Technical Standards

Student physical therapists must meet the technical standards required of the majority of physical therapist practice settings. For completion of the program, all students must meet these criteria with or without reasonable accommodations. 

These technical standards are necessary for both the academic courses and clinical education components of the DPT curriculum. 

Communication Skills

Students must be able to communicate effectively. Effective communication includes the ability to receive, interpret, utilize and disseminate information via verbal, nonverbal and written communication in a manner that is comprehensible. Effective communication skills are required in order to interact with faculty, peers, coworkers, clients, patients and other members of the healthcare team. 

Students must be able to communicate using the English language at a level that permits competent, professional practice. Students must also be able to develop the ability to communicate in a sensitive manner with individuals with disabilities and from different social and cultural backgrounds.

Observation Skills

It is essential that students are able to accurately observe client/patient activity and behavior throughout the clinical encounter. Indicators of change in client/patient status such as facial expression, muscle tone, postures, movements, skin temperature and color, heart rate, breathing pattern and rate, or breathing sounds require close observation. 

Students must also be able to observe and interpret demonstrations in the classroom, projected slides, overheads and imaging, as well as monitor dials on equipment with or without reasonable accommodations.

Psychomotor Skills 

Students are required to practice, develop and demonstrate proficiency in tasks required for clinical practice. The student is expected to physically maneuver to, from and within the classroom, lab and clinical settings in a timely manner. Students must also demonstrate the ability to quickly respond to emergency situations such as preventing a patient’s fall, responding to emergent changes in patient status or performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation. 

Students must be able to safely and effectively manipulate or maneuver another person’s body and body parts to perform examination and intervention techniques (for example, patient transfers, gait training; exercise; mobilization; application of electrotherapy; and use of tools such as goniometer, blood pressure cuff and stethoscope).

Students must be able to perform the physical demands required by the clinical settings in which physical therapists practice. These physical demands include the ability to:

  • Complete repetitive motions such as simple and firm grasp tasks requiring manual dexterity including gross and fine motor hand coordination
  • Stand, walk, climb stairs, squat, twist, bend, lift, kneel, crawl and reach above shoulder level
  • Exert push/pull forces to maneuver adult-sized patients and rehabilitation equipment
  • Safely maneuver self and patient in tight spaces 

Cognitive/Intellectual Skills 

Students must be able to measure, calculate, reason, analyze, synthesize and apply large amounts of information in a short period of time. Students must be able to understand and apply principles, theory and research to physical therapist practice. Students must demonstrate the ability to think critically and problem solve. Students must have the ability to accurately self-assess and reflect on their own performance.

Behavioral/Affective Skills 

Students must demonstrate good judgment and have the ability to effectively handle physically, emotionally and intellectually stressful situations. This includes the ability to adjust and adapt to changing situations or uncertainty in the academic or clinical environment. Students must also demonstrate a commitment to respectfully working with individuals with physical and cognitive deficits from a variety of age groups, cultures and socioeconomic status without discrimination. 

Student Accommodations

Students who may be in need of reasonable accommodations for a disability, medical condition or temporary injury/condition should contact Binghamton University’s Services for Students with Disabilities Office (SSD).

The SSD Office will assist the student to identify disability-related needs and determine reasonable equal access accommodations. Students requiring pregnancy-related accommodations should contact the Title IX Office.

Each individual situation will be evaluated to determine whether reasonable accommodations can be made. Accommodations may be short term or permanent, and accommodations may apply to academic and/or clinical education. 

Questions or Concerns