 forward and two years of practice experience after BOC certification has been earned.

  • 1 YR RESIDENCY + 1 YR FULL-TIME EMPLOYMENT (before or after residency) = 2 YRS PRACTICE EXPERIENCE
CAATE accredited residencies in orthopedics:
  • Boston University (MA) Orthopedics & Diagnostics track
  • Emory Sports Medicine (GA)
  • Prisma Health Orthopedics (SC) (formally known as University of South Carolina)
  • St Luke’s University Health Network (PA)
  • St Luke’s (ID)
  • The Steadman Clinic (CO)
  • University of Michigan MedSport (MI)
  • University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics (WI)

OR

PATH 2 REQUIREMENTS

Completion of at least 260 hours of professional development (e.g., continuing education, grand rounds, journal reviews, etc.) in orthopedics and four years of practice experience after BOC certification has been earned.

  • Practice experience is to include at least 3500 hours in orthopedic patient care
    • 1200 of the 3500 hours must be in a mentored relationship
    • 1000 of the 3500 hours must be completed in the year preceding exam application.
Download BOC Orthopedic Specialty Applicant Handbook

Prepare a Study Plan

What you need to know

The BOC Orthopedic Specialty Exam was developed with the highest standards, validity and reliability. The exam prep tools and resources found in this section are divided into multiple sub components for your convenience. Please review each of them for a comprehensive overview on preparing a study plan.

Review Exam Deadlines

Complete all exam steps through your BOC profile.

February 2024

Apply: Now*-1/18/2024 (5 p.m. CT)
Register: 1/19 (9 a.m. CT)-1/29 (5 p.m. CT)
Schedule: 2/7^-2/22 (11:59 p.m. ET)
Exam: 2/16-2/25
Results: 3/25-4/8

September 2024

Apply: Now*-8/15/2024 (5 p.m. CT)
Register: 8/16 (9 a.m. CT)-9/3 (5 p.m. CT)
Schedule: 9/11^-9/26 (11:59 p.m. ET)
Exam: 9/20-9/29
Results: 10/28-11/11

*BOC reserves the right to make changes as needed

^ Approximate date of when scheduling email will be received from Meazure Learning

Apply For Exam

Apply via PATH 1
  • Edit and save the Practice Experience Sample Letter
  • Log into your BOC profile
  • Click “Orthopedic Specialty Application”
  • Request confirmation of CAATE Accredited Orthopedic Residency
  • Upload your edited “Practice Experience Sample Letter”
  • Pay the application fee
  • Your application will be processed within 3-5 business days
Apply via PATH 2
Apply for the Orthopedic Specialty Exam

Register For Exam

Review the BOC Orthopedic Specialty Exam Deadlines.

Complete and pay the exam fee on “AT103: Exam Registration” in your profile no later than 5 p.m. CT on the exam registration deadline date.

  • Log into your BOC profile
  • In the left navigation menu under the Orthopedic Specialist section click Register for Specialty Exam

Exam Fees

First time and retake candidates

Testing in the United States or Canada –  $500

Testing outside the United States or Canada – $610
($500 exam fee + $110 international surcharge)

The BOC accepts Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover, or personal checks/money orders. Payment must be received by 5 p.m. CT on the exam registration deadline date.

Download BOC Orthopedic Specialty Applicant Handbook

Schedule and Reschedule Exam

Schedule

After you register for the exam, you will receive an email from candidatesupport@meazurelearning.com on the first date of the scheduling window (see exam deadlines) to schedule your exam site/date/time.

The BOC utilizes Meazure Learning testing centers as well as Live Remote Proctoring.

Refer to the “BOC Orthopedic Specialty Applicant Handbook” for more specifics.

