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NCOPE 2015 Work Study

The National Commission on Orthotic and Prosthetic Education (NCOPE) commissioned Dobson DaVanzo & Associates, LLC (Dobson | DaVanzo) to estimate and project the future demand for and supply of orthotic and prosthetic (O&P) professionals over the next ten years (2016-2025). Workforce projections allow professions to better align their workforce with the future demand for their services.


The O&P workforce consists of formally educated and trained individuals that provide custom and pre-fabricated external prostheses and orthoses to patients with limb loss and musculoskeletal conditions. The seven professional types included in the O&P profession are: orthotists, prosthetists, dual certified prosthetists and orthotists (“prosthetist/orthotist”), pedorthists, assistants, technicians, and fitters (therapeutic shoe, mastectomy, and orthotic). Across the American Board for Certification in Orthotics, Prosthetics and Pedorthics (ABC) and Board of Certification Accreditation, International (BOC), O&P professionals can be certified in each of these provider types.


In recent years, policymakers, researchers, and industry stakeholders 2,3,4 have closely monitored the health care workforce as the U.S. population with health insurance coverage is expected to dramatically increase under landmark provisions in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). Accordingly, the utilization of health care services is expected to increase rapidly, potentially resulting in a shortage of providers. Professionals in the allied health workforce (including those in the O&P profession) are increasingly viewed as a means of strengthening the larger health care provider network.


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