Why Choose IIOP?
The International Institute of Orthotics and Prosthetics is the profession’s only independent O&P educational facility. The Institute is committed to the elevation of the Orthotics and Prosthetics Profession through state of the art quality education. IIOP hosts the American Board of Certification for Orthotics, Prosthetics and Pedorthics Testing Center. Additionally, the Institute hosts multiple professional development courses and symposiums and is the home of the Florida Chapter of the American Academy of Orthotists and Prosthetists. This gives IIOP’s students access to a multitude of educational opportunities as well as exposure to the seasoned clinicians in the profession. The annual meeting of the Academy Chapter hosts a job fair for so that students can have the opportunity to meet potential residency directors, and provides a forum for students of the Institute to present their research papers and case studies to an audience of their peers and mentors. The campus is also home to a private O & P practice which allows our students to complete clinical rotations on-site and gain valuable patient interactions. The IIOP curriculum’s foundational courses are focused on the interdisciplinary approach to problem-based learning. The curriculum encourages students to become lifelong learners with an emphasis on improving orthotic and prosthetic outcomes. A great deal of time is spent ensuring that students develop appropriate manual skills together with the understanding of the importance of lab skills in the workforce.
The IIOP campus features large spacious O & P laboratories for fabrication activities and a small student to instructor ratio of 12 to 1.
- Small class sizes
- Focus on fabrication
- National and International Clinical Rotation experiences
- 100% employment rate
- Patient-centered curriculum
- Community service
- Well-rounded education
- All full-time faculty have graduate degree or PhD
- Interdisciplinary faculty
The International Institute of Orthotics and Prosthetics was founded in 2016. The Master’s Program in Orthotics and Prosthetics offered today by the Institute has its history in the St. Petersburg College (SPC) O&P program at the Health Education Center in Pinellas Park, Florida. SPC is a Florida Community College, founded in 1927, that began offering four-year degrees in 2002. In 2005 SPC was approved to offer a bachelor’s degree in Orthotics and Prosthetics.
In 2008, the National Commission for Orthotic and Prosthetic Education (NCOPE) announced that the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) had approved revision to the Standards and Guidelines for Accreditation of Education in Orthotics and Prosthetics to a require a Master’s degree for entry level into the field. This was deemed necessary for the delivery of quality patient care due to the dynamic base of knowledge and rapidly emerging processes and technologies in the O&P field. In response to this mandate, St. Petersburg College formed a consortium with Florida State University (FSU) 2009. Upon completion of the course work at SPC, the student would be required to matriculate to FSU by meeting all their requirements to complete the degree conferred at FSU: a Master’s of Science in Industrial Engineering, with specialization in Materials Engineering and Management of Orthotics and Prosthetics (MSIE-MEMOP). This allowed the graduate to apply for residency programs and enter the field of Orthotics and Prosthetics under the new NCOPE standards and guidelines. The Master’s program enrolled its first cohort in fall of 2012.
The consortium was made up of two programs and two degrees were conferred. This was a two-step process, unlike other O & P programs in the United States. The first degree was the SPC Bachelor of Applied Science in Orthotics and Prosthetics, the second being the FSU MSIE-MEMOP. The course work for FSU was offered on-line or at the SPC campus, utilizing SPC’s lab space.
After a two-year evaluation of the track it was noted that it would be best to find a new partner to sponsor the master’s track. The program was difficult for both faculty and students. Additionally, it became clear that Material Science was not an ideal degree as it did not incorporate any practice management or patient skills in the final semesters.
In 2015, the program sought a sponsorship from Florida International University’s (FIU) Engineering Management that would allow students, through a consortium arrangement, to remain on the SPC campus and complete the last three semesters online at FIU while continuing clinical rotations. Arlene Gillis, CP, LPO, the director of the SPC O&P program, sensed that SPC would not long continue the consortium arrangement. She envisioned establishing a new educational facility that would continue to provide O&P training and research opportunities for the profession.
In 2016 Gillis formed a non-profit and established the International Institute of Orthotics and Prosthetics. Through discussions with The American Board for Certification in Orthotics, Prosthetics & Pedorthics (ABC), an agreement was made that the new facility would include housing for ABC’s Testing Facility. This would provide ABC with a permanent testing facility, freeing them from the logistical difficulties associated with having to host exams at various locations throughout the country.