Reschedule

Contact us for Email rescheduling requests

Rescheduling fees may apply

Information on all exam policies (rescheduling, cancellation, failure to schedule, appeal, etc.) and accompanying fees can be found in the BOC Orthopedic Specialty Applicant Handbook

Download BOC Orthopedic Specialty Applicant Handbook
Orthopedic Specialty FAQ
Q: Will Athletic Trainers who have earned the BOC Orthopedic Specialty Certification have qualifications in line with a physician assistant in the same setting?
A: The BOC will be working with employers to ensure they understand the value and importance of this new certification. There are many differences between Athletic Trainers and physician assistants, but in an orthopedic setting, their responsibilities often overlap. Does this mean that Athletic Trainers with the BOC Orthopedic Specialty Certification will be held in the same regard as physician assistants? That is yet to be seen. One of the goals of this specialty is to begin the process of elevating the perception of Athletic Trainers. We believe the launch of specialties is a very important part of a broader strategy to elevate perception, clarify value and generate a corresponding increase in respect and pay.
Orthopedic Specialty FAQ
Q: Is there a deficiency in AT knowledge/skills indicating the ATC credential is not enough?
A: No, in fact it is quite the opposite. Specialty certification provides an opportunity for ATs to be recognized for devoting a focused effort in a specific area of athletic training, such as orthopedics.
Orthopedic Specialty FAQ
Q: Who will want the orthopedic specialty certification? Who is it being created for?
A: The orthopedic specialty certification is intended for Athletic Trainers who have devoted much of their professional development (education and training) in the focused area of orthopedics.
Orthopedic Specialty FAQ
Q: Would the orthopedic specialty certification be good for someone who works in a collegiate setting or is it intended specifically for those who work in orthopedic offices?
A: The orthopedic specialty certification is not based on practice setting, but rather on the role and responsibilities of the practitioner for their patient population. If an Athletic Trainer employed in a collegiate setting identifies that their knowledge and skills align with the “BOC Orthopedic Practice Analysis” they may want to consider pursuing the orthopedic specialty.
Orthopedic Specialty FAQ
Q: Did the BOC consult with orthopedists to see how they feel about orthopedic specialty certification? Do they want it?
A: The BOC has received feedback from both physicians and Athletic Trainers in physician-practice settings. Their feedback identified support for an athletic training orthopedic specialty certification.
Orthopedic Specialty FAQ
Q: Will there be assurances that specialization in orthopedics will enhance the athletic training profession and drive it towards becoming a mid-level health care provider, and not become a financial burden like other certifications?
A: Specialty certification is not required. Employers with orthopedic positions within their organizations were surveyed and indicated that post-certification education was important to them. In fact, additional specialized skills in the orthopedic clinical setting appear to hold considerable value for employers and supervisors. The additional skills gained, combined with employers’ desire to improve patient outcomes and their practice, will push mid-level health care providers with an orthopedic specialty into the forefront of our evolving health care system.
Orthopedic Specialty FAQ
Q: Will this specialty certification in orthopedics be recognized by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS)?
A: Athletic training leadership, such as members of the Athletic Trainer Strategic Alliance, continuously work to have Athletic Trainers, entry-level and specialists, recognized by regulators, such as CMS, as well as third-party payors.
Orthopedic Specialty FAQ
Q: Will Athletic Trainers who have achieved BOC Orthopedic Specialty Certification have the opportunity to assist in the operating room?
A: Obviously, there are many factors that determine who is invited to assist in the operating room. But with the BOC Orthopedic Specialty Certification, the elevated perception of Athletic Trainer’s skills and knowledge will come into play with surgeons as they decide who they want to assist during procedures.

The BOC will be working with employers to ensure they understand the value these specialized practitioners bring to their practice – note the topline benefits, which include operating room assistance. For any employer, optimizing the value that an Athletic Trainer can bring to a team hinges on them understanding the skills, experience and knowledge they possess. The BOC Orthopedic Specialty Certification is an important step in that direction.

