Technical Standards | Master of Occupational Therapy

In preparation for professional roles occupational therapy students are expected to demonstrate the ability to meet the demands encountered in a occupational therapy career. Certain functional abilities are essential for the delivery of safe and effective care. An applicant to the MOT Program must meet and maintain the following technical standards for progression throughout the program. Students unable to meet these technical standards will not be able to complete the program. Students shall notify the program in a timely manner of any change in their ability to meet technical standards.

Technical Standards

The technical standards include but are not limited to the following:

General Ability

The student is expected to possess functional use of the senses of vision, touch, hearing and smell so that data received by the senses is integrated, analyzed and synthesized in a consistent and accurate manner. The student is expected to possess the ability to perceive pain, pressure, temperature, position, vibration and movement in order to effectively evaluate patients. A student must be able to respond promptly to urgent situations.

Observational Ability

The student must have the ability to make accurate visual observations and interpret them in the context of clinical/laboratory activities and patient care experiences. The student must be able to document these observations accurately.

Communication Ability

The student must communicate effectively verbally and non-verbally to obtain information and explain that information to others. Each student must have the ability to read, write, hear, comprehend and speak the English language to facilitate communication with patients, family members and other members of the health care team. The student must be able to document and maintain accurate records, present information in a professional manner and provide patient instruction to effectively care for patients and their families.

Psychomotor Ability

The student must be able to perform gross and fine motor movements with sufficient coordination needed to provide complete safe effective care for patients. The student is expected to have psychomotor skills necessary to safely perform examination procedures and treatment interventions, including CPR if necessary. Examples of examination procedures include, but are not limited to, cognitive assessment, range of motion, manual muscle testing, sensation, balance, functional abilities, pain, cardiopulmonary status, percussion, palpation and anthropometrics. Treatment interventions include, but are not limited to, patient education, manual therapy, functional training (transfers, bed mobility, activity of daily living training, etc.) and application of therapeutic physical agents.

The student must have sufficient levels of neuromuscular control and eye-to-hand coordination as well as possess the physical and mental stamina to meet the demands associated with extended periods of sitting, standing, moving and physical exertion required for safe patient care. Students must be able to bend, squat, reach, kneel or balance. The MOT curriculum may require students to carry and lift loads from the floor, from 12 inches from the floor, to shoulder height and overhead. The student must be able to occasionally lift 50 pounds, frequently lift 25 pounds and constantly lift 10 pounds. The student is expected to be able to maintain consciousness and equilibrium and have the physical strength and stamina to perform satisfactorily in clinical settings.

Intellectual/Cognitive Ability

The student must have the ability to develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills essential to professional occupational therapy practice. Problem solving skills include the ability to measure, calculate reason, analyze, synthesize, and judge objective and subjective data, and to make decisions in a timely manner that reflects thoughtful deliberation and sound clinical judgment. The student must demonstrate application of these skills and possess the ability to comprehend, retain, retrieve and incorporate prior knowledge with new information from multiple sources including, but not limited to self, peers, instructors and related literature to formulate sound judgment for competent patient/client management, practice management and functions required for clinical scholarship.

Behavioral and Social Attributes

The student is expected to have the emotional stability required to exercise sound judgment, complete assessment and intervention activities. Compassion, integrity, motivation and concern for others are personal attributes required of those in the MOT program. The student must fully utilize intellectual capacities that facilitate prompt completion of all responsibilities in the classroom and clinical settings; the development of mature, sensitive and effective relationship with patients and other members of the healthcare team. The student must have the ability to establish rapport and maintain respectful interpersonal relationships with individuals, families and groups from a variety of social, emotional, cultural and intellectual backgrounds. Each student must be able to adapt to changing environments; display flexibility; accept and integrate constructive criticism given in the classroom and clinical settings; and effectively collaborate with others. Students must continuously self-assess to improve as a professional.

Ability to Manage Stressful Situations

The student must be able to adapt to and function effectively in relation to stressful situations encountered in both the classroom and clinical settings, including emergency situations. Students will encounter multiple stressors while in the MOT program, and must effectively manage these stressors throughout entire workdays. These stressors may be (but are not limited to) personal, patient care/family, faculty/peer and/or program related.


An applicant/candidate with a handicap shall not, on the basis of his or her handicap, except those which would preclude the essential skills outlined above, be excluded from participation in, denied the benefits of, nor be subjected to discrimination in the program. Carroll University may require that the applicant/student undergo a physical examination and/or an occupational skills evaluation.

All MOT students must be able to perform the essential functions of a student physical therapist. Reasonable accommodations will be afforded to students with disabilities as required under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. A student who can no longer perform the essential functions of a student physical therapist must report this to their program advisor. If reasonable accommodations cannot be made, the student will not be able to remain in the MOT program.

The occupational therapy program may require that an applicant/student undergo a physical examination. An applicant/student who is handicapped shall not, on the basis of his or her handicap (except those which would preclude the essential skills outlined above), be excluded from participation in, denied the benefits of, nor be subjected to discrimination in the occupational therapy program.

Students in the occupational therapy program are required to complete the Carroll University Occupational Therapy Medical Information Form upon entrance into the program. This form documents information about the student’s health insurance carrier, physician, medical conditions, vaccination history and completion of health risk training. A copy of the original documents remains on file in the program. Students carry a copy to each full-time clinical internship. It is the student’s responsibility to update the information on this form on a yearly basis, or more frequently if necessary. Any medical treatment needed by an occupational therapy student during academic preparation or clinical education experience is the responsibility of the student.

On Oct. 1, 1998, the State of Wisconsin Department of Health and Family Services mandated that all persons who seek to be employed and/or licensed in the caregiver industry must fulfill the Caregiver and Background Check requirements in Section 50.065 of the Wisconsin statute. Occupational therapy students are required to complete a background and criminal history check, which will be facilitated prior to the first day of class. While this may not prevent admission to our program, it many hinder the ability for placement in clinical rotations in the future. Clinical rotations are a standard requirement of the accrediting body for occupational therapy education (ACOTE), and are mandatory to take the board certification exam. In addition, failure to complete this requirement would render the student unable fulfill requirements for graduation from the MOT program. All healthcare facilities require background checks. Therefore, use of this information will be at the discretion of the university and of the clinical sites.

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