Certification: OPA-C/OA-C

Please note that certification of Orthopaedic Physician's Assistants/Orthopaedic Assistants (OPA-C/OA-C) is handled exclusively by the National Board for Certification of Orthopaedic Physician's Assistants/National Board for Certificiation of Orthopaedic Assisants (NBCOPA/NBCOA). The NBCOPA/NBCOA is a separate entity from the National Association of Orthopaedic Technologists (NAOT), which focuses on continued professional development and education of OPA-C's/OA-C's. Any questions and inquiries about existing policies, rules, regulations, verification and deadlines relating to certification or recertification should be addressed to the NBCOPA/NBCOA, using the contact information listed below.

Main Contact Information
National Board for Certification of Orthopaedic Physician's Assistants/National Board for Certification of Orthopaedic Assistants
c/o Melody Raymond, AAOS Special Society Services
9400 West Higgins Road, Ste 500
Rosemont, IL
(847) 698-1698
Fax: (847) 823-0536
Email: raymond@aaos.org

The NBCOPA/NBCOA endorses the concept of voluntary, periodic certification for orthopaedic physician's assistants/orthopaedic assistants working primarily in orthopaedics. The certification process is designed to promote excellence in the practice of orthopaedic physician's assistants/orthopaedic assistants by:

  1. Recognizing formally those individuals who meet all the requirements of the NBCOPA/NBCOA.
  2. Encouraging professional growth of the physician's assistant in orthopaedics.
  3. Establishing and measuring the level of knowledge required for a certified orthopaedic physician's assistant/orthopaedic assistant.
  4. Providing a standard of requisite knowledge required for certification, thereby assisting the employer, the public, and members of the health professions in the assessment of orthopaedic physician's assistants/orthopaedic assistants.

Exam Eligibility*

Although not a requirement, it is highly recommended that candidates have at least two years of college work in the sciences before sitting for the Certification Examination for Orthopaedic Physician's Assistants/Orthopaedic Assistants.

Candidates must have completed an orthopaedic assistant program, a primary care physician assistant program, or a nurse practitioner program or completion of a related allied health care program and have at least five (5) years of experience in orthopaedic work with responsibility in surgical assisting, history and physical assessment, and immobilization techniques, under the supervision of a board-certified orthopaedic surgeon.

Please note that a supervising board-certified orthopaedic surgeon must verify eligibility and sign the Supervising Physician's Statement on the candidate's application.

*revised in May 2009