Occupational Therapy

Technical Standards



To successfully complete the Occupational Therapy Doctorate Program, including both academic and clinical aspects, students must meet specific intellectual and technical skill levels of performance to succeed as an occupational therapy student and subsequently as an entry-level generalist practitioner. These requirements apply to the professional course of study, clinical experiences students have while in that course of study, and in the actual practice of the profession. 


Students must use the social-emotional, cognitive, sensory and motor skills necessary in classroom and clinical settings to allow successful completion of the course of study, receive the full benefit of the educational program, and, in clinical experiences, perform direct care and related tasks safely and within a reasonable amount of time. Students with educational limitations and/or special needs may be able to perform as an occupational therapy student if they are able to perform these functions with or without reasonable accommodations. Ultimately, the Program has the responsibility for ensuring the safety of clients/patients and student practitioners. 


Social-emotional Skills: 

  • Ability to fully utilize intellectual abilities, exercise sound judgment, complete responsibilities and develop and maintain effective appropriate relationships in both university and health care settings, including relationships with peers, staff and faculty at the university as well as patients/clients, family members and others on the health care team at clinical sites. 
  • Tolerance for a wide variety of encounters and environments that may be stressful, tedious, emotionally taxing and subject to rapid and unpredictable alteration, consistent with the uncertainties present in a rapidly changing health care system.
  • Effective adaptation to various environments.
  • Identification of sources of stress and development of effective coping behaviors to function successfully under stress.
  • Reasonable and accurate awareness of oneself in the role of occupational therapist.
  • Realistic assessment of one’s capabilities and limitations. 


Physical Skills

  • Abilities in physical strength, endurance, fine and gross motor coordination, range of motion and mobility sufficient to provide safe and effective care (including performance of client transfers and lifts from a variety of surfaces and levels) and operation of equipment (including wheelchairs).
  • Ability to perform duties while standing, sitting, lifting, reaching, bending, stretching or assuming other postures that effectively provide support/assistance for patients/clients.
  • Ability to move quickly in an emergency situation to ensure safety of patient/client and self.
  • Motor function sufficient for physical assessment, therapeutic procedures, and accurate use of equipment.
  • Tolerance for physically taxing workloads. 


Cognitive Skills

  • Intellectual capacities to measure, evaluate, calculate, reason, analyze and synthesize information specific to care of patient/client.
  • Cognitive skills for problem identification and problem-solving.
  • Ability to integrate theory and practice.
  • Ability to analyze clinical data and accurately report results.
  • Critical thinking ability sufficient for exercising appropriate clinical judgment and sound decision-making in all areas of practice, especially in regard to patient/client safety.
  • Appropriate professional and procedural judgment under stressful and/or emergency conditions, emergent demands, or a distracting environment. 


Sensory Skills



  • Normal or corrected visual ability sufficient for patient observation and assessment to ensure safety and accurate measurement.
  • Ability to obtain information from written documents, videotaped data, graphic images and measuring devices accurately and within a reasonable time frame. 


  • Ability to sufficiently monitor and assess health needs of clients/patients. 
  • Ability to ensure patient safety in the setting. 


  • Ability to sense clients’ physical and/or emotional status through touch and movement. 


Interpersonal/Communication Skills

  • Ability to effectively communicate in English both orally and in writing.
  • Ability to effectively interact and communicate with individuals, families, groups of all ages from a variety of social, emotional, cultural and intellectual backgrounds for multiple purposes.
  • Ability to observe, recognize, understand, and effectively use non-verbal behavior.
  • Ability to establish and maintain a therapeutic relationship with clients.
  • Ability to consistently employ client-centered care.
  • Ability to work cooperatively and collaboratively with others.
  • Use appropriate professional language and demeanor in all interactions. 



  • Represent the profession effectively through demonstration of professional attitude, appearance and behavior (for example, but not limited to: time management, punctuality, work behaviors, volume of work, adherence to dress code) in both academic and clinical settings.
  • Implement measures to maintain own physical and mental health, and emotional stability.
  • Exhibit a commitment to learning by demonstrating initiative and responsibility for own learning.
  • Exhibit a commitment to occupational therapy and to the health and occupational participation of those we serve.
  • Participate willingly in the supervisory process during classroom and clinical experiences.
  • Accept critical feedback and make positive behavioral changes.
  • Prioritize, organize and utilize time management skills to fulfill course and clinical requirements.
  • Adhere to AOTA professional standards and Code of Ethics, HIPAA and clinical site-specific policies, procedures and guidelines.
  • Demonstrate flexibility and maturity.
  • Maintain confidentiality according to professional and institutional standards.