OT students' 97-percent pass rate average tops in nation

Members of the Misericordia University Occupational Therapy Program’s 2012 graduating class recently achieved a pass rate higher than the national average for the second year in a row among first-time test takers for the National Board of Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) examination.

The 97-percent pass rate by the 36-member graduating class exceeds the national average of 85 percent for first-time test takers that took the national licensure examination when it was administered between January and December 2012. Misericordia’s test takers also had a higher total test score average – 487 to 478 – than the national average, according to NBCOT data that was released in March.

“The Misericordia Occupational Therapy Program has been preparing clinically proficient professionals to succeed in a myriad of health care settings for more than 25 years,’’ said Grace Fisher, Ed.D, OTR/L, chair and professor of occupational therapy. “Our program offers students the right blend of personal attention, challenging academics and the hands-on clinical experiences they need to be compassionate, successful clinicians.’’

In 2011, Misericordia University’s first-time test takers scored a 93-percent pass rate, which also exceeded the national average of 84 percent. Overall, Misericordia University first-time test takers from 2010 to 2012 have achieved a 95-percent pass rate on the national certification exam. The national pass rate, according to NBCOT data for the same period, was 84 percent.

Misericordia University offers a five-year, entry-level master’s degree program in occupational therapy for students who are embarking on their collegiate careers and would like to become occupational therapists. MU also has a weekend program for people who already are certified occupational therapy assistants or who have a bachelor’s degree in a field other than occupational therapy and would like to become qualified OTs. A post-professional pediatric certificate program for practicing OTs, as well as a post-professional master’s degree and doctoral program in OT also are available. Misericordia University Occupational Therapy faculty members Gwen Bartolacci, O.T.D., O.T.R./L.; Joseph Cipriani, Ed.D., O.T.R./L.; Jennifer Dessoye, O.T.D., M.S., O.T.R./L., Dawn Evans, M.S., O.T.R./L.; Suzanne Lennon, M.S., O.T.R./L.; Amy Lynch, Ph.D., O.T.R./L.; Ellen McLaughlin, Ed.D., O.T.R./L.; Lalit Shah, Ed.D., O.T.R./L., and Dr. Fisher have more than 200 years of experience in clinical and academic settings. In addition to the full-time faculty, 20 practicing clinicians from a variety of professional backgrounds serve as adjunct faculty members. They include occupational therapists from rehabilitation, psychiatric programs, and school and private practices, as well as professionals from clinical psychology, optometry and special education.

For more information about the Misericordia University Occupational Therapy Program, please log in to or call (570) 674-6481. Founded and Sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy in 1924, Misericordia University is Luzerne County’s first four-year college and offers 37 degree programs in three colleges in full- and part-time formats.