School of Health Professions

Technical Standards

The Physician Assistant Program is a rigorous, 30-month curriculum where students acquire the general knowledge, skills, attitudes, and behaviors required for the practice of medicine, regardless of specialty. The program considers it essential for all physician assistant students to have the ability to function in a variety of didactic and clinical situations and to provide a wide spectrum of patient care. Candidates for the degree of Master of Physician Assistant Studies must be able to independently demonstrate the capabilities to meet these minimum standards, with or without reasonable accommodation, for successful completion of degree requirements. As such, the following technical standards have been adopted for admission, promotion, and graduation from the program.

Purpose: This description defines the capabilities that are necessary for an individual to successfully complete the physician assistant studies curricula.

A. Typical mental demands require:  

  • The ability to process, retain, comprehend, integrate, analyze, synthesize, and apply a large volume of data related to the art and science of medicine, including legal, ethical, and moral concepts.  
  • Long hours in class, laboratory, clinical, and self-directed study situations and environments.  
  • Appropriate and timely responses to constructive faculty feedback.  
  •  Effective written and verbal communication skills.  
  • Participation in educational activities that include tests, examinations, demonstrations, simulations, presentations, written communication skills, frequent and exacting evaluations, etc.  
  • Effective clinical reasoning skills.

B. Typical physical demands require:  

  • Full range of body motion including assisting patient movement, manual and finger dexterity and eye-hand coordination.  
  • Frequent, prolonged patient interactions that include standing and walking for extended visits.  
  • Classroom and laboratory experiences may require sitting or standing for long periods.  
  • Corrected to normal visual and hearing acuity.  
  • Working in physically and mentally stressful situations with long and irregular hours.

C. Typical working conditions include:  

  • Exposure to communicable diseases, body fluids, toxic substances, ionizing radiation, medicinal preparations, hostile individuals, and other conditions common to the medical and surgical environments.  
  • Interaction with diverse patient populations of all ages with a range of acute and chronic medical and surgical conditions.

D. Student performance requirements:

  • Assignment to medical, surgical, pediatric, obstetric/gynecologic, in-patient and outpatient settings.
  • Assignment to on-campus and off-campus sites, including out of town locations.
  • Attendance and participation in in-patient care activities.
  • Attendance and participation in didactic and clinical education and training.
  • Patient assessment and evaluation.
  • Gathering patient data and reporting.
  • Participation in invasive and non-invasive procedures.
  • Participation in patient education.
  • Participation in pre-, intra-, and postoperative activities.
  • Participation in emergency care.
  • Development of medical ethics and understanding medical-legal concepts.
  • Working long and irregular hours.
  • Development of a service orientation to career.
  • Participation in professional organizations.
  • Development and exhibition of professional ethical demeanor.
  • Completion of demanding didactic and clinical evaluations, examinations, etc.
  • Performance to the level determined and required by the faculty.
  • Other as assigned or required.

Reasonable Accommodation

It is the policy of the School of Health Professions to provide reasonable accommodations to qualified students with a disability so they can meet these required technical standards by request.

Request for Accommodations for Disabilities

Information on requesting accommodations for disabilities is available in the UT Health San Antonio PA Studies Department Handbook. Students who wish to request accommodations for disabilities should meet with the School of Health Professions Associate Dean for Student Affairs, Dr. David Henzi, to complete a Student/Resident Request for Accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act form (Form ADA-100).  The form and additional information can be found here.