Technical Standards 

Technical Standards for Admission, Academic Progress, and Graduation: The technical standards for the DeSales University Physician Assistant Program have been established to ensure than students have the ability to demonstrate academic mastery, perform clinical skills, and communicate clinical information. These standards are aimed to ensure that each student has the academic and physical ability to acquire competencies defined by the National Commission on Accreditation of Physician Assistants (NCCPA), the Accreditation Review Commission for Education of the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA), the Physician Assistant Education Association (PAEA), and the American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA). These technical standards also ensure that each student can participate in competency activities prescribed by the Accreditation Council of Graduate Medical Education (ACGME). These activities include patient care, medical knowledge, practice-based learning and improvement, interpersonal and communication skills, professionalism, and systems-based practice. These technical standards are required for admission and must be maintained throughout a student’s progress through the Physician Assistant Program. In the event that a matriculated student is unable to fulfill these technical standards, with or without reasonable accommodations, then the student may be counseled to pursue alternate careers.

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

  • General abilities – Students must possess:

    • a functional sense of vision, touch, hearing, taste, and smell in order to be able to integrate, analyze, and synthesize data in a consistent and accurate manner

    • the ability to perceive pain, pressure, temperature, position, vibration, equilibrium, and movement

  • Observational abilities –Students must be able to:

    • observe demonstrations, exercises, and patients accurately at a distance and close at hand

    • note non-verbal as well as verbal signals

  • Communication abilities – Students must be able to:

    • speak intelligibly

    • hear sufficiently

    • elicit and transmit patient information in oral and written English to members of the healthcare team

    • describe changes in mood, activity and posture

    • communicate effectively and sensitively with patients

    • 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

  • Sensory and Motor ability– Students must:

    • possess gross and fine motor skills sufficient to directly perform palpation, percussion, auscultation, and other basic diagnostic procedures

    • be able to 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

  • Critical thinking ability –Students must:

    • be able to independently access and interpret medical histories or files

    • identify significant findings from history, physical examination, and laboratory data

    • provide a reasoned explanation for likely diagnoses and prescribed medications and therapy

    • recall and retain information in an efficient and timely manner

    • calculate, reason, analyze, and synthesize

    • incorporate new information from peers, teachers, and the medical literature in formulating diagnoses and plans

  • Behavioral and Social Attributes – Students must:

    • possess the ability to use their intellectual capacity, exercise good judgment, and promptly complete all responsibilities attendant to the diagnosis under potentially stressful circumstances, emergency situations, and extended hours

    • be able to develop empathic, sensitive, and effective relationships with patients

    • be able to adapt to changing environments and to learn in the face of uncertainties inherent in the practice of medicine

    • be able to respond to supervision appropriately and act independently, when indicated

If an applicant states she/he is unable to meet the technical standards without accommodation, the College will determine whether the student 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 of the student or the institution, including all coursework and internships deemed essential to graduation. Students with a documented disability who wish to request academic accomodations should contact the Coordinator of Learning and Disability Services (Dooling Hall, room 26, extension 1453).


Physician Assistant students: to receive full consideration for the next academic year, your CASPA application must be verified by CASPA no later than December 1.

Central Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA)

DeSales University Information Sessions

Program Information