The “BOC Orthopedic Practice Analysis” (OPA) defines the domains (medical knowledge, procedural knowledge, professional practice) and task statements that will be assessed on the Orthopedic Specialty Exam. We suggest Athletic Trainers review the domains and task statements comparing them to what they encounter within their specific practice. The knowledge and skills required of each domain and task statement can be found in the full OPA.

Orthopedic Specialty FAQ
Q: Will earning the BOC Orthopedic Specialty Certification increase my salary?
A: In other health care professions, such as physical therapy, nursing and pharmacy, those practitioners with a specialty certification earn more. We cannot promise this, but going forward, we anticipate that to hold true for those who earn the BOC Orthopedic Specialty Certification. Of course, salaries are established by employers and are correlated to the value you bring to the practice. The launch of specialties is one important step toward helping employers understand the value you provide. Be prepared to show how your orthopedic specialty certification offers a return on investment that justifies a higher salary.
Below are a few resources of the other health care professions who have indicated as such:
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15496048/
https://specialization.apta.org/for-specialists/marketing/employers
http://aann.org/uploads/Meetings/2020/WhitePaper_A…

The rigor involved in launching a specialty that meets the requirements of true board certification is significant. A thorough and in-depth process was followed, supported by multiple research projects, including one to define the Orthopedic Practice Analysis (OPA). The purpose of the OPA is to identify and validate the significant responsibilities that ATs who specialize in orthopedics have in their work, as well as the specialized knowledge and skills they must possess. The practice analysis study consisted of two major phases: 1) Initial Development and Validation and 2) Validation Study, both of which are outlined in detail as part of the OPA. The OPA for the orthopedic specialty is available on the BOC website.

Orthopedic Specialty FAQ
Eligibility Questions
Q: Can the BOC provide more information about the “BOC Orthopedic Practice Analysis?”
A: The “Content Outline for the BOC Orthopedic Practice Analysis” and the “BOC Orthopedic Practice Analysis” are available under “Exam Prep” resources.
Eligibility Questions
Q: What are the eligibility requirements to sit for the orthopedic specialist certification exam?
A: Eligibility Requirements are available on the BOC website.
Eligibility Questions
Q: So ATs who are only licensed in a state (and not BOC certified) cannot apply to take the orthopedic specialty exam?
A: Correct because the orthopedic specialty exam eligibility requires current BOC certification. However, those who have an expired BOC certification can apply for reinstatement. Reinstatement details can be found under the Athletic Trainers section of the website.
Eligibility Questions
Q: My state license does not require me to maintain BOC certification and I have let mine expire. Am I still eligible for the specialty certification?
A: No because the orthopedic specialty exam eligibility requires current BOC certification. However, those who have an expired BOC certification can apply for reinstatement. Reinstatement details can be found under the Athletic Trainers section of the website.
Eligibility Questions
Q: Will a Doctorate of Athletic Training (DAT) allow me to be eligible to sit for the specialty certification in orthopedics?
A: Athletic Trainers with a DAT may qualify through the alternate route for specialty certification if they meet the eligibility criteria.
Eligibility Questions
Q: Will the Orthopedics Specialty Certification Exam be based primarily on the residency curriculum?
A: The exam will align with the domain, task, knowledge and skill statements outlined in the “BOC Orthopedic Practice Analysis.” Questions for the specialty certification exam are prepared by a committee made up of Athletic Trainers who specialize in orthopedics. Each question is validated by a panel of independent judges, referenced to current resources from the literature on or related to athletic training in the orthopedic specialty and repeatedly edited by Athletic Trainers for clarity and content.

Exam questions are developed to assess knowledge on subject matter from the domains of orthopedic specialty in athletic training. Each question is also subjected to editing for grammar and technical adequacy by experts from the BOC’s testing agency. Thus, content experts write the questions and validate their appropriateness for the exam, and experts in testing review the questions to ensure that the questions perform as intended.

