With high passing rates, WITC grads ready to work
(9/14/10): The results of recent national certification
exams prove without a doubt that Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College
graduates are prepared for successful careers in the health care field.
Graduates of WITC's nursing and
Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA) programs
recently sat for national boards and exams, and an overwhelming majority passed.
The National Board for Certification in Occupational
Therapy recently reported to the college that 100 percent of the WITC students
who took the exam last year passed. According to OTA Program Director Mari Jo
Ulrich, in 2009, the OTA program had 19 test candidates with 100 percent pass
rate on the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT)
Exam. The national average pass rate during this time was 86 percent.
"I'm very proud of the students and their efforts," Ulrich
said. "This is the first step to practicing as an OTA." In the state of
Wisconsin, OTAs must also seek a state license.
This is the third year in a row that Ulrich's students have
had a 100 percent pass rate. Ulrich and the other program instructors strive to
ensure their students' success on the exam by providing them with the knowledge
and skills they'll be tested on.
"We're given a 'blue print' of the exam," she said. So they
know what sort of competencies their students will be tested on during the
four-hour, 200-question multiple choice exam. She said the program also models
their tests after the national exam, mirroring the multiple choice critical
thinking questions used by NBCOT.
The state's nursing program is also designed to give its
graduates every opportunity to succeed on their national boards. The efforts
have paid off — the Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College pass rate for
National Council Licensure Examination- Practical Nurse (NCLEXPN) was 97 percent
of the 127 candidates who took the exam during the past 2 years, while the
national average was 86 percent.
The WITC pass rate for the National Council Licensure
Examination-Registered Nurse (NCLEX-RN) was 92 percent of the 171 candidates who
took the exam during the past two years, while the national average was 88
"As a new member of the WITC
Associate Degree Nursing team,
I am extremely proud of the accomplishments of the program and of the students
that are committed to personal success," said Becky Birchmeier, an ADN
instructor for the Ashland Campus. "I believe that the success of the nursing
program here at WITC is a direct reflection of the hard work put forth by
administration, the academic deans, the instructors and the excellent support
As in the OTA program, the nursing program instructors are
given a national exam blueprint, and all of the nursing program exams are
modeled after the national exam, according to Birchmeier.
"Additionally, we administer ATI exams throughout the
program to prepare the students for the national exam, as well as serve to
inform the students and instructor of the student's strengths and weaknesses in
specific content areas," she said.
Both occupational therapy assistants and nursing
professionals will be in high demand, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor
Statistics. The demand for OTAs could grow by as much as 30 percent by 2018.
While employment for LPNs and registered nurses will grow by 21 percent and 22