Essential Functions

(Adapted with permission from “Essential Functions and Technical Standards for Physical Therapist Assistant Students” at Greenville Technical College)

The following standards reflect reasonable expectations of a student in the PTA Program for the performance of common physical therapy functions.

In adopting these standards, the PTA Program is mindful of the patient’s right to safe and quality treatment by a skilled PTA. These skills are necessary for the PTA to function in a broad variety of clinical situations while providing the spectrum of physical therapy interventions. The standards generally reflect what may be required for employment of the graduate PTA. All students are expected to perform these essential functions with or without accommodations throughout the PTA program.

Critical Thinking/Problem Solving Skills 

Ability to collect, interpret and integrate information and make decisions. 

Interpersonal Skills

Ability to collaboratively work with all PTA students and with program faculty in the classroom, lab and clinical settings. 

Behavioral/Emotional/Social Coping Skills 

Ability to respond appropriately to stressful environments or during impending deadlines. 

Communication Skills 

Ability to communicate effectively in English using verbal, nonverbal and written formats with faculty, other students, patients, families, and health care workers. 

Physical Mobility/Motor Skills 

Sufficient motor ability to execute the movement and skills required for safe and effective physical therapy treatment. 

Sensory Abilities 

Sufficient auditory, visual and tactile ability to monitor and assess patients' health needs. 


Ability to demonstrate professional behaviors and a strong work ethic. 

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