Eligibility Questions
Q: What will the credentials be for someone who earns the specialty certification? Will the credential replace the OTC credential?
A: The credential of Board Certified Specialist in Orthopedics (BCS-O) will formally recognize Athletic Trainers who have attained advanced knowledge and skills in defined areas of orthopedics. The BCS-O credential will not replace the OTC credential.
Eligibility Questions
Q: Is the orthopedics specialty certification intended to replace or to make consistencies in the fellowship programs like Emory or The Steadman Clinic?
A: Specialty certification relies on educational opportunities such as fellowship programs and residencies; it does not replace such educational opportunities. Those who have completed a fellowship program may be eligible through the alternate route.
Eligibility Questions
Q: Will those individuals currently holding the Orthopedic Physician Extender (OPE) credential through the National Board for Certification in the Orthopedic Specialties (NBCOS) automatically receive the BOC Orthopedic Specialty Certification?
A: No. The Board of Certification for the Athletic Trainer (BOC) and the National Board for Certification in the Orthopedic Specialties (NBCOS) are not affiliated. The BOC Orthopedic Specialty Certification is the only board-certified orthopedic specialty for Athletic Trainers with advanced knowledge, skills and experience in orthopedics. The BOC orthopedic specialty eligibility requirements are available on our website.
Eligibility Questions
Exam Application
Q: Does the application fee have to be paid before the application is reviewed?
A: Yes
Exam Application
Q: What information should be included in my letter(s) to demonstrate practice experience and mentored hours?
A: The BOC offers samples letter(s) available for download using the links below. Utilizing the sample letter(s) is recommended to ensure the necessary information is provided.

Path 1: Practice Experience
Path 2: Practice Experience
Path 2: Mentored Hours

Exam Application
Q: What is required to demonstrate 260 hours of professional development (e.g., continuing education, grand rounds, journal reviews, etc.) in orthopedics?
A: A Professional Development Documentation form will serve as submission of the 260 hours of professional development activity. BOC staff will review all letters and Professional Development Forms submitted. ATs will be asked to provide additional documentation for professional development activities that do not clearly identify as falling within the domains and task statements of the “BOC Orthopedic Practice Analysis” (OPA).
Exam Application
Q: As continued education (CE) is acceptable for the 260 hours of professional development, are the continuing education units (CEUs) self-reported to maintain the ATC® credential sufficient for this requirement?
A: The CE self-reported for previous CE reporting periods may count for or towards the 260 hours of required professional development providing the content of those courses falls within the domains and task statements found in the “BOC Orthopedic Practice Analysis” (OPA).

We suggest reviewing your past CEU reporting forms to determine which of the CEU courses fall within the OPA. Once that is determined, a Professional Development Documentation form will serve as submission of the 260 hours of professional development activity. BOC staff will review all letters and Professional Development Forms submitted. ATs will be asked to provide additional documentation for professional development activities that do not clearly identify as falling within the domains and task statements of the “BOC Orthopedic Practice Analysis” (OPA).

Exam Application
Q: How long does it take for my application to be reviewed?
A: Applications received by 5 p.m. CT, offset UTC-6 hours on the application deadline date are processed within three to five business days for the current exam window.
Exam Application
Q: What is the cost of the exam?
A: Refer to the “BOC Orthopedic Specialty Applicant Handbook” Appendix D/Fee Structure for more information.
Exam Application
Q: What’s the timeline to sit for the exam once the application is approved?
A: Refer to the “BOC Orthopedic Specialty Applicant Handbook” Application Process/Approved Application for more information.
Exam Application
Q: What’s the retake process and how many attempts are allowed?
A: Refer to Retake Requirements in the “BOC Orthopedic Specialty Applicant Handbook” for more information.
Exam Application
Q: What happens after an applicant passes the exam?
A: Once an applicant passes the exam, they are immediately issued the Board Certified Specialist in Orthopedics (BCS-O) credential. Refer to the “BOC Orthopedic Specialty Applicant Handbook” Orthopedic Continuing Specialty Certification Requirements for more information.
Exam Application

BOC Orthopedic Practice Analysis (OPA)

To assist in your preparation, below is the free “Content Outline for the BOC Orthopedic Practice Analysis” which presents the domains and task statements you can expect to be covered on the exam. There is a fee for the complete “BOC Orthopedic Practice Analysis.”

