According to the National Commission on Orthotic and Prosthetic Education (NCOPE)
, an Orthotics and Prosthetics (O&P) professional is a provider who combines skills stemming from art, science and technology to evaluate, fabricate and fit orthopedic braces (orthoses) and artificial limbs (prostheses). Certified Orthotists and Prosthetists (CPO) are integral members of the healthcare and rehabilitation team. O&P practitioners can be certified, licensed and practice with a master’s degree.
The Master of Science in Orthotics and Prosthetics (O&P)
program at Salus University is housed in the College of Health Sciences, Education and Rehabilitation. It is a graduate program that combines problem-solving, creative design and patient care.
Designed for students who want to learn in a closely-knit cohort and be taught by renowned faculty who are board certified prosthetist-orthotists and licensed in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the curriculum of the Salus O&P Program is constructed from a holistic perspective and a commitment to developing future generations of O&P professionals. The Salus O&P program is noted for the following features:
- The guidance of a leader in the field, Dr. Chad Duncan
- Brand new lab facilities
- A market that demands O&P services
- Curriculum with cultural humility and belonging at its core
- Interprofessional opportunities
- An integrated 18-month clinical residency
The Orthotics & Prosthetics Lab
The new state-of-the-art O&P lab
located on the University’s Elkins Park, Pennsylvania campus is a huge draw for prospective students. It gives students who come to Salus to study O&P the training space and technology needed to excel in the classroom and, subsequently, the profession.
This lab was strategically placed to maximize the windows on the fourth floor. Windows are in every learning area of the lab to allow natural sunlight to shine through. Research has shown that exposure to natural sunlight can positively affect both mood and learning.
Furthering the facilitation of training in the lab, the benches in the lab were all custom designed to raise and lower for students of different heights. These benches are completely modular and can handle orthotics, prosthetics, and the future in additive manufacturing. This is where students can fabricate and modify orthoses and prostheses that will be custom-made for patient models.
One of the best ways to maximize the student learning experience is through real-world exposure, which is where the Clinical Advancement Room in the O&P lab comes in. Through the exposures in the Clinical Advancement Room, students can hone their clinical skills in the areas of evaluation, assessment, and measurement of patient models. It is here that students will learn how to fit custom orthotic and prosthetic devices while analyzing patient model gait within the parallel bars.
Another aspect of the O&P lab is the Tinker Lab, which was designed to help students experience commonly used components, tools, and materials that they might see while in patient care.
When it comes time to use these components, tools, and materials from the Tinker Lab, it is the Machine Shop that allows students to create and modify orthotic and prosthetic parts for their patient models. The equipment available in the Machine Shop includes eight Trautman sanders, a drum sander, a drill press, a band saw, a sewing machine, and state-of-the-art ventilation and dust collector systems.
Salus O&P Paving the Way
The Salus O&P program is different from most of the O&P programs in the U.S. It is built using cultural humility as a central theme and treating people as individuals. There are also three specialty track options for students to choose from so they can be connected with experts in the discipline and profession as they explore these specific areas: Digital Workspace, Clinical Leadership and Practice Management, Cultural Humility and Health Disparities.
The Salus O&P program consists of two developmental phases:
- Building the foundational knowledge, technical skills, and clinical abilities of an orthotist and prosthetist.
- An integrated 18-month clinical residency that qualifies students for certification exams post graduation.
Apply to the Orthotics & Prosthetics Program
All Salus O&P applications are to be submitted through OPCAS
. The application process
for the program begins in July, one year prior to the year of desired enrollment. The application review process begins once an application is verified by OPCAS. Applications are processed through rolling admissions, which means as applications are received as opposed to waiting until after a hard deadline. Admissions interviews are scheduled and initiated in the beginning of September. It is to an applicant’s advantage to apply as early as possible to ensure priority consideration for admission.
Besides the required prerequisites, additional application materials for the Salus O&P program include:
- Two Letters of Recommendation
- One letter from a teaching faculty member (at the undergraduate level or above) or research supervisor
- One letter from a person with authority (i.e.: work supervisor, advisor, etc.).
- A minimum of 40 hours of observation experience with an orthotist-prosthetist is required. Observation in multiple clinical settings is encouraged (may be volunteer and/or employment).
- GRE score results - optional