Technical Standards


Occupational Therapists are healthcare professionals who are experts in evaluating human learning and performance skills. Occupational Therapists analyze, select, and adapt activities for patients whose ability to cope with daily living and perform tasks necessary to care for themselves or others is compromised by developmental deficiencies, the aging process, environmental deprivation, or from physical or psychological, or social injury or illness. The OT/M student at Georgia State University must have the abilities and skills to successfully complete all of the didactic and clinical experiences in order to effectively work with our clients.

Occupational Therapy Objectives: OT Student must be able to:

  1. Plan and implement activities and programs to improve sensory and motor functioning at the level of performance normal for the patient’s stage of development.
  2. Teach skills, behaviors, and attitudes crucial to the patient’s independent, productive, and satisfying social          functioning.
  3. Design, fabricate, apply, and instruct patients in the use of selected orthotic or prosthetic devices and other adaptive equipment which assists the patient to adapt to his or her potential or actual impairment.
  4. Analyze, select, and adapt activities to maintain the patient’s optimal performance of tasks and to prevent further disability.
  5. Complete a comprehensive Occupational Therapy evaluation and conduct treatment in a clinical environment which may include measuring Range of Motion, strength, endurance, muscle tone, pain level, ADL skills, fine motor skills, transfer skills, functional mobility, balance, response to sensation, cognitive status, and home management skills.
  6. Demonstrate the ability to communicate effectively and sensitively with patients and colleagues, including patients from different cultural and social backgrounds and in stressful situation This includes, but is not limited to the ability to establish rapport with patients and communicate evaluation and treatment information effectively. Students must be able to understand and speak the English language at a level consistent with competent professional practice.
  7. Demonstrate the ability to record evaluation results, treatment plans, patient notes and outcomes clearly and accurately;
  8. Demonstrate the ability to assimilate, analyze, synthesize, integrate information and problem solve to form the basis for their clinical reasoning.
  9. Demonstrate the ability to maintain composure and continue to function well with patients who are undergoing periods of stress and may exhibit challenging attitudes or behaviors.
  10. Demonstrate the ability to adjust to changing situations and uncertainty in clinical situations.
  11. Demonstrate the ability to develop professional values, ethics, appropriate demeanor and rapport that are essential for professional education and quality patient care.

In order to successfully accomplish the objectives stated above, the OT/M student must possess adequate sensory / motor / skills, cognitive / judgement / observation skills, and communication / interpersonal / professional skills as described below. These technical standards are necessary for full participation in the academic and fieldwork/clinical aspects of the OT/M program at Georgia State University. Each occupational therapy student is required to meet these Essential Technical Standards with or without reasonable accommodation.

Essential Technical Standards:

Sensory / Motor Skills:

  • Lift 10-50 pounds
  • Rotate & twist trunk
  • Bend/Stoop
  • Squat
  • Balance
  • Reach above shoulder level
  • Kneel Push/Pull Carry
  • Use hands repetitively
  • Use light and firm grasp
  • Use manual dexterity
  • Use auditory/tactile/visual senses to evaluate client status
  • Transition from different heights (chair – floor – plinth)
  • Move within clinic/community setting on a variety of surfaces (steps, uneven ground)
  • In an average academic / clinic day a student must be able to:
    Sit: 2-6 hours
    Stand: 2-4 hours
    Walk/travel: 2 hours

Cognitive / Judgement / Observation Skills:

Attend class approximately 35+ hours per week which includes the following:

  • Lecture
  • Laboratory
  • Task group meetings
  • Integrated clinical experience
  • Meets class standards for course completion
  • Reading, studying and absorbing classroom materials
  • Performs and/or instructs others in a timely manner in the following:
    Transfers – performs and/or instructs
    Activities of daily living (dependent through independent status) – performs and instructs
    Splinting – performs
    Therapeutic activities/procedures
    Task and verbal group activities
  • Carries out assessment procedures using sound judgment and safety precautions
  • Applies critical thinking process to requirements of the academic learning experience in
    Integrated clinical experience

Communication / Interpersonal / Professional Skills:

  • Addresses problems or questions to the appropriate person at the appropriate time
  • Maintains personal appearance and hygiene conducive to professional student setting
  • Travels or relocates to various locations required for internships and practicums
  • Maintains work area, equipment and supplies in a manner conducive to efficiency and safety
  • Models socially appropriate behaviors
  • Manages time effectively
  • Treats peers, faculty, staff, patient/clients with respect
  • Conducts himself/herself in an honest manner in dealing with faculty, staff, guest speakers and peers
  • Assumes responsibility for professional conduct and growth
  • Is responsible for abiding by the rules and regulations of the Occupational Therapy Program, fieldwork facility and profession
  • Follow all policies and procedures required by fieldwork sites and the OT program
  • Complete all assignments from both FW sites and academic program
  • Maintain patient/client confidentiality
  • Communicates with peers, faculty and staff effectively and professionally
  • Comply with dress code
  • Meet attendance requirements
  • Demonstrate professional standards of practice and adheres to AOTA code of ethics
  • Maintain work area, equipment and supplies in a manner conducive to efficiency and safety
  • Model socially appropriate behaviors
  • Create an environment which maximizes client responses
  • Document all required information
  • Effectively adjust communication for intended audience
  • Demonstrate problem solving skills in patient care
  • Gather information needed prior to assessment
  • Engage appropriately in a supervisory process
  • Use sound judgment in maintaining professionalism when communicating with peers and patients or their caregivers
  • Respect diversity and the values of others

Following acceptance into the Occupational Therapy Program, the OT/M student is required to verify that he/she understands and meet these technical standards or that he/she believes that, with certain accommodations, he/she can meet the standards. For a student who believe that he/she can meet these standards with accommodation, the University’s Office for Disability Services ( will validate the need for accommodation and will work with the Occupational Therapy Department to determine if reasonable accommodation can be made. This determination will take into account whether the accommodation would jeopardize clinician/patient safety or undercut an essential element of a course, clinical experience or internship.

(Explanation of reasonable accommodation:

Georgia State University does not discriminate against individuals on the basis of race, color, sex, religion, creed, age, sexual orientation, gender, disability, national origin, or veteran status in employment or the administration of the program and activities conducted by Georgia State University or any of its several departments now in existence or hereafter established.