Download Content Outline for BOC Orthopedic Practice Analysis

Purchase Full Version for $24.95 (non-refundable)

Purchase Full Version OPA

Needs Assessment

The Orthopedic Specialty Needs Assessment (OSNA) is a tool intended to assist Athletic Trainers (AT) considering the BOC Orthopedic Specialty Certification (orthopedic specialty). This tool will assess their level of preparedness for the orthopedic specialty certification exam by engaging in a self-reflection exercise of current knowledge and skills found in the Orthopedic Practice Analysis (OPA). The OSNA results will identify areas of the OPA that may require additional specialized professional development.

ATs can use the results of the OSNA to:
  • Align current skills and abilities to the content defined as necessary to acquire the orthopedic specialty
  • Form the framework for a professional development plan
  • Assess learning needs prior to challenging the Orthopedic Specialty Certification Exam

OSNA results are for personal use only and in no way impact current or future certification status.

Launch OSNA

Self-Assessment Exam

The online orthopedic specialty self-assessment exam is available to ATs preparing for the BOC Orthopedic Specialty Certification Exam.

  • The BOC offers the orthopedic specialty self-assessment exam in Study and Test modes. Study mode provides the correct answer and a reference by clicking on the “View Solution” link located on the bottom left-hand side of the screen for each question. No final score is provided or report is available in Study Mode, as the answer and reference is provided within each individual question. Test mode provides a score and brief descriptive report at the domain level immediately after completing the self-assessment exam.
  • The self-assessment exam includes 50 questions that are representative of the question types on the BOC Orthopedic Specialty Certification Exam, including multiple-choice, multi-select, drag-and-drop, hot spot and focused testlets.
  • Although the content areas of the orthopedic specialty self-assessment exam are comparable to those of the actual BOC Orthopedic Specialty Certification Exam, the questions included in the self-assessment exam will never appear on a future exam.
  • The self-assessment exam is available online 24 hours a day, seven days a week. After purchasing a self-assessment exam, you will have 365 days to start the orthopedic specialty self-assessment exam. Once an orthopedic specialty self-assessment exam has been started, you will have seven days to complete the orthopedic specialty self-assessment exam and 12 cumulative hours to view and answer questions within the orthopedic specialty self-assessment exam. When you are ready to take an orthopedic specialty self-assessment exam, simply create a BOC profile (or log into your existing account) and click Take Self-Assessment Exam under the Orthopedic Specialist section. You will be prompted to fill out your self-assessment exam profile, and then you may purchase an orthopedic specialty self-assessment exam.
  • Your performance on this orthopedic specialty self-assessment exam does not predict your performance on the BOC Orthopedic Specialty Certification Exam.
  • The orthopedic specialty self-assessment exam items are copyrighted property of the BOC and may not be copied, reproduced, discussed or distributed in any manner. Unauthorized copying or distribution of any portion of these exams may be subject to civil liability for copyright infringement and disciplinary action pursuant to Code 3.9 of the BOC Standards of Professional Practice .

If you have additional questions or experience technical difficulties with the orthopedic specialty self-assessment exam, please contact Specialty@bocatc.org or (402) 559-0091.

Log into your BOC Profile

Exam References

The Orthopedic Specialty Exam References represents the materials used to support exam items for the BOC Orthopedic Specialty Certification Exam, as determined by the BOC Orthopedic Specialty Exam Development Committee.

