HANCEVILLE, Ala. — The latest graduates of the Occupational Therapy Assistant program at Wallace State Community College provided the program with a 100 percent pass rate for the national board certification exams.

Almost 40 students graduated from the program in 2015 and all of the students who took the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy passed the exam in order to earn their certification as an occupational therapy assistant.

“We’ve been steadily making tweaks to the curriculum to get to the 100 percent pass rate,” said Allen Keener, OTA program director. The perfect marks for the class of 2015 follow pass rates of 97 and 94 percent in 2014 and 2013, respectively.

“It’s exciting,” Keener said. “I’m so proud of the rating and proud of the students for the work that they did.”

Keener said the program customizes its curriculum so that students become familiar with the format of the certification exam, which includes 200 questions over a four-hour period. The exam offers scenarios for which the students must choose the best treatment option. “And the thing that’s always tricky is that more than one option can be correct, or they all could be correct, and they have to pick the absolute best,” Keener said.

To help them prepare for the exam and in their career, instructors provide opportunities for students to determine the best course of action based on a specific scenario.

“We do a lot of low-stake group quizzing,” he said. “It gives them practice discussing why an answer is correct or not in a group setting.” The students learn to look at problem from different points of view provided by others in the group.

The program also offers a preparation seminar and administers a mock quiz to each student right before graduation. “We sit down with each student individually and we review their score and we help them tailor their study plan,” Keener said. Students cannot sit for the exam until after they’ve completed the program, so having that study plan is beneficial, he said.

Students get hands-on experience during 16 weeks of clinical fieldwork. “They’re learning how to take the theoretical and foundational knowledge that they have gained here and apply it to real-life situations,” Keener said.

The OTA program has an average graduation rate of 95 percent over the last three years and an excellent job placement rating, Keener said. Of the 38 graduates from the class of 2015, all who were actively seeking employment have founds jobs in their field.

Wallace State’s Occupational Therapy Assistant program is a five-semester program offering an associate in applied science degree. Applications are currently be accepted for Fall 2016, with a June 1 deadline for applications and completion of prerequisite courses.

For more information about the OTA program, contact Allen Keener at 256.352.8333 or allen.keener@wallacestate.edu. Visit www.wallacestate.edu and go to the Occupational Therapy Assistant page underneath the Health Division programs link to download a program application.