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Technical Standards


The Ohio University, Division of Physician Assistant Practice has developed Technical Standards based upon those established by the Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine. All candidates must meet these technical standards upon admission to the OU PA Program.

A candidate for the OU PA Program must have abilities and skills in five areas: (1) observation, (2) communication, (3) motor and sensory, (4) intellectual-conceptual, and (5) behavioral and social as well as the ability to comply with patient safety measures. Technological compensation can be made for certain disabilities; however, a candidate is expected to perform the following abilities and skills in a reasonably independent manner.

  • Abilities and Skills

  • Observation. The candidate must be able to observe lab activities that may include, but are not limited to microbiological cultures, microscopic studies of microorganisms and pathological tissues, and imaging. Candidates must be able to observe a patient accurately. Observation requires the functional use of vision and somatic sensations such as tough, pressure, and temperature. It is enhanced by the functional use of smell.

    • Communication. A candidate shall be able to speak, hear and observe patients in order to elicit information, document changes in mood, activity and posture, and perceive nonverbal communication. Communication includes speaking, reading, and writing. Effective communication shall occur with patients, patients’ families, and all members of the health care team.

    • Motor and Sensory. Candidates shall have sufficient motor function to elicit information from patients by palpation, auscultation, percussion, and other diagnostic and therapeutic maneuvers. Candidates shall perform basic laboratory tests and carry out diagnostic and treatment procedures that are not limited to urinalysis, CBC, pap smears, cardiopulmonary resuscitation, administration of intravenous medications, intubation, and wound closure techniques. Such actions require coordination of both gross and fine motor skills, equilibrium, and functional use of touch and vision.

  • Intellectual. Candidates must possess conceptual, integrative, and quantitative abilities that are required to analyze and synthesize patient information. Problem solving, critical thinking, and spatial ability are demanded of physician assistants.

  • Behavioral and Social Attributes. Candidates must possess the mental health necessary for full integration of intellectual abilities, sound judgment, responsibility, and the development of mature and sensitive relationships with patients. Candidates must tolerate physically taxing workloads and function well under stress. The ability to adapt to change while maintaining compassion, empathy, and integrity are qualities that will be assessed throughout academic and clinical preparation of the OU PA student.

Ohio University is committed to making its OU PA Program accessible to people with disabilities. In order to receive accommodations, the student must document the need and make a request through the college’s Office of Student Affairs. The request should be submitted at least one semester before the accommodations are needed. Reasonable accommodations can be made for some disabilities in certain technical areas. With reasonable accommodation, a student still must be able to perform in a reasonably independent manner, the essential functions and tasks required in the five ability and skill areas.

Patient Safety Measures


The Ohio University, Division of Physician Assistant Practice has developed Health Standards that are established for the student’s protection as well as that of patients. All candidates must meet these health standards upon admission and prior to clinical placement.



Tuberculosis (TB)1

Option 1: If a TB skin test has been administered within past 12 months, a one-step (i.e., single TB skin test) is acceptable.


Option 2: If a TB skin test has NOT been administered within the past 12 months, a two-step (i.e., two skin tests) is required.

MMR (Measles, Mumps, Rubella)

Option 1: Two immunizations along with a booster administered within the past 12 months is acceptable.


Option 2: Evidence of a positive Serum Anti-Body Titer within the past 12 months is acceptable.

Td (Tetanus/Diphtheria)

One vaccination within the past 10 years is required.

HepB (Hepatitis B)

Three doses of HepB along with Titer. Titer, confirming immunity, must be within the past 12 months. Series and Titer must be completed prior to patient contact.


If positive personal history of disease cannot be obtained from physician, documentation of two vaccines or a positive titer are required.

Annual Flu

Each student must provide documented proof of an annual flu shot. If there is a medical reason which contraindicates a flu vaccination, a medical waiver signed by the PA student’s family physician must be provided.

1A chest x-ray is required if a position skin reaction is detected.

Criminal Background Check and Toxicology Screen

Ohio Law mandates criminal records checks for all prospective employees in positions where the individual will be caring for older adults or children. Additionally, a standard criterion in affiliation agreements with clinical training sites is a requirement of a criminal record check and toxicology screening for all clinical students. Therefore, all students are required to obtain a criminal background check and toxicology screen prior to each academic year. The cost of the background checks and toxicology screen are the responsibility of the student.