Every student in Jackson State’s 2019 Occupational Therapist Assistant program passed the recent national board exam required for certification, licensure, and employment.
“The 100% pass rate on the national boards reflects the strength of our program,” said Julie Bezold, Jackson State’s Occupational Therapy Assistant Program Director. “It also shows current and prospective students that we provide them with the education they need to succeed in this field.”
The exam is administered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy, and it is taken by students after they graduate.
Occupational therapy assistants work with occupational therapists to help patients at all stages of life develop or improve the skills needed to participate in everyday activities to enjoy independent and productive lives. Their patients are often living with an injury, illness or disability.
The two-year Occupational Therapist Assistant program, which is housed in the new 40,000-square-foot Health Sciences Building, combines academic and fieldwork training to prepare students for a career in occupational therapy. The program was developed to help fill a shortage in the region, as many medical facilities have difficulty finding occupational therapy assistants to hire.
“There is a huge need for this program,” Bezold said. “The demand for occupational therapy assistants continues to grow, in part because of the aging elderly population.”
Jackson State’s program is relatively new. It was certified by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education in 2016 after an extensive process that began in 2013. The first class started in August 2015 and graduated in May 2017.
Each cohort has 12 students. Altogether, 33 students in three graduating classes have taken the national exam, and 94% have passed.
The Occupational Therapy Assistant program joins other programs with successful pass rates at Jackson State. The school’s Radiologic Technology program routinely earns 100% pass rates. And in 2017, every student who graduated from the school’s Nursing program passed the National Council Licensure Examination on his or her first attempt.