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Maria College Master of Science in Occupational Therapy (MSOT) receives full accreditation

Press Release

Erin Clary
Director of Communications
Maria College


Maria College Master of Science in Occupational Therapy (MSOT) receives full accreditation

Rapidly growing field is ideal career for people of diverse backgrounds

Albany, NY — Maria College recently received full accreditation status of its Master of Science in Occupational Therapy (MSOT) program by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA).

As this is Maria College’s first graduate degree program, it required an amendment to Maria’s Charter which was granted by the New York State Board of Regents.  The program also required approval by the New York State Department of Education’s Office of Professions. Both were officially granted in July 2020.  It was launched in Fall 2020 and with this final approval, the College will graduate its first cohort in August 2022.

ACOTE concluded that Maria College is compliant with the criteria for all current accreditation standards. Their determination is based on a self-study and supporting evidence prepared by the College in collaboration with members of the college community, as well as participation from students, staff, faculty, and communities of interest during the site visit. 

“The ACOTE accreditation for Maria College’s occupational therapy master’s degree program is a testament to the College’s commitment to its strategic goal of providing opportunities for students and working professionals in the Capital Region,” said Maria College President Dr. Thomas J. Gamble. “As the only accrediting body for this type of program, this accreditation is an official stamp of quality assurance for national standards, one that we anticipate will allow Maria to grow and expand its program for years to come.  I would also like to recognize the efforts of Dr. Anne Jung, Maria’s Chief Academic Officer, and Dr. Donald Kallembach, the program’s founding director, for successfully shepherding a complex approval process during the pandemic.” 

The College may now officially award the Master of Science degree and graduating students can sit for the national certification examination administered by the National Board of Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT). After successful completion of this exam, students will hold the title: Occupational Therapist, Registered (OTR) and can then apply for licensure in the United States.

Occupational Therapy has been a core program of Maria’s for decades, with the College educating hundreds of Occupational Therapy Assistants over the last forty years. With the addition of the MSOT program, students with a bachelor’s degree can expand on their education in a rapidly growing field.

“Maria’s MSOT program is a strategic expansion into a key healthcare field that builds on our already excellent reputation and strengths,” said Maria College MSOT Program Director Donald Kallembach. “We’re taking a unique approach that’s tailored to each student’s interests to offer them opportunity, while also preparing them for the licensure exam.”

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in the next 10 years, there is an estimated 17% job growth in the Occupational Therapy field, much faster than average. Occupational therapists work in schools, hospitals, skilled nursing, other rehab settings and the community.

Maria College encourages applications from adult and non-traditional learners, from second career individuals and those with undergraduate degrees outside of those typically found in occupational therapy. These backgrounds can include but are not limited to the visual and performing arts, psychology, philosophy, education, theology and many other disciplines.

“In occupational therapy, you can use forms of artistic expressions such as visual arts, music and dance in a clinical setting,” said Maria College MSOT Program Director Donald Kallembach. “Creative people make great occupational therapists because they bring passion to a clinical setting in a unique way.”

The program is designed to emphasize opportunity education and to benefit under-served populations with an emphasis on cultural awareness, wellness, and community integration.

Maria College’s 70-credit, full-time program is ideal for working adults. Students meet in-person, on the weekends six times throughout each semester. It is the only weekend-based program in the Capital Region.

Many of Maria’s students are considered “non-traditional” and are going back to college for the second or third time. Admissions for Maria’s MSOT program is designed for this type of student by focusing more on the GPA program requisites rather than a student’s entire GPA. 

The program offers state-of-the-art technology and facilities, small classes and an exceptional student support center, equipped with an in-house occupational therapist that works with students, a program benefit not typically found in other MSOT programs.  

To learn more about Maria College’s MSOT program, visit


About Maria College. Founded in 1958, Maria College is one of 17 colleges and universities in the United States sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas. The private, co-educational, Catholic college in Albany serves approximately 800 students in a variety of bachelor’s degree, associate degree, a master’s degree, and certificate programs including liberal arts, healthcare management, nursing, psychology, occupational therapy, and health and occupational sciences.