The PA Program technical standards at Christian Brothers University ensure that students have the ability to demonstrate academic mastery, competency when performing clinical skills, and ability to communicate clinical information with sound physical and mental capacities.

These technical standards ensure that each student has the academic, physical, and behavioral ability to acquire the NCCPA-defined competencies.

These technical standards are consistent with and modeled after the technical standards set forth by the Accreditation Council of Graduate Medical Education (ACGME). The technical standards are required for admission and must be maintained throughout a your progress through the Physician Assistant Program. In the event that you are unable to fulfill the technical standards, with or without reasonable accommodations, you may be counseled to pursue an alternate career.

PA Program Technical Standards Requirements

All students must be able to independently meet the following technical standards:

General Abilities

  • A functional sense of vision, touch, hearing, taste, and smell in order to integrate, analyze and synthesize data in a consistent and accurate manner
  • Perceives pain, pressure, temperature, position, vibration, equilibrium, and movement

Observational Abilities

  • Observe dissected cadavers and specimens
  • Observe microorganisms and tissues in normal and pathologic states through microscopic study
  • Observe demonstrations, exercises, and patients accurately at a distance and close-up
  • Observe non-verbal as well as verbal signals
  • Use of observation to obtain a medical history and perform a complete physical examination in order to integrate findings and develop an appropriate diagnosis(es) and treatment plan

Communication Abilities

  • Speak intelligently
  • Hear sufficiently
  • Interpret non-verbal and verbal aspects of communication
  • Effectively and efficiently elicit and transmit patient information in oral and written English to members of a healthcare team
  • Describe changes in mood, activity, and posture
  • Communicate effectively, efficiently, and sensitively with patients and their families
  • Read at a level sufficient to accomplish curricular requirements and provide clinical care for patients
  • Write or type appropriate medical documents according to protocol in a thorough and timely manner, accurately and clearly

Sensory and Motor Abilities

  • Possess gross and fine motor skills sufficient to directly perform palpation, percussion, auscultation, and other basic diagnostic procedures, maneuvers and examinations
  • Execute motor movements reasonably required to provide basic medical care, such as airway management, placement of catheters, suturing, phlebotomy, application of sufficient pressure to control bleeding, simple obstetrical maneuvers, and extended standing and retraction in surgery
  • Respond to emergency situations in a timely manner
  • Provide general and emergency care
  • Adhere to universal precaution measures
  • Meet safety standards applicable to inpatient and outpatient settings and other clinical activities

Critical Thinking Abilities

  • Assimilate detailed and complex information presented in the curriculum
  • Learn through a variety of modalities, such as classroom instruction, small group, team and collaborative activities, individual study, report preparation and presentation, computer technology, active learning, clinical experiences, and interprofessional activities
  • Independently access and interpret medical histories and files
  • Identify significant findings from history, physical examination, and laboratory data
  • Provide a reasoned explanation for likely diagnoses, prescribed medications, and therapy
  • Recall and retain information in an efficient and timely manner and see the relationship between retained information and its application in clinical practice
  • Memorize, measure, calculate, reason, analyze, and synthesize
  • Incorporate new information from peers, teachers and medical literature in formulating diagnoses and plans

Behavioral and Social Attributes

  • Possess maturity and emotional stability
  • Accept responsibility for learning
  • Understand the legal and ethical aspects of medical practice
  • Function within the law and ethical standards of the medical profession
  • Possess ability to use intellectual capacity, exercise good judgment, and promptly complete responsibilities attendant to the diagnosis and care of patients, sometimes under potentially stressful circumstances, emergency situations, and extended hours
  • Develop empathic, sensitive, professional, and effective relationships with patients
  • Work effectively, respectfully, and professionally as part of a healthcare team
  • Exhibit flexibility and adaptability to changing environments and learn in the face of uncertainties that are inherent to the practice of medicine
  • Contribute to collaborative and constructive learning environments, making appropriate positive changes
  • Accept constructive feedback and respond to supervision appropriately
  • Act within the appropriate scope of practice

Applicants should possess, at minimum, with or without the help of compensatory techniques and/or assistive devices, the following abilities, demonstrating proficiency of and attesting to these abilities prior to matriculation into the program if asked.

  • Manual dexterity of wrists, hands, fingers, and arms
  • Ability to grasp, palpate, pinch, hold, and percuss
  • Ability to lift, pull, push, rotate, and twist
  • Ability to cut
  • Ability to measure
  • Ability to use sterile technique
  • Ability to use universal precaution methods
  • Ability to operate and maintain equipment (ventilators, monitors, defibrillators, etc.)
  • Sensation to allow for palpation, auscultation, percussion, vision, and smell

Physical Strength

  • Ability to support another person
  • Ability to position another person
  • Ability to transition from/to walker, cane, crutches, bed, chair, and gurney
  • Ability to provide motion exercises
  • Ability to stand for long periods of time
  • Ability to perform CPR/resuscitation

Other Abilities

  • Ability to be poised and self-confident
  • Ability to read, write, understand, and communicate proficiently and effectively in the English language
  • Ability to remain calm during emergency situations
  • Ability to meet and deal with people of differing backgrounds and behavioral patterns
  • Ability to display and maintain mental and emotional stability
  • Be free from any active diseases that are infectious and may be spread by routine means, such as handshakes, skin contact, or breathing


If you are unable to meet all the PA Program technical standards without accommodation, Christian Brothers University will determine whether you can meet the technical standards with reasonable accommodation. This includes a review of whether the accommodations requested are reasonable, taking into account whether the accommodation would jeopardize patient safety or the educational process, including all coursework, clinical experiences, labs, and rotations deemed essential to graduate.

If you have a documented disability and would like to request academic accommodations, contact the Office of Student Success at (901) 321-3758 or