November 10, 2020
Given the change of course that has happened in the world, we wanted to provide expert opinions on what aspiring graduates can do to start off their careers in an uncertain economic climate. We wanted to know what skills will be more important, where the economy is doing relatively well, and if there will be any lasting effects on the job market.
Companies are looking for candidates that can handle the new responsibilities of the job market. Recent graduates actually have an advantage because they are comfortable using newer technologies and have been communicating virtually their whole lives. They can take what they've learned and apply it immediately.
We spoke to professors and experts from several universities and companies to get their opinions on where the job market for recent graduates is heading, as well as how young graduates entering the industry can be adequately prepared. Here are their thoughts.
American Board for Certification in Orthotics, Prosthetics & Pedorthics
Jim Lawson: Some of the points I make with the soon to graduate students are the following:
-All of those graduating with a master's in O&P have to complete a residency, either 18 months or two years. The residency is a continuation of their education. The majority of the graduates find their residency on their own, but there are many helpful tools available through NCOPE, the National Commission on Orthotic and Prosthetic Education. Students apply and interview for residencies, very much like a job interview. I encourage them to ask questions during their interview to ensure their residency site is a good fit for them.
-ABC urges recent graduates to take their Written Combined Exam, which they are able to apply immediately after graduation. The other ABC practitioner exams need to be taken after completion of their residency programs.
-You are entering into a wonderful profession; you are needed; with the number of aging baby boomers and the cases of diabetes constantly rising, they are needed, and there will always be a job for you
-Once a graduate finishes their residency, they are eligible to sit for the ABC certification exams. There are a total of six exams to become a Certified Prosthetist Orthotist. More info on our exams is available on our website, ABCop.org
Jim Lawson: The profession is moving in the direction of lighter, stronger, and less expensive materials. Materials that can reduce costs and improve wearability. 3D printing has been embraced by the O&P profession. It still has a way to go, but it is gradually becoming accepted.