The program debuted with 55 students from broad backgrounds, said Maitra. “They can have a B.A. in any area, but we often see students who have come in contact with OT services, maybe from knowing a family member who benefitted from it or working with children with developmental concerns.
“We also get a lot of applications from engineering students,” Maitra said. “One thing that attracts them is the idea of wanting to help people and to be in health care without spending 10 to 15 years becoming a doctor.”
When the last of the initial cohort took the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy exam late last year, the program’s success was firmly established: All of the students had passed, making them eligible to apply for OT licenses in Georgia and other states.
“For an inaugural program, having a 100% pass rate is exceptional,” said Maitra. “We had a highly competent class with high GPAs and GRE scores.”
One of those students was Hayden George, an Inman Park resident who earned an undergraduate degree from UGA in family and consumer sciences.
“I wanted to get my first job in Atlanta, and Georgia State is located within proximity of these well-known hospitals that could offer me experience as a first-year practitioner,” she said. “I knew from the minute I went to the orientation that I wanted to do it. The program offered mentorship that gave me the confidence to go out into the field.”
George interned at Grady Memorial and was then hired. “I went in thinking I’d do pediatrics and came out loving geriatrics. GSU helped me find that.”
Maitra said the department has been getting about 600 applications for 45 spaces. “It’s highly competitive,” he said. “We’re already nationally ranked. We’re now moving on to having a doctoral program that’s been approved by the Board of Regents. If all goes well, look for that next year.”
Information about GSU’s OT master’s is online at lewis.gsu.edu/ot.
SEND US YOUR STORIES. Each week we look at programs, projects and successful endeavors at area schools, from pre-K to grad school. To suggest a story, contact H.M. Cauley at [email protected] or 770-744-3042.