Penn State DuBois OTA program achieves 100% pass rate

OTA students lead senior in an excercise.

OTA students leading a recent fall prevention program for area seniors at St. Michael’s Terrace Senior Living Community in DuBois.

Credit: Steve Harmic

DuBOIS, Pa. – Faculty, students, and recent alumni of the Penn State DuBois Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA) program have reason to celebrate now that the results of recent certification exams have been tallied. The Penn State DuBois program received a 100% pass rate by students taking exams through the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) in 2021. Penn State DuBois is one of only two schools in Pennsylvania to receive the 100% pass rate last year, for this certification that is required for OTA’s to practice in the United States.

A list of NBCOT pass rates can be found here.

“Our focus from day one is to prepare the students to pass the NBCOT exam because that is the final step in reaching their goal,” said Associate Teaching Professor and OTA Program Director LuAnn Demi Delbrugge. “We do this by getting to know the students well, teaching lots of hands-on practical skills, and providing as many real-life therapy experiences as possible. It’s rewarding to see our program had a 100% pass rate in 2021 because there were many additional challenges in instruction and experiences due to the pandemic. The students worked extremely hard and their efforts paid off.”

Assistant Teaching Professor and OTA Academic Fieldwork Coordinator Amy Fatula added, “The 100% pass rate is reflective of the student-centered approach we take as faculty, and as a campus over their five semesters and beyond. This pass rate is also an indication of how hard the students work to accomplish this goal and prepare for their future. I feel proud of the work that the program faculty put in to being present for our students from day one. I cannot really say why we were so successful compared to others, but I know that we offer many opportunities for students to become more confident in their test-taking skills and clinical knowledge, such as multiple choice exams in classes, faculty-led hands-on fieldwork, exam prep support prior to and after graduation, and one-on-one meetings throughout the program to understand the students' strengths and weaknesses”.

Some of the hands-on learning opportunities students in the program get to experience include fall prevention programs for area seniors offered at assisted living facilities throughout the region, where they have the opportunity to work with people outside of the classroom. This gives them experience in planning and educating older adults in fall prevention as well as opportunities to interact and build rapport with people – skills they will use in future practice.

Fatula said, “Our graduates are always sought from local employers. Employers reach out to us directly asking for us to share opportunities with our graduates based on the reputation we have built.”

Graduates of the program will continue to serve their community members by offering educational programs and therapy that will help people to stay safe in their home and to recover from injuries. Career opportunities for graduates include working in public and private schools, early intervention programs, general, psychiatric, and pediatric hospitals, day treatment centers, hospices and home health agencies, rehabilitation hospitals and centers, and more. For more information on the Penn State DuBois Occupational Therapy Assistant program visit

Incoming Penn State DuBois Chancellor Jungwoo Ryoo congratulated OTA faculty and students saying, “We know that 100% of anything is a phenomenal feat, and accomplishing the perfect pass rate is a true testament to how dedicated our students, faculty and staff are to student success.”

Penn State DuBois Interim Chancellor Ping Werner added, “J.R. and I are extremely pleased to see our OTA program achieve a 100% pass rate for 2021. We are very proud of our students and faculty, and we congratulate them on this significant accomplishment!”

An OTA Visitation Day is scheduled on campus for Monday, April 11, where participants can learn more about the program, meet faculty, discuss financial aid options, and more. Register for OTA Visitation Day at or for more information, contact Admissions at 814-375-4720 or [email protected]

Penn State DuBois awards approximately $500,000 in scholarships to students each year. Virtually all Penn State DuBois students qualify for financial aid. Learn more from the Office of Financial Aid at Penn State DuBois.