After a thorough search process of over a year, in 2017 Gillis located a 35,000 sq. ft. building on several acres of property adjacent to Tampa International Airport. The building had recently been vacated by ITT Technical Institute and was the ideal size and location for both the IIOP educational plans, and for the ABC Testing Facility. An agreement was made to purchase the property. The Board of Trustees, Advisory Board, Graduate Oversight Committee, staff and faculty consulted, and architects designed the renovations for a state-of-the-art testing facility and orthotic and prosthetic educational facility. Dale Petersen, having early along joined Gillis supporting her plans, agreed to become the lab manager; he designed and equipped the laboratory facilities. IT installed all new network systems; security, fire protection and sprinkler systems were updated. New landscaping beautified the exterior, and the 300-space parking lot was resurfaced. A security fence was installed to encompass the entire 4 acres of property. After several months, the construction was completed and both the Institute and ABC had a home.
Ultimately, SPC decided to discontinue the sponsorship of the O&P program, and a transfer of sponsorship to FIU was approved by NCOPE. FIU, located in Miami, Florida lacked the O&P laboratory facilities necessary for the program. Accordingly, FIU partnered with IIOP, whose newly renovated facility offered ample space including classrooms and a fully functioning O&P laboratory.
In 2018, IIOP applied to and received approval from the Commission of Independent Education of Florida to become a stand-alone entity and began to offer an Orthotics and Prosthetics Master’s Program. IIOP continued its partnership with FIU and its Engineering Management track through 2020.
“I have just finished my second semester at IIOP and it has been such a fun and beneficial learning experience. The facility is unlike anything I have seen at other schools and even other O&P facilities. I come from a background in prosthetics and orthotics, so I had pretty high expectations for the school and it checks all my boxes. There is so much space in a brand-new building, which makes working on projects very stress-free. The instructors are so much fun to work with and knowledgeable in their fields. I would recommend this program to anyone interested in the field of orthotics and prosthetics.”
“As a first-year graduate student at the International Institute of Orthotics and Prosthetics (IIOP), I have had the opportunity to acquire valuable practical skills and knowledge that will serve me well as an O & P practitioner. I have been fortunate to be a part of a small class cohort of like-minded fellow students with experienced, knowledgeable instructors. I have primarily been impressed with the new state of the art facilities complete with fabrication labs and a private clinic that is made readily available to all of its students. IIOP has provided a very welcoming environment that is both challenging and rewarding. I would sincerely recommend IIOP to anyone wanting to study to become an O&P practitioner.”-Victor Bustamante
“IIOP has presented me with incredible opportunities both in the patient clinic and the classroom to expand my knowledge of Orthotics and Prosthetics further than anywhere else. The amazing faculty and staff provide a platform for my classmates and I to carve out our own style of healthcare professionalism and fabrication techniques.”
“When I first decided that I wanted to enter the O&P field, IIOP felt like the most obvious option. Mrs. Gillis was so diligent in guiding me through the process and being clear when I had any questions. Dr. Orbea, Mrs. Crawford, and Mr. Mahairas have been crucial in my academia and have all been more than supportive. I couldn’t have asked for a better faculty to learn from and build with.”
“The program at IIOP suited my learning style perfectly. It is fast, but the instructors make sure that no one is left behind. They are able to do this by maintaining smaller class sizes that allow for plenty of one on one. The mid-semester reviews are thorough and detailed to let the students know where they excel and where improvement is needed. Everything about this school is hands-on learning through every step of the way. We work as a team to achieve the common goal which is providing top-notch patient care.”
-Joaquin Campa III
“My time here at IIOP has not only expanded my understanding of the O&P field, but has taught me more about my capabilities to solve problems and constantly seek resolution in and out of the classroom. I have learned how to work hard in the lab so I am able to enjoy the beauty of Tampa, Florida. From kayak fishing in the mangroves, to enjoying the sweet sweet beaches, Tampa has quickly become one of my favorite places to live. If you’re like me and you are from out of town, then no problem because IIOP is within 5 minutes from the Tampa International Airport! IIOP has continued to challenge me but has made my graduate experience one I will never forget.”
Additional Scholarship Opportunities
- Ken Chagnon Scholarship, $500, Application deadline January 31st, yearly
- Dan McKeever Scholarship, $1,000, Application deadline May 30th, yearly
- Chester Haddan Scholarship, $1,000, Application deadline January 31st, yearly
- OPERF Student Award, $500, Application deadline yearly in October
- SPS Student Scholarship, $2,500, Application deadline will be announced soon