What is a Canadian Certified Pedorthist?
A Canadian Certified Pedorthist is an orthotic and footwear expert who helps patients of all ages live healthier, more active lives. Trained in the assessment of lower limb anatomy and muscle and joint function, Pedorthists work alongside physicians and other healthcare providers to improve or maintain the activity level and mobility of patients with pain, abnormalities and debilitating foot and lower limb conditions. For people with foot and lower limb ailments, pedorthics can be the difference between watching and participating.
What does a Pedorthist do?
Canadian Certified Pedorthists are experts in designing, fitting and modifying custom-made foot orthotics and orthopaedic footwear. They consult with patients to determine a pedorthic treatment plan to best meet the patient’s needs.
Pedorthic services include:
• Assessing patients’ feet and lower legs by reviewing functional anatomy using range of motion, strength and functional tests
• Performing a gait assessment (evaluating how the patient walks or runs)
• Educating patients about their foot or lower limb conditions and recommending a personalized treatment plan
• Providing custom-made foot orthotics or over-the-counter devices
• Fitting patients with appropriate footwear for their foot type and problems
• Modifying patients’ footwear to accommodate problem areas and biomechanical needs
How do I become a Canadian Certified Pedorthist?
To become a Canadian Certified Pedorthist – C. Ped (C) – a candidate must complete a university degree in health sciences that includes courses in the areas of anatomy, biomechanics/gait analysis, medical conditions/diseases, physical assessment and ethics, followed by post-graduate training and a certification exam.
There are two paths a candidate can choose to complete the post-graduate training.
1. The Diploma in Pedorthics is offered through Western University. It is a 12-month, online, post-graduate program which includes course work in biomechanics, anatomy, pathomechanics of the lower limb, foot orthotic fabrication and modification, footwear fitting and modification, and pedorthic practice management. In conjunction with their course work, diploma students also complete practical placements, working with C. Ped (C)s across Canada.
2. Candidates may choose a workplace option, which operates similarly to an apprenticeship, while working within a pedorthic facility. Candidates must complete a minimum of 3,500 hours, or approximately 2 – 3 years, of training in the areas of clinical practice, footwear (fit and modification) and fabrication of custom foot orthotics, with at least 1,500 hours under the direct supervision of a C. Ped (C). Candidates choosing this option must also complete two online courses, offered through Western University: orthotic design and fabrication; and footwear structure, function and modification.
Following completion of the diploma or hands-on training, all candidates must pass the Certified Pedorthist certification exam which consists of two-parts: a 3 hour written component and a 1.5 hour practical component.
What program will best prepare me for the certification exams – the diploma program or the hands-on training?
The diploma program and the hands-on training both provide excellent preparation for the exam. Candidates should select the path that best meets their time goals and preferred method of learning.
Where can I find more information on the Diploma in Pedorthics program at Western University?
To learn more about the diploma program visit http://communications.uwo.ca/western_news/stories/2011/March/ continuing_studies_getting_a_kick_out_of_pedorthics_program.html
I am interested in qualifying through the 3,500 hours of practical training. How do I find a placement in my community?
Use the Locate a Pedorthist tool to find Pedorthists in your area that may be willing to hire you as a certification candidate. The PAC office does not arrange placements but it can help you navigate possibilities.
Is Western University the only school that provides the online courses workplace candidates are required to take for certification eligibility?
Currently Western University is the only school in Canada that provides the two additional courses required by The College of Pedorthics of Canada to apply for the C. Ped (C) examination (Pedorthic Approach to Footwear and Footwear Modification and Foot Orthoses Theory).
When can I take the C. Ped (C) and C. Ped Tech (C) examinations?
The College of Pedorthics of Canada holds two exam sessions each year: one in the spring and one in the fall. The spring session of the C. Ped (C) is held the second Saturday in March and the fall session is held the first Saturday after Thanksgiving. Only candidates who pass the written examination can take the practical examination which is scheduled for the first Saturday in May and the last Saturday in November.
Where can I write the C. Ped (C) and C. Ped Tech (C) examinations?
There are examination centres in Vancouver, Calgary, Winnipeg, Toronto and Halifax. French speaking candidates may write the exam in French.
How do I register for the C. Ped (C) and C. Ped Tech (C) examinations?
To register for the examinations and to see sample questions view the application forms for each exam at www.cpedcs.ca/certification.htm
What are the job opportunities for newly trained Pedorthists?
The employment prospects for new graduates are excellent! In the last five years, the pedorthic profession in Canada has grown by 50 per cent and it continues to grow. With an increased awareness of the benefits of custom foot orthotics and appropriate footwear, and an aging population that wants to remain active, the number of patients looking for a footcare specialist is on the rise.
What is the starting salary for a newly trained Pedorthist?
According to a survey completed by PAC in 2011, the average total earnings for C. Ped (C)s with less than two years of experience is $40,300. The same survey revealed the mean income for Canadian Certified Pedorthists is $67,000.
Is a career in pedorthics right for me?
Pedorthics is an excellent career choice for kinesiology and science students who want a career in healthcare that is challenging and rewarding. Pedorthists have a lot of flexibility to determine the shape of their career. For the entrepreneurial, there are options to buy a pedorthic franchise or open their own independent practice. Some pedorthists work for others in a pedorthic facility or within a larger multidisciplinary environment. While many pedorthists work full time at one location, others choose to work providing pedorthic services to a number of multidisciplinary clinics or have more than one pedorthic clinic to service several geographic areas. Pedorthics provides many options depending on your career goals, your location and your own preferences for work-life balance. A career in pedorthics combines clinical and technical skills in challenging ways that allow you to use your academic and practical training to make a real difference in the lives of the people you treat.
I’m interested in becoming a Pedorthist. What’s my first step?
A good place to start would be to review the educational and practical experience requirements for the C. Ped (C) examination. Assessing what requirements you already hold and what you need to complete to qualify will give you an indication of how much time and commitment will be necessary.