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5 years in a row: Occupational therapy grads again receive 100% certification pass rate

Spring flowers around WSSU's Blair Hall

Spring is in bloom at Winston-Salem State University. (2016 file photo)

For the fifth consecutive year, new graduates of Winston-Salem State University’s (WSSU) Master of Science in Occupational Therapy (MSOT) program have received a 100% passage rate on the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) certification examination.

"Our graduates have created quite a legacy for our program,” said Dr. Cynthia Bell, associate professor and chair of the Occupational Therapy Department at WSSU. “This is a testament to the tremendous work of our faculty as they prepare our students to become successful therapists. We have high expectations for those who enter our program, and our students consistently rise to meet and exceed our expectations."

The 30 new graduates who took the exam in 2018 also scored an average of 487 on the exam, well above the national average of 478.

Another point of pride for the program, Bell said, is the successful effort to boost the diversity of OT professionals in North Carolina. The class of 2020 is the most diverse cohort in program’s history; 40 percent of students are minorities and eight identified themselves as males.

The efforts are supported through a School of Health Sciences (SOHS) assurance agreement, the first for an HBCU, and a $2.4 million U.S. Department of Education HBCU Graduate Fellowship grant, which provided scholarships to seven incoming students.

Occupational therapists serve patients with physical, mental and cognitive disorders, and help them participate in everyday activities through personalized evaluation and intervention to improve their ability to perform activities.

According to U.S. Labor data, employment of occupational therapists in North Carolina is projected to grow 26 percent over the next 10 years, much faster than the average for all occupations. Occupational therapist is no. 4 on Glassdoor’s list of “50 Best Jobs in America for 2019.”

WSSU offers the only master’s-level occupational therapy program in the Piedmont Triad.

This news follows the announcement last month that 2018 graduates of the Doctor of Physical Therapy program received a 100% first-time passage rate for the third consecutive year.

Both programs are part of WSSU’s School of Health Sciences, which annually enrolls more than 1,500 students in undergraduate and graduate nursing and allied health disciplines.

About Winston-Salem State University
Winston-Salem State University fosters the creative thinking, analytical problem-solving, and depth of character needed to transform the world. Rooted in liberal education, WSSU’s curriculum prepares students to be thought leaders who have the skills and knowledge needed to develop innovative solutions to complex problems. Founded in 1892, WSSU is a historically Black constituent institution of the University of North Carolina with a rich tradition of contributing to the social, cultural, intellectual, and economic growth of North Carolina, the region and beyond. Guided by the motto, “Enter to Learn, Depart to Serve,” WSSU develops leaders who advance social justice by serving the world with compassion and commitment.

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