How to become a certified mastectomy fitter

Becoming a certified post-mastectomy fitter is easy. Let’s take a look at the process and maybe learn a few basic definitions.

What is post-mastectomy? 

Post Mastectomy means “after a mastectomy.” It describes professional medical services required after a Certified Mastectomy Fitter is a trained professional who provides healthcare services required after a mastectomy whether the services are needed due to breast cancer, trauma, prophylactic mastectomy, or genetically induced developmental conditions of the breast.

A mastectomy fitter is a Certified and Licensed healthcare professional trained in post-mastectomy care.

Post-mastectomy items and services

Mastectomy items and services include all types of external breast prostheses, including custom; pocketed garments, treatment of lymphedema, and post-surgical compression garments. These are healthcare items because they treat conditions that have resulted from diseases and treatment of diseases of the breast.

 Additional items often considered post-mastectomy are fashion clothing specifically designed to accommodate breast surgeries, such as head and neck scarves, wigs, head beanies, cooling caps, bathing suits, and easy wear items. In addition, there are many new lingerie and fashion designers that focus exclusively on post-mastectomy or cancer care designs.

Learn, Fit, Certify.

Learn

If you are interested in mastectomy fitter certification, the rewards are worth the effort. The process is straightforward, but it does take time – about six months from start to finish if that is your full-time focus.

First, you need to learn the basics of Post-mastectomy fitting. Many companies and organizations offer a pre-certification post-mastectomy fitter course. While they differ in length, most courses last about 8-10 hours. Although classes also vary in availability and cost (about $150), they must meet the basic requirements of an Approved pre-certification course.  

To ensure that you are taking the proper course, check with your post-mastectomy lingerie manufacturer or the Certifying Organization’s approved lists. There are two Certifying Organizations for post-mastectomy, the American Board for Certification and the Board for Certification. Both certify post-mastectomy fitters and list approved courses on their websites.

Fit

Knowledge and expertise come with experience.  

The second step in the path to post-mastectomy Certification is to gain experience. You will need to learn both the fitting and the details of running a post-mastectomy business. In addition, to sit for the certification exam, you will need to gain at least 125 hours (BOC) or 250 hours (ABC) of “internship hours” working directly under a Certified Fitter. 

Certify

The third step may be the most difficult for some.

Sign up for and take the Certification Exam.

Certification in post-mastectomy fitting requires a computer-based, 100-150 question multiple-choice standardized exam administered by pre-approved organizations. In addition, there are study aids and online practice exams. The book you received from your pre-certification course is also a good study guide.

There are two Certifying Organizations. The American Board of Certification and the Board for Orthotic Certification, both national, non-profit organizations, provide Certification in post-mastectomy and continuing professional oversight. Equal in test difficulty, there is a slight difference in cost, pre-certification requirements, test availability, and continuing education requirements. 

Therefore, choosing which Certifying Organization you want at the beginning of your path will determine much.

Being a certified post-mastectomy fitter, is it worth it?

Keep in mind that a Certified Post Mastectomy Fitter can work anywhere and is a specialized and growing professional designation. They can even open up their boutique. 

In addition, a Certified Fitter is a member of the allied health profession, Orthotics & Prosthetics. Some states require a post-mastectomy fitter to be both Certified and Licensed. Also, the United States is currently the only country with a certification training program for post-mastectomy fitters. However, AABCP is working with a sister organization to expand post-mastectomy fitter training and Certification internationally.

Fitters meet both men and women at a critical time in their lives – the next stage in their breast cancer treatment continuum.

If this sounds like you, we encourage you to read on! And Good Luck!