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College of the Ozarks Allied Health Science Program reaches 100-graduate milestone with Class of 2024

The graduating class of 2024 marks a milestone with the largest group of students entering graduate programs.

POINT LOOKOUT, MO — College of the Ozarks Interdisciplinary Allied Health Science Program reported reaching the 100 graduate milestone with the class of 2024.

In 2008, the first graduates of Allied Health completed the program. Since the program’s inception, 100 students have completed the degree with 51 currently enrolled. The Allied Health Science Program is now the largest major in the Physical Education Department. In total, graduates have entered professions in 26 different Allied Health fields. Students in Physical Therapy have experienced acceptance rates of over 90 percent in comparison to 37 percent nationally.

The program also reported the successful acceptance of 11 students into graduate programs this year. The graduating class of 2024 marks another milestone, with the largest group of students entering graduate programs. Of the 11 students accepted, all will attend Missouri State University in their respective fields. Five will be enrolled in the Doctor of Physical Therapy Program, followed by four in the master's degree program in Occupational Therapy, one in Athletic Training, and one in Exercise Science.

The Allied Health degree is administered by the Physical Education Department. In response to a public need for the preparation of graduate students in the allied health professions, Dr. Donald Hoeck, professor of physical education, and Dr. Gary Turbak, professor of physical education, responded with the development of the Allied Health Science degree.

Physical Therapy is the most popular choice for students who are continuing their education and has 17 students who have completed or are currently enrolled in graduate programs. Occupational Therapy falls next, with eight students pursuing their master’s degree in the field. The fields of Physical Therapy Assistant, Registered Nurse, and Exercise Science all have three students pursuing those respective fields.

“Students completing programs following our Allied Health degree have made significant contributions to our communities,” Hoeck said. “Impacted by their years at C of O, the students have learned professional skills, personal work ethic, and character acquired throughout their education.”

Tyler Battles, C of O alumnus and orthopedic physical therapist at CoxHealth, felt that the C of O Allied Health Program prepared him well for furthering his career after graduation.

“The Allied Health Science Program prepared me by setting the foundation needed to progress in my skills, knowledge, and experience that eventually led to working as a doctor of physical therapy,” Tyler Battles said. “Although there is no true way of preparing for a doctorate program, I believe I was well prepared in content because of the Allied Health Science Program at C of O. I would not be where I am today without help from faculty, coworkers, and peers throughout my journey at C of O.”

The above press release is from the College of the Ozarks.

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