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Doctor of Physical Therapy

School of Science


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Technical Standards

Physical Therapy Program Essential Functions of Performance

Essential Functions

It is anticipated that Marist  DPT students will be able to demonstrate the following essential functions/technical standards in order to successfully complete their coursework and clinical experiences.   If a student cannot demonstrate the following skills and abilities, it is the responsibility of the student to request an appropriate accommodation. The College will provide reasonable accommodation as long as it does not fundamentally alter the nature of the Program offered and does not impose an undue financial hardship or unduly disrupt the educational process.

A. Behavioral/Social Attributes

The student must:

  1. Be receptive to learning, have an ability to retain course content, and appropriately utilize the information in a clinical setting. 
  2. Demonstrate appropriate levels of compassion, respect, and dignity when observing or treating all patients.
  3. Recognize and be respectful of individuals regardless of race, religion, color, sex, pregnancy, religion, creed, ethnicity, national origin (including ancestry), citizenship status, physical or mental disability, age, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, veteran or military status (including special disabled veteran, Vietnam-era veteran, or recently separated veteran), predisposing genetic characteristics, domestic violence victim status, or any other protected category under applicable local, state or federal law, including protections for those opposing discrimination or participating in any grievance process on campus or within the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or other human rights agencies.
  4. Be able to tolerate physically taxing workloads and to function effectively under stress. The student must be able to adapt to changing environments, display flexibility, and learn to function in the face of uncertainties inherent in the clinical problems of many patients.  Possess emotional well-being to use their intellectual abilities, exercise sound judgment, and develop mature, sensitive, and effective relationships with those encountered in an educational and clinical setting.
  5. Handle the stresses of an intensive training program by demonstrating effective and adequate coping skills.
  6. Demonstrate the ability to respond appropriately in emergency situations and to make quick decisions under sometimes stressful situations.

B. Communication Skills

The student must demonstrate an ability to:

  1. Effectively communicate in English with faculty, peers, patients, staff, physicians, health care team members, and community and professional groups. Such communication includes speaking, reading, and writing in English.
  2. Communicate with patients in order to elicit information, explain conditions and procedures, teach home programs, describe a change in mood, activity, and posture, and perceive nonverbal communications in a timely manner and within the acceptable norms of academic and clinical settings.
  3. Be assertive, delegate responsibilities appropriately, and function collaboratively as part of health care team. Such abilities require organizational skills necessary to meet deadlines and manage time.
  4. Utilize appropriate interpersonal skills needed for productive classroom discussion, respectful interaction with peers, faculty, and clinical educators, and development of appropriate therapeutic relationships within clinical education settings.

C. Psychomotor Skills

The student must:

  1. Demonstrate the physical endurance to engage in active learning in a full-time course of study, including clinical education hours that may vary from 7.25 to 10 hours a day (some clinicals have 10-hour days for four days per week). 
  2. Have the ability to provide appropriate strength, force, balance, and coordination to safely and accurately assess vital signs, wound status, endurance, segmental length, girth and volume, sensation, range of motion, strength, tone, reflexes, movement patterns, coordination, balance, developmental stage, soft tissue, joint motion/play, pain, cranial and peripheral nerve function, posture, gait, functional abilities, assistive device fit and use, and the pulmonary system.
  3. Demonstrate the ability to perform treatment procedures in a safe manner that is appropriate to the patient’s status and desired goals, including but not limited to, exercise, developmental activities, balance training, coordination training, positioning techniques, self-care activities, joint mobilization techniques, and cardiopulmonary resuscitation.
  4. Be able to safely provide assistance required by patients to move in bed, transfer to all development positions on variable surfaces, and to ambulate. 
  5. Have the ability to assess changes in muscle tone, skin quality, joint play, kinesthesia, and temperature to gather accurate objective information in a timely manner and monitor that individual’s response to environmental changes and treatment.
  6. Demonstrate the ability to manipulate common tools used for assessment of the cranial nerves, sensation, range of motion, and blood pressure as well as equipment with gait training, assistive devices, wheelchairs, and modalities.
  7. Be able to travel to lecture, lab, and clinical locations, and move within rooms as needed for changing groups, partners, and workstations, and physically maneuver in required clinical settings to accomplish assigned tasks.

D. Cognitive Skills

The student must:

  1. Demonstrate the mental stamina to engage in active learning in a full-time course of study and clinical work.
  2. Have the ability to receive, remember, interpret, and use information in the psychomotor, cognitive and behavioral domains of learning to integrate, analyze and synthesize data needed for the problem solving inherent in physical therapy practice.
  3. Be able to perform an evaluation of a patient’s posture and movement including analysis of physiological, biomechanical, behavioral, and environmental factors in a timely manner, consistent with the acceptable norms of clinical settings.
  4. Have the ability to use evaluation data to formulate and execute a plan of physical therapy management in a timely manner, and to reassess and revise plans as needed, consistent with the acceptable norms of clinical settings.
  5. Demonstrate the ability to consistently adhere to safety regulations in both classroom and clinical settings, anticipate potentially hazardous situations and takes steps to prevent accidents.

E. Self-Care

The student must:

  1. Maintain general good health and self-care in order not to jeopardize the health and safety of self and individuals in the academic and clinical settings.
  2. Arrange transportation and living accommodations for the academic and clinical aspects of the program that foster timely reporting to class and clinical centers. 

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Accreditation Status

The Doctor of Physical Therapy Program at Marist College is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE), 3030 Potomac Ave., Suite 100, Alexandria, Virginia 22305-3085; telephone: 703-706-3245; email:; website: