Technical Standards and Essential Functions

The Doctor of Physical Therapy Program at Bowling Green State University is sensitive to the needs of individuals with disabilities and does not discriminate against qualified candidates with disabilities. The Doctor of Physical Therapy Program is in compliance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, including changes made by the Americans with Disabilities Amendments Act of 2008.

These technical standards and essential functions are related to essential career and licensing requirements and set forth the standards requisite to admission or participation in the Doctor of Physical Therapy Program. Technical standards are the skills and attributes expected of students.

Although they are not academic in nature they may be related to academic knowledge. Essential functions are the knowledge, skills, and abilities that a student must demonstrate once enrolled in the program. We require that student physical therapists be able to meet the technical standards and essential functions of the Doctor of Physical Therapy Program, with or without reasonable accommodation for admission, progression, and graduation in the DPT Program.

An offer of admission may be withdrawn and or a student may be dismissed from the program if the student cannot articulate how, even with reasonable accommodation, the student would be able to meet the program qualifications—including these technical standards and essential functions, or if it becomes apparent that the student cannot meet the technical standards and essential functions even with reasonable accommodation; the requested accommodation(s) would fundamentally alter the nature of the Doctor of Physical Therapy Program at Bowling Green State University or create a significant risk of harm to the health or safety of others.

Technical standards and essential functions apply to classroom, laboratories, and clinical settings. Bowling Green State University’s Doctor of Physical Therapy Program uses independent clinical education sites that may or may not be able to offer the same reasonable accommodations that are made available by Bowling Green State University.

The Doctor of Physical Therapy Program works closely with Bowling Green State University’s Accessibility Services to serve the needs of students with disabilities. Individuals who have questions regarding reasonable accommodations should contact the Bowling Green State University Accessibility Services at 419-372-8495.

The Doctor of Physical Therapy Program at Bowling Green State University, in accordance with requirements of the Commission on Accreditation of Physical Therapy Education and Standards of Practice of the American Physical Therapy Association, identifies the following technical standards to the physical therapy profession and our curriculum:

  • Problem solving on the basis of verbal, visual, and written information within a limited time frame consistent with contemporary clinical practice setting expectations;
  • Clinical reasoning and decision making within a limited time frame;
  • Students must possess sufficient visual, auditory, olfactory, and tactile abilities to allow them to gather and interpret data.
  • Perceptual-motor integration including but not limited to hand-eye coordination, body-eye coordination, and object manipulation;
  • Insight and judgment for safety and prognostication;
  • Effective communication among group members;
  • Planning and organizing for treatment prescription;
  • Frequently use the hands repetitively with a simple grasp and frequently use a firm grasp and manual dexterity skills.
  • Intermittent lifting of heavy loads;
  • Repetitive motion;
  • Alternately sit, stand, and walk;
  • Occasional kneeling, twisting, bending, and stooping;
  • Occasional stair climbing or negotiating on uneven terrain;
  • Frequent lifting, pushing and pulling up to 20 lbs.;
  • Occasional lifting, pushing and pulling 20 – 50 lbs.;
  • Time management to coordinate course requirements

The above technical standards warrant that applicants and students have the abilities to meet the essential functions established for this program, with or without reasonable accommodation. These essential functions are:

  1. Participate in all phases of the educational program, including demonstrating comprehension of all classroom, clinical, and any other required learning experiences through performance and/or examination where such a requirement is essential to:
    1. be provided with all the specific skills and experiences necessary to successfully complete the Physical Therapy Program, and become eligible for licensure;
    2. apply basic principles of the scientific method in reading and interpreting professional literature, performing research, and critically analyzing new concepts and findings provided by others.
  2. Apply basic educational concepts of theories in designing, implementing, and evaluating treatment and function appropriately in interpersonal relationships by exhibiting use of good judgment, empathy, reliability, and emotional stability; must possess the abilities to practice appropriately in stressful situations and to work acceptably with others in order to:
    1. interact with patients and families in a manner which provides the desired psychosocial support by:
      1. recognizing one’s own reaction to illness and disability;
      2. recognizing patients’ and families’ reactions to illness and disability;
      3. respecting individual, cultural, religious, and socioeconomic differences in people.
      4. utilizing appropriate communicative processes to ensure appropriate standards of care, as well as accepting and providing constructive criticism.
    2. demonstrate safe, ethical, and legal practice as stated by the profession;
    3. utilize skills and techniques to engage patient motivation and cooperation in evaluation and treatment;
    4. function effectively with other health care practitioners in providing appropriate patient care and in improving the quality of patient care;
    5. be responsive to ideas and techniques that might be more appropriate, effective, or safe.
  3. Communicate effectively with patients, their families, and health care practitioners in order to:
    1. instruct, confer, and integrate appropriate patient treatment with other aspects of patient care;
    2. stimulate motivation and cooperation in treatment, and assist in the alleviation of anxiety;
    3. teach patients and their families procedures necessary for continued care;
    4. participate in the planning, organization, and control of a physical therapy service.
  4. Function appropriately in professional practice in order to:
    1. review and evaluate patient needs; specify which definitive physical therapy procedures are indicated by administering and analyzing the results of tests, measurements, and evaluations including gait analysis, vital signs, strength, coordination, joint range and capsule integrity.
    2. plan and prepare treatment programs which:
      1. include realistic goals in terms of diagnosis, prognosis, physical, psychosocial status, and anticipated lifestyle of the patient;
      2. include effective treatment methods that provide a high probability of achieving treatment goals;
      3. are within resource constraints;
      4. provide for periodic revision according to changes in the patient’s physiological state;
      5. contain specificity and comprehensiveness appropriate to the level of personnel who will execute the plan;
      6. are adequately documented.
    3. properly administer and/or modify physical therapy treatments in order to ensure that patients safely perform functional activities.

This document will be reviewed yearly by the Academic Standards and Progression Committee with assistance from BGSU Accessibility Services. Approved 3/30/2021.


  • American Physical Therapy Association. Minimum Required Skills of Physical Therapist Graduates at Entry Level. BOD G11-05-20-449.
  • American Physical Therapy Association. Guide to Physical Therapist Practice. Alexandria, Virginia, 2008.
  • AASIG Technical Standards, Essential Functions Document. Section on Education, September 1998.
  • Ingram, D. (1997). Opinions of Physical Therapy Program Directors on Essential Functions, Physical Therapy, 77(1).

Updated: 05/23/2022 04:05PM