Download Orthopedic Specialty Exam References

Sample Exam Questions

The BOC has prepared a set of sample items representative of each exam question type to familiarize applicants with the look and feel of the computer interface and its navigation tools. These sample questions are not representative of exam content, only format. You will not receive scores for the sample questions. If you have any questions, please contact the BOC.

Before You Begin

The BOC recommends using the latest version of Chrome or Firefox. If you are currently running Internet Explorer 10 on Windows 8, then you must first switch to Desktop Mode before accessing any self-assessment exams.
Please note: You may need to load additional plug-ins (Java, Flash) and allow pop-ups.

The sample questions are simply a tool to familiarize you with how these questions will work and appear on the specialty certification exam. This is not a study guide.

The sample questions are 25 multiple-choice, multi-select, drag-and-drop and hot spot as well as 1 focused testlet comprised of 5 questions that reference a common scenario. Make sure to utilize the help button located on the left menu.

View Sample Exam Question

Exam Development & Scoring

Development

Questions for the orthopedic specialty certification exam are prepared by a committee made up of BOC Certified Athletic Trainers (ATs) and Orthopedic Specialty Certified ATs. Each question is validated by a panel of independent judges in item writing groups, referenced to current resources from the literature on or related to orthopedics and repeatedly edited by ATs for clarity and content. Questions satisfy the exam specifications of the current BOC Orthopedic Practice Analysis.

Questions are developed to assess your knowledge on subject matter from the three domains of orthopedics. Each question is also subjected to editing for grammar and technical adequacy by experts from the BOC’s testing agency. Thus, content experts write the questions and validate their appropriateness for the exam, and experts in testing review the questions to ensure that the questions perform as intended.

Purpose

The purpose of the Orthopedic Specialty exam is to assess your knowledge in the three domains of orthopedics as defined by the current BOC Orthopedic Practice Analysis:

  • Domain 1: Medical Knowledge
  • Domain 2: Procedural Knowledge
  • Domain 3: Professional Practice

The questions are written, validated and reviewed by a panel of content experts in coordination with psychometricians. The Orthopedic Specialty Exam References represent the materials used to support exam items for the BOC Orthopedic Specialty Certification Exam, as determined by the BOC Orthopedic Specialty Exam Development Committee.

Format

The exam is only delivered in English and contains a combination of 125 scored and unscored (experimental) items, and applicants will not know which items are experimental. Applicants have a total of three hours to complete the exam, which includes the ability to move forward or back throughout the entire exam. The exam is an internet-based exam administered in secure and proctored professional testing centers or via LRP. The BOC exam consists of the following item types:

Stand-Alone Items

  • multiple choice
  • multi-select
  • drag-and-drop
  • hot spot

Focused Testlets

  • A focused testlet consists of a scenario followed by key/critical items related to that scenario
  • Each focused testlet may include multiple choice items and/or any of the previous types.
Scoring

Exams are scored by Meazure Learning, a professional testing service that specializes in certification and licensure exams.Each form of the exam includes unscored (experimental) items. Applicants are scored only on those items that have been validated and aligned to the specifications of the current “BOC Orthopedic Practice Analysis” (OPA). The exact point value for each exam item is determined as a function of the weight assigned to its content category as well as the number of exam items in that content category. Results are calculated on a scale from 1,000 to 1,450 with a passing point of 1,200.

Notification of Results

Exam results are posted on the applicant’s online profile within four to six weeks from the last day of the exam window. Once exam results have been posted, applicants can expect to receive an email with instructions for accessing their remote exam results. When preparing for the exam, it is important to have a thorough knowledge of the current “BOC Orthopedic Practice Analysis” (OPA). This blueprint provides the percentage of exam items from each domain represented on the exam.

Appeal of Exam Results

An applicant may appeal their exam results. If an applicant experienced exam administration issues, they should refer to section Appeal of Exam Administration. An appeal of exam results must be submitted in writing to the BOC and must specifically state the reason(s) for the appeal and why the appeal should be granted. Failing the exam alone is not sufficient grounds for an appeal.

