Technical Standards and Essential Functions

The Doctorate of Physical Therapy Program at the University of Mount Union is committed to the policy that all persons shall have equal access without regard to race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex, age, marital status, disability, or sexual orientation status.

The Doctor of Physical Therapy Program at Mount Union has established Technical Standards for its program delineating the minimum physical, cognitive, emotional, and social requirements necessary to participate fully in all aspects of academic and clinical education. The following essential functional requirements must be met by all students after acceptance into the Doctor of Physical Therapy program. In the event that a student is unable, or becomes unable, to fulfill these technical standards, with or without reasonable accommodation, the student cannot enroll or remain enrolled in the program. Reasonable accommodations may not:

  • Fundamentally alter the nature of the training program
  • Compromise the essential elements of the program
  • Cause any undue financial or administrative burden
  • Endanger the safety of patients, self, or others


With this in mind, all students must be able to meet the following technical standards with or without reasonable accommodations.


Behavioral Attributes

            Students must be able to perform self-evaluation and self-learning skills assessments, incorporate the roles of a physical therapist, and comply with the ethical standards of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA). Students ought to seek to optimize health and hygiene; acknowledge and respect the values and opinions of colleagues/patients in order to sustain safe and balanced interactions with others. Students need to value professionalism in physical therapy, execute treatment procedures consistent with the patient/client’s needs.


Communication Skills

            Students must demonstrate appropriate interpersonal skills necessary for effective verbal, nonverbal and written communications for patients/clients, families, classroom interactions, and other professionals. Students must be able to receive, write, interpret, and send written and verbal communication in academic and clinical settings in routine and emergency situations. Effective communication includes and is not limited to asking questions, explaining procedures, teaching exercises/activities, describing conditions/syndromes to peers, faculty, staff, patient/clients, and other health care professionals.


Intellectual-Conceptual, Integrative and Quantitative Abilities

            Students must be able to collect and utilize information obtained during classroom, laboratory, and clinical assessment activities independently to formulate physical therapy diagnosis. Students should be able to apply critical thinking skills in all settings to determine behavioral, biomechanical, environmental, pathological, and physical influences on a patient/clients function. When conducting physical therapy examinations and evaluations it will be necessary for students to maintain information to formulate, execute, reassess, and if necessary modify treatment and intervention plans. Students should engage in the scientific inquiry process and utilize theories of teaching and learning in community settings.


Motor Skills

            Students must demonstrate the necessary balance, coordination, endurance, fine and gross motor skills, and strength to dynamically maintain upright postures in the classroom, laboratory, and clinical settings for 35-40 hours a week. Students will need to safely and efficiently guard, maneuver, position, resist, and administer exercises and activities to another individual. Students must be able to administer CPR in accordance with the American Red Cross or American Heart Association guidelines for professional rescuers.  Manual dexterity and sensation is necessary not only for documentation but for palpating soft tissue structures, bony landmarks, muscle tone, and temperature changes in an individual.


Observational Skills

            A student’s observational skills involve hearing, somatic, and visual sensations. Students must be able to observe lecture and laboratory demonstrations, as well as recognize and interpret visual information from patients, clients, classmates, and faculty. Students need to perceive information from treatment equipment, treatment environment, and changes in color of skin and/or body fluids. Students must be able to notice and interpret variations in auscultation/auditory evaluation for apical pulses, blood pressure, heart, joint noise, lungs, and prostheses.


Social Skills

            Students must possess the emotional health and stability required for the full utilization of their intellectual abilities, for the exercise of good judgment, for the prompt completion of all responsibilities of patient care, and for the development of mature, sensitive and effective relationships with patients/clients.  Student must exhibit the ability to tolerate physically challenging environments and function effectively under stress. In order to prove that students are able to adapt to changing environments they must exhibit flexibility, compassion, integrity, motivation, interpersonal skills, and learn to function in the face of uncertainties inherent in the clinical problems of patients.


The University of Mount Union abides by the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and other applicable statutes and regulations relating to equal access for persons with disabilities.  If a person believes they may require accommodation(s) in order to meet the technical standards, they can discuss their needs with the Director of the Office of Student Accessibility Services (Room 88 Hoover Price Campus Center, phone 330-823-7372, e-mail  The Director will request and review documentation from a qualified licensing professional to determine eligibility for services.  If eligible for reasonable accommodations, SAS will work collaboratively with the student and the DPT program to explore accommodation options. Accommodation may not be possible in some cases.


After being admitted to the program, all candidates for admission to the Doctor of Physical Therapy program will be required to sign a Technical Standards certificate verifying that they understand and meet these technical standards. Identifying the possession of such skills as outlined above does not guarantee successful completion of the physical therapy educational program.

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