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SHE Grads Beat National Averages on Licensing Exams

Results Reflect on Quality of Programs

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SHE graduates beat national averages on licensing and certification exams.SHE graduates beat national averages on licensing and certification exams.

04/01/2011
By Karen Angelo

Graduates in the School of Health and Environment (SHE) nursing, medical technology and physical therapy programs have achieved consistent above-average pass rates on board examinations they must take to practice in their fields.

“I am proud of the excellence of our graduates that has resulted in high pass rates on licensure and certification examinations, especially in comparison to the pass rates of other university programs within the region and across the nation,” says Dean Shortie McKinney of the School of Health and Environment. 

“These high rates reflect the quality and hard work of our students, the dedication of our faculty and the excellence of our programs that provide a deep foundation in the sciences combined with clinical and laboratory experiences.”

In all three programs, UMass Lowell pass rates have exceeded the national average:

  • Touting a 95 percent pass rate in 2010 on the national exam for registered nurses, UMass Lowell nursing graduates attained a higher rate than the Massachusetts state average of 86.8 percent and the national average of 87.4. For the past five years, UMass Lowell rates have topped 90 percent.
  • Medical Technology graduates have achieved a 92 percent average pass rate for the past five years on the national medical laboratory scientist board exam, with some classes achieving a 100 percent pass rate. Graduates rank higher than the national pass rate of 77 percent for university programs during this same time period. 
  • The 2010 class of doctor of physical therapy graduates achieved a 100 percent first-time pass rate on the national physical therapy exam, compared to the national average of 89 percent and the Massachusetts average of 91.5 percent. The overall pass rates for the past eight years have reached 100 percent.
What’s UMass Lowell’s Secret Sauce?

Kyle Coffey, a 2010 physical therapy graduate, passed the national board exam in July and began work in August at Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates in Chelmsford. Exams are always stressful, but Coffey says the UMass Lowell program had prepared him with the critical-thinking skills necessary to not only pass the test the first time but to be a successful professional independent clinician.

“The professors provided me with the tools to understand the skills through lectures and assignments, but they also allowed for an academic distance that required me to develop these skills on my own,” says Coffey. 

“The faculty is great. They challenge you to be the best student possible so when you graduate and enter the real world, you are prepared to become the most professional physical therapist out there. My education at UMass Lowell allows me to be competitive in any setting or with any position.”