Appeal letters should be sent by traceable mail with signature of receipt required to:
Board of Certification
Attn: Specialty
1411 Harney St Ste 100
Omaha NE 68102-2250

The appeal letter must be received by the BOC within 14 days of receipt of the remote exam results. Correspondence received after this date will not be accepted.

Within 30 days of receipt of the appeal letter, the BOC will provide a written response to the applicant regarding the outcome of the appeal.

Exams will not be re-scored. However, if an applicant appeals their exam result, Meazure Learning will conduct a comparative review to confirm that the score is correct and that all of the applicant’s answers were received.
A comparative review verifies the applicant’s answers were scored against the correct exam answer key in order to confirm that the applicant’s exam result was scored properly and correctly, and that the proper final exam score was reported. Note that the internet-based exam scoring process is very accurate and that Meazure Learning scoring process already includes several quality assurance steps, including a review of all exam results following exam administration. Results of a comparative review will be emailed to the applicant within 10 business days.

Complaints, challenges or appeals not submitted in accordance with these policies will not be acknowledged.

Exam FAQs

Q: What are the components of the exam? Do they include multiple-choice, practical, etc?
A: The Orthopedic Specialty Certification Exam consists of the following item types:

  • Stand-Alone Items
    • multiple choice
    • multi-select
    • drag-and-drop
    • hot spot
  • Focused Testlets
    • A focused testlet consists of a scenario followed by key/critical items related to that scenario
    • Each focused testlet may include multiple choice items and/or any of the previous types.

The exam contains a combination of 125 scored and unscored (experimental) items. There will not be a practical component. Sample Exam Questions can be found here.

Q: Will the Orthopedic Specialty Certification Exam be administered electronically at a testing location like the entry-level athletic training certification exam?
A: The Orthopedic Specialty Certification Exam is an internet-based exam administered in secure and proctored professional testing centers or via Live Online Proctoring.
Q: For the alternate eligibility route will there be opportunities to learn the content required for the exam outside of clinical settings such as through symposiums, webinars or etc.? Who ensures those Athletic Trainers receive the correct information to prepare for the exam?
A: The “BOC Orthopedic Practice Analysis” outlines the domain, task, knowledge and skill statements for the Orthopedic Specialty Exam. Professional development opportunities that align with the “BOC Orthopedic Practice Analysis” will be searchable in the BOC program directory. Exam preparation tools will be provided in spring 2021.
Q: Will the BOC Orthopedic Specialty Exam focus on casting or on acute injuries?
A: The “BOC Orthopedic Practice Analysis ” (OPA) defines the domains (medical knowledge, procedural knowledge, professional practice) and task statements that will be assessed on the Orthopedic Specialty Exam. We suggest Athletic Trainers review the domains and task statements comparing them to what they encounter within their specific practice. The knowledge and skills required of each domain and task statement can be found in the full OPA.

Affadavit

The affidavit portion of the exam application requires applicants to report any felony or misdemeanor convictions or pending charges.

The Professional Practice and Discipline Committee reviews all convictions. Applicants are notified in writing of the committee’s decision. Please review the “Professional Practice and Disciplinary Guidelines and Procedures” for details.

The affidavit portion of the exam application requires applicants to answer the following questions when submitting their exam applications. If the answers are yes, additional documentation will be required to upload. Documentation is reviewed within two-three business days of receipt.

Question 1

Have you ever been convicted of a felony or misdemeanor and/or are felony or misdemeanor charges pending against you? For the purposes of this question, include convictions that have since been removed from your record, such as through expungement or through a pre-trial diversion program or similar process.

Required Documentation

1a. If yes, provide a detailed explanation, in your own words, of the events that led to the conviction(s).

1b. If yes, court document(s), including, but not limited to, an arrest report, sentence recommendation, proof of compliance of all court requirements and proof of payment for all related fines must be included with your application documentation.

