Technical Standards

Owens Community College Associate of Applied Science Degree Physical Therapist Assistant Program have a responsibility to educate competent Physical Therapist Assistants to care for their patients (persons, families and/or communities) with critical judgment, broad-based knowledge, and well-honed technical skills. All individuals admitted to the Owens Community College Associate Degree Physical Therapist Assistant Program will be asked to verify that they can meet these standards with or without accommodation(s).

Owens Community College Associate Degree Physical Therapist Assistant Program provides the following description/examples of technical standards to inform prospective and enrolled students of a sampling of technical standards required in completing their Occupational Therapy Assistant curriculum.

  1. These technical standards reflect a sample of the performance abilities and characteristics that are necessary to successfully complete the requirements of Physical Therapist Assistant Program. Please note: the standards are not requirements of admission into the Physical Therapist Assistant Program and the examples are not all-inclusive.
  2. Individuals interested in applying for admission to the Physical Therapist Assistant Programs should review these standards to develop a better understanding of the skills, abilities and behavioral characteristics required to successfully complete the Program.

Reasonable Accommodation(s)

Owens Community College is committed to providing equal access to employment, educational programs, and activities for students with disabilities. The College recognizes that students with disabilities may need accommodations to have equally effective opportunities to participate in or benefit from College educational programs, services and activities and will make reasonable modifications to the environment, policy and practice and/or provide auxiliary aids and services when the Disability Resource Center determines such modifications are needed for equal access.

Students who believe they are eligible for an accommodation must contact the Disability Resource Center at or (567) 661-7007.

Technical Standards of a PTA Student

Students matriculating in and graduating from the Owens Community College Physical Therapist Assistant Program (PTA) must be capable of developing and providing client-centered services in an informed and safe manner under the supervision of the Physical Therapist.  As an incoming PTA student, it is recommended that you have the following minimum skills and abilities for successful progression in this program.


  • 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