Technical Standards

Technical Standards / Essential Functions

It is the goal of the Emory & Henry College Doctor of Physical Therapy Program to produce competent doctors of physical therapy who perform as autonomous general practitioners providing quality care to a variety of patients across the lifespan. It is the faculty’s responsibility to select applicants who are most capable of successfully completing the program and becoming skilled doctors of physical therapy. Therefore, in addition to scholastic ability/achievement, applicants will be judged on their physical, intellectual and emotional aptitude to complete the essential requirements of the program.

Fundamental skills that are required to complete the essential requirements of the Emory & Henry Doctor of Physical Therapy Program include (but are not limited to) the following:

  1. Observation: Observation requires the functional use of vision and other sensory modalities. Students must be able to observe/participate in lecture and laboratory demonstrations, as well as accurately observe patients up close and at a distance (taking note of by verbal and non-verbal signals).
  2. Communication: Communication includes not only speech, but also reading, writing and computer literacy. Students must effectively and sensitively communicate with patients to elicit and transmit information concerning changes in mood and activities, as well as perceive nonverbal signals. Students must also be able to effectively and efficiently communicate with various members of the health care community.
  3. Sensory and Motor Coordination and Function: Students must have gross motor, fine motor and equilibrium functions to properly perform patient assessments (i.e. palpation, auscultation, percussion, muscle testing, range of motion and other examination procedures) and to carry out physical therapy interventions. Students must be able to execute motor movements required to provide general therapeutic intervention (i.e. patient transfers/positioning, exercise, performing manual mobilization techniques and applying modalities) and emergency treatment to patients. Quick reactions are essential for safety and therapeutic response. Such skills require coordination of both gross and fine muscular movement, equilibrium and functional use of touch and vision.
  4. Intellectual, Conceptual, Integrative and Quantitative Abilities: Student physical therapists must be able to effectively solve problems, which requires them to measure, calculate, reason, analyze, integrate and synthesize information from various sources. These abilities must be able to be performed in a timely manner, especially in emergency situations. Students must be able to synthesize knowledge and integrate relevant information of a patient’s history and examination findings to develop an effective intervention plan.
  5. Behavioral and Social Attributes: Students must possess the emotional health/psychological ability required for full use of their intellectual abilities, the exercise of good judgment, the prompt completion of all responsibilities inherent to diagnosis and care of patients, and the development of mature, sensitive and effective relationships with patients. Students must be able to tolerate physically and mentally taxing workloads and function effectively while stressed. Students must be able to adapt to a changing environment, display flexibility and function in the face of uncertainties inherent in the clinical problems of various patients. Students must demonstrate ethical behavior both in the classroom and during clinical experiences. Empathy, integrity, concern for others, interpersonal skills, interest and motivation are all personal qualities that will also be assessed.

  It is suggested that potential applicants observe practicing physical therapists perform essential skills of the job in order to make an informed decision on their capacity to perform those skills prior to applying to the program.

  Prospective Students with Disabilities

  • If an applicant/student cannot demonstrate the above essential skills, it is the responsibility of the student to request appropriate accommodations. Emory & Henry College will provide reasonable accommodations as long as they do not fundamentally alter the nature of the program and does not impose an undue hardship such as those that cause a significant expense, difficulty or are unduly disruptive to the educational process.
  • An applicant/student who has not been offered admission to the Emory & Henry College Doctor of Physical Therapy Program may disclose a disability and request accommodation during the admission process. Disclosure before being offered admission is not required.
  • Applicants/students with disabilities who meet the above technical standards, with or without reasonable accommodations, shall not be excluded from participation in, denied the benefits of, nor be subjected to discrimination in the Emory & Henry College Doctor of Physical Therapy Program.

Emory, Va. Campus: P.O. Box 947, Emory, Va. 24327 (map)    276.944.4121
Marion, Va. Campus: 565 Radio Hill Rd., Marion, Va. 24354 (map)    276.944.6342 ·  276.781.7200