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Physical Therapist Assistant Program

Technical Standards

Essential Functions of a PTA Student


  • Assist patients with mobility, exercise, and ambulation
  • Lift/carry 50 lbs and lift/carry in excess of 50 lbs with assistance when moving/lifting patients and equipment
  • Treat patients in a various spaces and positions including on a floor mat, low mat, chair, raised or lowered hospital bed or mat, and in cramped conditions (i.e. bathroom, corner of a room, between a bed and wall, within parallel bars)
  • Move equipment in a variety of ways including pushing across the floor, pulling out of a space, retrieving from an overhead shelf, and lifting from the floor
  • Adjust equipment dials and nuts/bolts
  • Manually administer CPR


  • Identify normal and abnormal postures and patterns of movement
  • Recognize changes in skin color, soft tissue condition, facial expression/body language, and physical status
  • Read numbers and settings on goniometers, thermometers, manual sphygmomanometers, equipment dials, traction machines, etc.


  • Respond to alarms, emergency signals, and cries for help
  • Respond to verbal communication from patients in a variety of positions (i.e. facing PTA or facing away from PTA), families, and co-workers
  • Measure blood pressure using manual sphygmomanometer


  • Assess pulse rate
  • Detect muscle tone, skin texture, and temperature


  • Distinguish odors that signify health related concerns, continence, and wound condition
  • Detect odors that signal emergencies


  • Effectively communicate in English, both written and verbal
  • Understand written documentation
  • Write in a legible manner
  • Clearly give oral and written directions to patients, families, and co-workers
  • Recognize, interpret and respond to non-verbal behavior of self and others

Professionalism & Behavior

  • Act in the best interest of all patients
  • Respect patients, families and co-workers of all ages, ethnicities and socio-economic backgrounds
  • Be prompt and manage busy schedule as needed
  • Demonstrate moral and ethical behavior at all times
  • Present professional appearance and maintain personal hygiene

Critical Thinking

  • Collect and interpret data for decision-making
  • Apply knowledge/education when providing care to patients
  • Follow plan of care established by a physical therapist, and modify as indicated in response to patient changes
  • Understand when there is a critical or emergency situation and react appropriately

A qualified applicant with a disability is one who, with or without reasonable accommodations, can perform the same essential functions as a non-disabled person in the same position.

If a student has a disability or acquires one, he/she may be entitled to receive individualized services and/or accommodations intended to assure an equal opportunity to participate in and benefit from the program. To receive more information or to apply for services, please contact the Disability Resources Services Office at (567) 661-7007.

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