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The following is a list of essential functions that a student must be capable of performing while enrolled in the Physical Therapist Assistant Program.

Motor Skills

A student must be able to:

  • Sit in class for up to 7 hours per day.
  • Safely bend, lift, twist, push, pull, and transfer up to 200 pounds to assist in moving a patient from one surface to another.
  • Palpate anatomical structures and handle injured body parts without causing injury to the patient.
  • Give manual resistance to a patient’s arm, leg, or trunk during exercise.
  • Move with adequate agility and speed to ensure patient safety.
  • Walk and balance well enough to help patients walk and transfer with or without equipment, while preventing injury to patient and self.
  • Safely grasp and manipulate small objects and set dials on electrical equipment.
  • Use equipment that emits electrical, ultrasonic, and thermal energy.


Observational and Sensory Skills

A student must be able to:

  • Use visual, auditory, and tactile senses to observe patients and collect and interpret data.
  • Read and interpret equipment dials, patient charts, professional literature, and notes from patients, physicians, and other health professionals.
  • Respond to warning sounds, machine alarms, and calls for help.


Communication Skills

A student must be able to:

  • Communicate effectively in English in verbal and written formats with faculty, peers, patients, families, and other health professionals.
  • Report clearly and legibly through progress notes in patient charts.


Intellectual and Conceptual Skills

A student must be able to:

  • Meet class standards for successful course completion.
  • Collect, interpret, and integrate data about patients.


Behavioral and Social Attitudes

A student must be able to:

  • Recognize and respond appropriately to individuals of all ages, genders, and races, and from all socio-economic, religious, and cultural backgrounds.
  • Cope with stress of heavy work-loads, demanding patients, and life-threatening clinical situations.
  • Recognize and respond appropriately to potentially hazardous situations.
  • Demonstrate the physical and emotional capacity to work a 40-hour week while on clinical affiliation.
  • Behave in an ethically sound, competent, compassionate, and professional manner in the classroom and in the clinic.