1c. If yes and the conviction(s) were alcohol (driving related) or drug related, a current professional alcohol/substance abuse evaluation that is no older than three months must be included with your application documentation. If an alcohol/substance abuse evaluation was not required by the court, obtain an evaluation performed by a state licensed mental health professional who can provide substance abuse treatment. An online evaluation is not acceptable.

Question 2

Have you been found by any court, administrative or disciplinary proceeding to have committed negligence, malpractice, recklessness or willful or intentional misconduct, or are you currently under investigation for such?

Required Documentation

2a. If yes, provide a detailed explanation, in your own words, of the events that led to the disciplinary action for negligence, malpractice, recklessness or willful or intentional misconduct.

BOC Orthopedic Specialty Applicant Handbook

ADA Policy

The BOC, in adherence with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA, 1990, updated 2010), reasonable and appropriate accommodations are provided for qualified individuals with a disability who supply appropriate documentation. The BOC follows the guidelines set forth in the Council on Licensure, Enforcement and Regulation (CLEAR) and Institute for Credentialing Excellence (ICE). The BOC does not discriminate against any individual on the basis of religion, gender, ethnic background or physical disability.

Reasonable Accommodations

Reasonable accommodations provide disabled applicants with a fair and equal opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge and skill in the essential functions being measured by the exam. Reasonable accommodations are decided on the basis of the individual’s specific request, disability, documentation submitted and the appropriateness of the request.

Reasonable accommodations do not include steps that fundamentally alter the purpose or nature of the exam. The most frequent requests involve providing the candidate with extended time, a reader, a writer and/or a separate room.

Qualified Individual with a Disability

A “qualified individual with a disability” is one who has a disability and satisfies the requisite skill, experience, education and other requirements of the service, program or activity of which the individual is being measured and, with or without accommodations, can perform the essential functions of the service, program or activity.

An essential function is one that individuals are required to perform, and removing that function would fundamentally change the service, program or activity. A person must be a “qualified individual with a disability” to be protected under the ADA.

Proper Documentation

Applicants requesting a change in exam procedures or processes due to disability, handicap or other reason must request accommodations during the application process. The applicant is responsible for demonstrating that the request should be granted. The BOC will accept either of the following types of documentation:

    • Medical Documentation
      Documentation must be from an appropriate licensed professional or certified specialist who diagnosed the disability and include recommendations for reasonable accommodations. Recommendations should be based on testing that is not older than four years prior to the application. Documentation must be on the professional’s letterhead. Documentation must provide a diagnosis of the disability and the exam used to determine the disability.OR
    • Proof of Receiving Accommodations at College/University Level
      Documentation must be provided on the college/university’s letterhead and may include an individualized education plan (IEP). IEP documentation may not be older than four years prior to the application.

The confidentiality of all documentation submitted by the candidate is protected. The BOC will review the request and notify the applicant via email of its determination within two to three business days of receipt.

Requests for Reasonable Accommodations
  1. In order to be given consideration, appropriate documentation must be received by the BOC no later than 5 p.m. CT, offset UTC-six hours on the exam application deadline date of the requested exam window.
  2. Applicants approved for reasonable accommodations are notified via email of the accommodation(s) granted to them. Applicants not approved for reasonable accommodations are notified via email of the denial of their request.
  3. If an applicant’s request for accommodations is not approved, the applicant may initiate an appeal. Appeals must be made in writing to the BOC. The applicant is responsible for demonstrating that the appeal should be granted. Appeals must be received no later than 5 p.m. CT, offset UTC-6 hours on the exam application deadline date for the exam window the applicant is requesting. Failure to appeal within the allotted time will render the original decision final.
  4. The BOC will not pay any costs that an applicant may incur in obtaining the required diagnosis and recommendation. However, the BOC will pay for any reasonable exam-related accommodations that are provided to the applicant.
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