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Technical Standards

Candidates for entry to and students in the Doctor of Physical Therapy program must possess certain abilities to function effectively and meet the safety and technical requirements in a broad variety of classroom, laboratory and clinical settings. These essential abilities include:

  • Observation Skills: Candidates must be able to observe close up and at a distance, to assess and monitor patient status and response to therapeutic intervention and to view monitoring For example, in a clinical situation, visual observation skills are necessary to observe skin color and integrity, edema, movement patterns, transfers, gait patterns and to appropriately monitor cardiopulmonary function.
    The candidate must be able to view information on written documents, slides, overhead projectors and videotapes used in the classroom setting. The candidate must be able to observe demonstrations and experiments in the basic sciences including microscopic studies of microorganisms and tissues in normal and pathological states. The candidate must be able to view demonstrations and materials presented in the classroom.
    The candidate must be able to read and gain information from patient charts, graphs, X- rays, technical equipment or other testing forms. Visual observation is essential to elicit information on attitude and mood, and to perceive nonverbal communication.
  • Communication Skills: Communication encompasses speech, hearing and The candidate must be able to communicate effectively in oral and written form, with faculty, patients, their families and significant others, as well as members of the healthcare team. This also includes nonverbal communication.
    Communication with patients as well as other healthcare providers is necessary to assess, evaluate and provide optimal instruction to clients in a multidisciplinary healthcare environment.
  • Motor Skills: The candidate must possess the motor skills necessary to directly examine and administer interventions to Examples of examinations and interventions include: palpation, auscultation, positioning, transfers, gait activities, manual muscle testing and mobilization. The candidate must be able to perform multifactor tasks such as monitoring cardiopulmonary response concurrently with exercise testing and training. The candidate must be able to assess emergency situations and deliver basic first aid and CPR.
  • Intellectual (Integrative and Quantitative) Skills: The candidate must be able to measure, calculate, reason, analyze, integrate, synthesize and apply problem-solving and critical thinking skills in a timely They must have the mental ability to assimilate, learn and communicate large volumes of complex, technically detailed information in a timely manner and be able to apply the concepts and information they obtain to formulate evaluative and therapeutic judgments. They need to be able to obtain information, process it and prioritize activities effectively and collaboratively.
  • Behavioral and Social Skills: The candidate must possess the emotional health required for full utilization of their intellectual They must exercise good judgment and self-control for prompt completion of patient assessment and preparation of a plan of treatment, provide therapeutic intervention, progress the patient appropriately and provide accurate documentation of these procedures. The candidate is expected to behave and develop relationships in a mature, sensitive and professional manner with patients, families and significant others, and members of the healthcare team. They must be flexible, adapt to changing situations and deal with physically and mentally taxing workloads. They need to demonstrate integrity and concern for others, and possess strong interpersonal skills, interest and motivation to be a physical therapist.

Note: If a candidate’s ability to acquire and communicate information through vision, hearing or sensory modalities is impaired, they must demonstrate alternative acceptable means and/or abilities to assimilate the information and demonstrate that the essential information can be conveyed in this fashion.

If the alternatives are acceptable, it is expected that the obtaining and using of such alternative means shall be the shared responsibility of the student and the university. An alternative must be a reasonable accommodation and not an undue hardship for the university. Reasonable accommodations may not:

Fundamentally alter the nature of the training program

  • Compromise the essential elements of the program
  • Cause an undue financial or administrative burden
  • Endanger the safety of patients, self or others

Efforts will be made to circumvent potential difficulties as long as this does not pose a threat to the well-being of patients, other students, faculty, other healthcare team members or the candidate themselves.

If you have any questions about these standards or other policies as they pertain to the Americans with Disabilities Act, please contact Beth Friedman, ADA Coordinator and Director, Academic Affairs at 847-578-8482 or email