Occupational Therapy Assisting

Technical Skills and Essential Requirements


Technical skills and essential requirements have been established to identify the specific occupational technical standards required of students in the program. A student’s decision to enroll in the Bachelor of Science in Occupational Therapy Assistant (BSOTA) Program should be made after considering the program’s essential requirements.

Applicants are responsible for carefully reviewing the essential requirements and should make inquiries if they are not familiar with the standards and skills listed. Certain chronic or recurrent illnesses and problems that interfere with patient care or safety may be incompatible with occupational therapy training or clinical practice. Conditions that may lead to a high likelihood of student absenteeism should be carefully considered. Deficiencies in knowledge, judgment, integrity, character, or professional attitude or demeanor which may jeopardize patient care may be grounds for course/rotation failure and possible dismissal from the program.

All applicants to the program must have the ability to meet the standards and skills listed below in order to complete the educational requirements for the Bachelor of Science in Occupational Therapy Assistant Program. If applicants cannot demonstrate the following standards and skills without accommodation, it is their responsibility to request appropriate accommodations with the Coordinator for Special Services (in the Student Services Department) before the beginning of the school term. St. Andrews is committed to the principle of equal opportunity and will provide reasonable accommodation as long as it does not fundamentally alter the nature of the program offered and does not compromise patient safety, or impose an undue hardship such as those that cause a significant expense or are unduly disruptive to the educational process.

Please access this document through the links below, read carefully, and enter your initials, signature, and date in the pertinent boxes. The completed document needs to be submitted to the Admissions Office when declaring your major.

Technical Skills and Essential Requirements Form

Mobility and Gross Motor Coordination

Physical abilities sufficient to maneuver within one’s surroundings; Full functional range of motion; Plan, sequence, and coordinate movements. Maintain or regain body balance to stay upright; Jump, stoop, throw, and catch objects.

Technical Skills

  • Kneel Or Stoop Freely
  • Kneel, Half-Kneel, Crawl,
  • Reach Above Head
  • Bend, Stand, Kneel, Sit, Walk Or Crawl For 90 Minutes Without Rest
  • Lift; Guide; Transfer
  • Resist and Assist
  • Walk
  • Climb
  • Coordination
  • Speed and Agility
  • Assume A Wide Base Of Support, Balance
  • Perform
  • Work Capacity
  • Push/Pull

Examples (Not All Inclusive):
Move around in patients’ rooms, small work spaces, and shared OT treatment areas; Accompany or assist individuals in outdoor or community areas and balance on uneven surfaces; Use proper body mechanics when lifting; Use transportation systems to fieldwork, practicum sites, and home visits; Demonstrate evaluation items on standardized tests

Fine Motor, Eye-Hand Coordination and Psychomotor Skills

Eye-hand coordination, bilateral coordination, and hand dexterity sufficient to provide safe and effective care, and to manipulate supplies, tools, media, and equipment, Quick hand and finger movements for keyboarding

Technical Skills:

  • Bilateral Dexterity

Examples (Not All Inclusive)
Manipulate assessment tools such as goniometers and stop watches; Efficiently administer test items such as cutting with scissors and stringing beads; Input data and information on computer keyboard; produce legible handwritten or computer word processed documents; Demonstrate proper use of media such as arts and crafts; Accurately reach for supplies and equipment; Fabricate orthotics and assistive devices

Visual Abilities and Observational Skills

Normal or corrected visual ability sufficient for patient/client/child observation and assessment; ability to discriminate typed numbers and letters; detect differences in colors, shades and brightness

Technical Skills

  • Depth Perception
  • See (with or without corrective lenses)

Examples (Not All Inclusive)
Observe, assess and supervise patient and client responses. Read charts, files, computer screen, digital printouts, labels, and gauges; Input information in electronic records; Perceive color-coded documents; Detect meaningful changes in skin and mucus membrane color; ability to discriminate typed numbers and letters; detect differences in colors, shades and brightness

Tactile Ability and Proprioceptive Awareness

Tactile ability and temperature discrimination sufficient for physical assessment, treatment implementation, and safety; Tolerate physical proximity and contact with others; Awareness of limb movement, force, speed, and direction

