Technical Standards Preface

The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 is the primary non-discrimination law applicable to the admissions and post-secondary education of disabled persons. Section 504 of this statute prohibits discrimination solely on the basis of the disability of an “otherwise qualified” person seeking admission to any college, university, or other institution of higher education.

The purpose of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), enacted in 1990, as far as schools are concerned, is the assure a level playing field so that individuals with disabilities can compete with other applicants on the basis of their ability without being eliminated solely because of a disability. Disability is defined in the ADA as a physical or mental impairment. The ADA requires that:

  • Schools judge a person on the basis of their ability to complete the educational program rather than on their status as disabled persons.
  • Person seeking admission must be able to perform the “essential functions” of the program in spite of the disability.
  • “Reasonable accommodation” may be needed, and if so, must be provided. Refer to Student Access & Accommodations Services for further information.
  • “The essential functions” of the educational program are matters for each school to determine.
  • Pre-admission inquiry as to whether a person is disabled is not permitted, but a school may seek as much information as is needed to make a determination that an individual can perform the “essential functions” of the educational program.

The accreditation standards of the Liaison Committee on Medical Education state: “While physical disability should not preclude a student from consideration for admission, each school should develop and publish technical standards for the admission of handicapped applicants, in accordance with legal requirements.”

In order to comply with the LCME accreditation standards, a committee prepared the attached documents for review and approval by the faculty of Methodist University: Technical Standards for Admission to the Methodist University Physician Assistant Program.

Technical Standards for Admission to the Methodist University Physician Assistant Program

Any applicant who plans to enter the physician assistant program at Methodist University must possess certain abilities that will enable them to master the educational and clinical content of the program within a reasonable time frame and to function as a physician assistant after graduation.

Methodist University welcomes specific inquires from potential students with disabilities regarding required technical skills and how mastery of those skills might apply to their unique situation. A determination will be made by the admissions committee as to whether the individual is qualified for admission to the program and if reasonable accommodations can be made. Federal law prohibits programs from making inquiries about specific disabilities prior to admission; however, applicants who are selected for admission must be prepared to meet the educational and technical performance standards to complete the program. Students who are unable to master these skills will not be allowed to continue in the program.

Fundamental Skills for the Physician Assistant Profession & Curriculum


Students must be able to apply their senses to the observation of patient status and collection of data important to patient care, including the ability to see, both near and far, to hear and/or interpret speech without an intermediary and to use tactile sensation to gather information in physical examination.


Student must be able to read, write and speak clearly in order to gather and exchange information with patients, family members and other members of the broader health care team. They must have the ability to understand medical literature and to communicate complex scientific and medical information in oral and written format.

Mobility and Coordination

Students must be able to move within the clinical setting, including in confined spaces, in order to respond to urgent and emergent situations quickly, to help move and position patients as needed and to manipulate instruments and devices in order to perform procedures (e.g. venipuncture, lumbar puncture, intubation, thoracentesis, etc.). This includes the ability to stand for prolonged periods during surgical procedures and to occasionally lift and move heavy objects. It also includes the ability to integrate sensory information with motor performance.

Cognitive Ability, Reasoning Ability and Quantitative Skills

Students must be able to master large amounts of information within the required time frame, to successfully complete assignments and assessments in a reasonable time frame, to apply basic principles of the scientific method in reading and interpreting professional literature, to apply critical reasoning ability to complex clinical problems, to integrate data and develop appropriate differential diagnoses and to continue to apply these skills to ongoing learning after completing the program.

Behavioral and Emotional Maturity

Students must be able to function appropriately in interpersonal relationships by exhibiting use of good judgment, empathy, reliability, professionalism and emotional stability. They must develop the ability to practice appropriately in highly stressful situations and work with others in interprofessional teams. They must be able to respect and work within the framework of individual, cultural, religious and socioeconomic differences. They must be able to grasp principals of ethical behavior in the healthcare setting and remain open to constructive criticism and make appropriate behavior change.

Methodist University Physician Assistant Program considers for admission those students who possess the academic and professional promise necessary to become outstanding health-care professionals. Methodist University does not discriminate on the basis of age, race, gender, national or ethnic origin, religion, sexual orientation or disabilities for otherwise qualified persons in the administration of its admissions, educational policies, scholarships, loan programs, athletics, employment, or any other university-sponsored or advertised program.