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Technical Standards

Candidates for entry in the Pathologists' Assistant Program must possess certain abilities and skills to function effectively and meet the safety and technical requirements in a broad variety of classroom, laboratory and clinical settings. 

Each candidate will be reviewed individually. The Admissions Committee requests that the candidate assesses the required qualities and understands the school's expectations.

Many handicaps can be accommodated reasonably and without undue hardship. The purpose of this document is to act as a benchmark for the capabilities and skills needed in a candidate for the Pathologists' Assistant program.

I. Observation

Candidates must be able to observe close up and at a distance. In a clinical situation, visual skills are necessary to observe microscopic studies and tissues in normal and pathological states. Observation is important in order to elicit information and describe changes from the "normal". Such observation and information acquisition necessitates the functional use of visual, auditory and somatic sensation while being enhanced by the functional use of other sensory modalities.

II. Communication

Communication encompasses speech, hearing and writing. A candidate must be able to speak, to hear and to observe by sight in order to elicit information, describe changes, and perceive nonverbal communications. This would include facial changes, gesturing and posturing. The candidate must be able to communicate effectively and sensitively in oral and written form, with faculty, fellow students, staff, patients, and families, as well as all members of the health care team. 

III. Motor

It is required that candidates possess the motor skills necessary to directly perform basic laboratory tests and diagnostic procedures. Such actions require coordination of both gross and fine muscular movements, equilibrium and  functional use of the senses of touch and vision. This requirement also includes but is not limited to the use of an electronic keyboard. The candidate must possess the motor skills necessary to perform postmortem examinations to include prosection, selection and preparation of tissues for examination. He/she must be able to complete the autopsy protocol to include photography, coding of specimens and filing of reports. In association with the pathologist the candidate must possess the skills to dissect surgical specimens and prepare tissues for microscopic examination to include the preparation of frozen and permanent sections for light, electron and immuno-fluorescent microscopy. The candidate must also possess the motor skills necessary to operate specific instruments and perform special techniques as directed by the pathologist. Therefore the candidate must be able to move freely and safely about a laboratory and reach bench tops or shelves. The student must be able to travel to clinical affiliate sites  for practical experience. Furthermore, the student must perform moderately taxing continuous physical work, often requiring prolonged sitting or standing, over several hours.

IV. Intellectual-Conceptual (Integrative and Quantitative) Abilities

The candidate must be able to measure, calculate, reason, analyze, integrate, synthesize and apply problem solving and critical thinking skills in a timely manner. In addition, the candidate must be able to comprehend three-dimensional relationships and to understand the spatial relationships of structures. He/she must have the mental ability to assimilate, learn and communicate large volumes of complex, technically detailed information in a timely manner. They must be able to apply the concepts and information they obtain.

V. Behavioral and Social Attributes

The candidate must possess the emotional health required for full utilization of his/her intellectual abilities. They need to exercise good judgment, self-control, and prompt completion of patient/specimen assessment and provide accurate documentation of procedures. The candidate is expected to behave and develop relationships in a mature, sensitive and professional manner with patients, families and members of the health care team. He/she must be flexible, adapt to changing situations and deal with physically and mentally taxing workloads.  He/she needs to be able to obtain information, process it and prioritize activities effectively and collaboratively. The candidate must be able to critically evaluate his/her own performance, accept constructive criticism, and investigate avenues to improve. Compassion, integrity, concern for others, interpersonal skills, interest and motivation are all personal qualities that will be assessed during the admissions and educational process.

Please review these technical standards for the Pathologists' Assistant Program. If you have any questions about these standards or other policies as they pertain to the Americans with Disabilities Act, please contact: Elizabeth Friedman, ADA Coordinator Office of Student Affairs at 847-578-8482 or

Note: If a candidate's ability to acquire and communicate information through vision, hearing, or sensory modalities is impaired they must demonstrate alternative 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. It must be a reasonable accommodation and not an undue hardship for the University. 

An effort will be made to work out potential difficulties as long as this does not pose a threat to the well-being of patients, other students, faculty, other health care team members or the candidate themselves.