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The master's degree will be available to students beginning in the fall of 2024.

Those at George Fox University interested in pursuing a master's degree in occupational therapy can finally do so beginning in less than two years, as another program has been added to the portfolio of the private university.

In a press release, GFU said it would start an occupational therapy program in response to the increased demand for healthcare professionals brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. The graduate occupational therapy program will be available to prospective students beginning in the fall of 2024, the school said.PMG FILE PHOTO - Those at George Fox University interested in pursuing a master's degree in occupational therapy can finally do so beginning in less than two years as another program has been added to the portfolio of the private university.

"The decision comes after the university took several months to evaluate the healthcare landscape in the Northwest, which included dialogue with local partners and extensive market research," the release said. "Nationally, the demand for occupational therapists is expected to grow 16% — much faster than the average for all professions — between 2019 and 2029, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics."

GFU now offers undergraduate degrees in kinesiology, biology and psychology, which it said provides a foundation for students potentially interested in occupational therapy as a career. Now the graduate program will allow students to fully pursue that interest.

"This new program will address a critical need for the region and we believe it will integrate well with existing undergraduate offerings to provide a new pathway toward health professions," GFU President Robin Baker said in the release. "Occupational therapy is a natural extension of our physical therapy and physician assistant graduate programs."

The university added nursing as a major in 2004, physical therapy in 2012, and a physician assistant program in 2021. Additional programs around occupational therapy and in the health care sector generally are being considered, Baker said.

"We are actively engaged in conversations with regional industry organizations in order to determine new partnerships that facilitate future growth," he said in the release.

For more information on the occupational therapy program and all other programs at the university, visit www.georgefox.edu.


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