Occupational Therapy Assistant Technical Standards

Purpose Statement

All students in the Occupational Therapy Assistant program are expected to meet certain technical standards which are essential for the successful completion of all phases of the program, and which reflect industry requirements and standards. To verify the student’s ability to perform these essential functions, students may be required to demonstrate the technical standards below.

Meeting these technical standards does not guarantee employment in this field upon graduation. The ability to meet the program’s technical standards does not guarantee a student’s eligibility for any certification exams or successful completion of the program.


Technical Standard Definition of Standards Examples
Critical Thinking/Problem-Solving Skills Ability is sufficient for clinical judgment.
  • Demonstrate skills for attention, organization, multi-tasking, problem-solving, and clinical reasoning.
  • Demonstrate skills for measurement, calculations, reading charts and graphs, and scoring.
  • Demonstrate clinical reasoning for making safe clinical judgments.
  • Demonstrate ability to evaluate the relevancy of data and prioritize for decision making.
  • Demonstrate ability to identify the need for change in clinical applications.
  • Demonstrate ability to problem-solve creative solutions for manifestations of behavior, treatment applications, and environmental modifications.
  • Demonstrate ability to generalize theoretical principles to treatment applications.
  • Demonstrate ability to integrate and apply theory to practice by identifying needs, establishing goals, selecting appropriate interventions, and evaluating outcomes.
Interpersonal Skills Abilities are sufficient to interact with individuals, families, and groups from a variety of social, emotional, cultural, and intellectual backgrounds.
  • Work with a diverse client population including persons of various ages, ethnic, racial, religious, alternative lifestyles, and socioeconomic backgrounds without prejudice.
  • Demonstrate ability to establish rapport with patients/clients, families, significant others, caregivers, and colleagues.
Communication Skills Abilities are sufficient for interaction with others in verbal and written form.
  • Demonstrate effective communication utilizing written and spoken English language in both academic and fieldwork settings including interactions with peers, faculty, supervisors, colleagues, patients/clients, families, significant others, and caregivers.
  • Exhibit legible, properly spelled, and grammatically correct written communication.
  • Use therapeutic communication: attending, clarifying, coaching, facilitating, and appropriately using and responding to nonverbal communication.
  • Understand and use appropriate health care terminology, computerized systems of documentation, and electronic systems (email, etc.) to communicate within the educational and professional community.
Coping Skills Ability to cope with stressful and challenging situations
  • Ability to exercise calm in difficult situations such as emergencies, aggressive behaviors, and uncooperativeness.
  • Ability to refrain from reacting or responding inappropriately to ethical challenges.
  • Ability to maintain emotional composure.
  • Ability to perform despite the difficulty of the situation at hand.
  • Ability to face a situation, take action, and be flexible and persistent in solving problems.
Mobility/Motor Skills

Physical abilities are sufficient to move in one’s environment with ease and without restriction.

Gross and fine motor abilities are sufficient to provide safe and effective skills for occupational therapy practice.

  • Demonstrate ability to move around in lab spaces, work areas, and treatment areas.
  • Travel to and from field trips, fieldwork placements, and other assigned locations on and off campus.
  • Demonstrate gross motor skills for running, jumping, balancing, reaching, and lifting up to 50 pounds, bending for games and sensory integration equipment, performing manual muscle testing, range of motion, transfers, and positioning a person required for lab and fieldwork experiences.
  • Tolerate long periods of sitting, standing, or moving expected during participation in full-time academic and fieldwork experiences.
  • Demonstrate adequate manual dexterity, fine motor coordination, and strength to handle and manipulate a variety of media and evaluative tools common in the occupational therapy profession.
Auditory Skills Auditory abilities are sufficient to monitor and assess health needs.
  • Adequate functional auditory reception to participate in lectures, lab activities, and interpersonal exchanges with peers, instructors, fieldwork supervisors, and patients/clients.
Visual Skills Visual ability is sufficient for observation and assessment is necessary for occupational therapy practice.
  • Adequate functional visual acuity and perception to handle occupational therapy media, lectures, and lab activities and observe patient/client responses to occupational therapy intervention.
Tactile Skills Tactile ability is sufficient for physical assessment.
  • Adequate functional tactile sensation for activities requiring direct manipulations such as range of motion or transfer training and palpation of body structures.
Environmental Possess the ability to tolerate environmental stressors.
  • Tolerate various levels and changes in temperature.
  • Tolerate working in small/confined spaces and outdoors.
  • Tolerate exposure to noxious odors, sounds, and wounds.
Emotional/Behavioral Possess emotional stability sufficient to maintain composure in stressful situations and assume responsibility/accountability for actions.
  • Demonstrate sufficient emotional health to perform under stress, exercise good judgment, and promptly complete all academic and fieldwork responsibilities.
  • Demonstrate ability to develop mature, sensitive, and effective relationships with consumers, caregivers, and other health care professionals.
  • Demonstrate flexibility, integrity, motivation, compassion, and concern for others.


In the case of an otherwise qualified individual with a documented disability, appropriate and reasonable accommodations will be made unless doing so would fundamentally alter the essential training elements, cause undue hardship, or produce a direct threat to the safety of the patient or student.

Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College is invested in full compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Support Services is part of Student Services and is located in the K. Ray Bailey Student Services Center. For detailed information or to request accommodations visit Support Services. An appointment is recommended prior to enrollment in order to discuss any special concerns.