Division of Physical Therapy Requirements

It is the objective and goal of the Division of Physical Therapy to prepare entry-level practitioners for the field of physical therapy. The preparation for clinical practice requires the accumulation, mastery, and application of scientific, medical, and professional knowledge. This process involves the learning and application of essential skills necessary for accurate and safe patient management in a variety of clinical settings. In order to fulfill the requirements for accurate and safe patient management, the program has identified certain minimal technical standards/essential skills that must be met by Doctor of Physical Therapy Students. Technical standards/essential skills of the professional phase of the physical therapy program can be met with or without reasonable accommodation or academic adjustments consistent with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Technical standards are composed of three domains: Cognitive, Psychomotor and Affective.


Essential Technical Standards

Cognitive Domain: Critical Thinking and Reasoning
Students must be able to:

  • recall and retain information in an efficient and timely manner.
  • Comprehend three-dimensional relationships and the spatial and functional relationships of anatomical structures.
  • Utilize sufficient judgment to ensure safe encounters with peers and patients.
Psychomotor Domain: Motor Skills and Observational Skills
Students must be able to:

  • Possess physical strength, stamina, balance, movement, hand-eye coordination, and dexterity required to perform patient care tasks in a safe manner.
  • Work in a clinical setting for a period of 8 to 12 hours and be able to perform physical activities such as gait training, transferring/lifting patients and positioning heavy or immobile patients.
  • Utilize auditory, visual, and tactile senses to obtain information from a variety of sources.
  • Negotiate level surfaces, ramps, and stairs to assist patients with functional mobility.
  • Respond quickly and effectively to sudden or unexpected movement of patients.
  • Conduct a variety of examinations and treatments, which require sitting, standing, squatting, pushing, pulling, and kneeling movements between a variety of surfaces and/or levels within a facility.
Affective Domain: Communication Skills and Behavioral Skills
Students must be able to:

  • Adapt to ever-changing environments, display flexibility, and learn to function in the face of uncertainties and stress which are inherent in the educational process and clinical settings.
  • Demonstrate the ability to be assertive, delegate responsibilities appropriately, and function as part of a physical therapy team. Such abilities require organizational skills to meet deadlines and manage time.
  • Demonstrate attributes of empathy, integrity, concern for others, interpersonal skills, interest and motivation, as such qualities are assessed during the admission process, and also throughout the educational process.
  • Possess the emotional well-being required for use of their intellectual abilities, the exercise of sound judgment, the prompt completion of all professional responsibilities, and the development of mature, sensitive, and effective professional relationships.
  • Provide effective, efficient, and timely written, oral, and electronic communication in the English language.
  • Demonstrate cultural humility in all interactions in the classroom and clinical environment. Students who are enrolled in the Doctor of Physical Therapy Program who no longer meet the technical standards must meet with the Director of Physical Therapy to discuss a plan for progression in the program.


Health requirements:


It is the student’s responsibility to ensure that all immunizations are up to date. If the student’s immunizations are not up to date, they will not be allowed to attend clinical education experiences, which may result in delay and/or cancellation of the clinical education experience. The following are a list of required vaccinations:

  • COVID vaccination
    • Pfizer and Moderna: evidence of two doses and one booster.
    • Johnson and Johnson vaccination, the student must provide evidence of one dose and one booster dose.
  • Physical Exam
    • An updated physical exam is required upon entry to the program’s doctoral portion.
    • Yearly physical exams may be required by the clinical education site and will be at the student’s expense.
  • Hepatitis B (3 doses) or documented evidence of immunity
  • Varicella (2 doses) or documented evidence of immunity
  • MMR (2 doses) or documented evidence of immunity
  • TDAP
  • Influenza (current year)
  • TB (Every student will undergo a one or two step TB test in the fall semester each year. The student may elect to complete this during the TB clinic arranged by the DPT program or may complete it on their own. Students are responsible for covering the costs associated with TB testing)

Please note some clinical education sites may have health requirements beyond the College’s requirements that must be met and will be at the expense of the student.

Urine Drug Screen

  • Students are expected to adhere to all federal, state laws and college policies on the use of alcohol, legal, and illegal drugs.
  • Students may not attend classes, clinical experiences, structured or unstructured open labs, or program activities under the influence of alcohol, marijuana, or illegal drugs. Any student found to be under the influence of alcohol, marijuana or illegal drugs will be referred to the Director of the Division of Physical Therapy.
  • Each student is required to undergo a yearly 10+ urine drug screen.
  • The student will be provided the option to complete the urine drug screen during one of the clinics scheduled through Dexter Health Services or with an outside vendor of their choice if the testing consists of a 10+ panel.
  • If the clinical site requests additional panels, the student will need to comply.
  • The student will incur the cost of the urine drug screen
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