25.8 million Americans of all ages have diabetes, states the National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse (2011).
According to Belew Drug Family of Pharmacies, approximately 38,000 diabetics “have a lower extremity amputation” each year, and that “foot problems are the most common diabetes complication leading to hospitalizations”.
Therapeutic shoes, also known as diabetic shoes, are prescribed by doctors to those with poor circulation or diabetes to prevent such complications as ulcers, calluses and severe conditions leading to amputations, as well as to enhance mobility.
Qualified professionals must fit patients with therapeutic shoes.At Belew Drugs, Melinda Crowley fills this expert role. And guess what? Crowley is both a Certified Pharmacy Technician and a Certified Fitter of Therapeutic Shoes.
Certified Pharmacy Technician/Fitter of Therapeutic Shoes
The American Board for Certification in Orthotics and Prosthetics, Inc (ABC) administers a number of certifications, including the ABC Certified Fitter-Therapeutic Shoes (ABC CFts) credential.
In 2012, the ABC released its report (Practice Analysis of ABC Certified Therapeutic Shoe Fitters) describing the results from surveying 230 ABC Certified Therapeutic Shoe Fitters. Some of the highlights from their findings include:
- 25% of ABC CFts worked in a pharmacy setting.
- 25% were supervised by a pharmacist
- A number also held additional credentials (including 11% being ABC Certified Orthotic Fitters and 3.5% being licensed pharmacists). “Of those indicating they held Other credentials, the most frequently mentioned was Certified Pharmacy Technician (CPhT),” states the ABC’s 2012 report.
Earning Your ABC CFts Credential
Would you like to become a part of the group of pharmacy technicians earning complimentary certifications such as ABC’s Certified Fitter-Therapeutic Shoes (ABC CFts)?
“An ABC certified fitter-therapeutic shoes is a health care professional who is specifically educated and trained to provide non-custom therapeutic shoes and non-custom multi-density inserts,” states the ABC (in its document ‘ABC Certified Fitter-Therapeutic Shoes’). “This includes patient assessment, formulation of a treatment plan, implementation of the treatment plan, follow-up and practice management.”
To gain the credential, you must pass ABC’s certification exam. To qualify to write the exam, you must:
- Have successfully completed High School or a GED program (or a higher degree, i.e. from a college/university).
- Complete a therapeutic shoe fitter course that is approved by the NCOPE (National Commission on Orthotic & Prosthetic Education). Courses are offered online, in the classroom, or with live and online components. (Visit www.ncope.org/fitter_education for more information).
- Complete 250 hours of therapeutic shoe-fitting experience (ideally after completing the course).
Continuous Learning and Expanding Your Expertise
In any field, it’s always advantageous to continuously learn and upgrade skills. It’s also beneficial to gain complimentary certifications.
Whether you want to become a Certified Fitter of Therapeutic Shoes, a Certified Fitter of Orthotics, or something completely different (from gaining Compounding Certification to Chemo Certification), it will help increase your expertise and the services you are able to provide patients, open new career doors or expand your role at your current workplace.