Technical Skills

  • Position, Movement and Balance Sensation (To feel where your individual body segments are located and to know when and how they are moving even when you cannot see them)
  • Feel (discriminate sharp and dull, light touch and deep pressure sensation)

Examples (Not All Inclusive)
Perform muscle palpation and feel muscle tone; Perform therapeutic intervention such as massage; Temperature awareness during ADL activities such as teaching hygiene and cooking; Safety when using modalities and physical agents; Control force and speed during range of motion exercises

Hearing Ability and Auditory Processing Skills

Normal or corrected auditory ability sufficient to understand other people’s speech, and to interpret, and monitor environmental noises and situations

Technical Skills:

  • Hear (demonstrate active listening skills)

Examples (Not All Inclusive)
Hear varying tone of voice to aid in assessing emotions and psychological well-being; Listen and respond to feelings of others; Use telephones for conferences; Monitor alarms, emergency signals; Hear cries for help.

Communication Ability

Communication abilities sufficient for effective and professional interaction with others in spoken and written English, and through electronic or technological devices; Speak in front of a group of people

Technical Skills:

  • Speak and Express
  • Read
  • Understand; Interpret
  • Follow Directions
  • Write

Examples (Not All Inclusive)
Clearly and understandably in the English language share information to peers, faculty, patients, their families and other health care providers; to explain conditions and procedures and teach home programs; Medical terminology and information given regarding status, progress, and safety of a patient; to follow simple and complex instructions (oral or written) given by an OT regarding patient care; and respond to non-verbal communication/behaviors of self and others; accurately and efficiently, seeking clarification where necessary; prepare accurate, thorough, legally defensible patient documentation

Interpersonal Skills and Psychosocial-Emotional Self-Regulation

Interpersonal abilities sufficient to interact with individuals, families, and groups from a variety of social, emotional, religious, ethnic, cultural, racial, sexual, and intellectual backgrounds and lifestyles

Technical Skills:

  • Flexibility
  • Compassion
  • Cooperation
  • Recognize Limitations
  • Tolerance
  • Self Care
  • Recognize Limitations

Examples (Not All Inclusive)
Therapeutic use of self to establish rapport with patients and colleagues; Use therapeutic communication (active listening, attending, clarifying, coaching, facilitating, teaching); Function as a part of a team (consult, negotiate, advocate, cooperate, and lead). To work collaboratively; interact professionally; to establish rapport with patients, colleagues and classmates; to resolve conflicts; with individuals from a variety of social, emotional, cultural and intellectual backgrounds; maintain confidentiality in all interactions; request assistance when needed; accept correction and constructive suggestions; assume responsibility for personal development and utilize resources effectively. To respect and show empathy for patients and their families; for people of all personality types,  backgrounds, ethnic, race or socioeconomic backgrounds including but not limited to individuals with neurological disorders, physical disfigurement, mental health or complex medical problems.

Critical Thinking and Reasoning

Critical thinking ability for analysis, synthesis, evaluation, planning, reasoning, problem solving, sound judgment, and mathematical calculations. Including evaluate individuals, analyze and interpret findings and data; develop occupational profile, identify needs and strengths, use clinical reasoning to plan intervention, assess outcomes; research, interpret, understand statistics, and apply information for evidence-based practice

Technical Skills:

  • Think Critically
  • Comprehend
  • Prioritize
  • Calculate
  • Make Clinical Decisions
  • Think Quickly and Clearly
  • Anticipate
  • Plan Ahead

Examples (Not All Inclusive)
To identify and solve problems; identify cause/effect relationships; to apply reading, lecture and laboratory information to case study preparation; to employ effective teaching, learning and test taking strategies; To respond quickly and appropriately to changes in patient status; to analyze written, observed or verbal data about patients and make decisions to terminate, modify, progress or cancel patient treatment; act safely and ethically in the occupational therapy lab and clinic; prioritize Events to provide for patient safety; appropriate patient interventions; multiple tasks; integrate information and make decisions about sequence and progression

Professional Attitudes, Values, Behavior and Demeanor

Ability to present professional appearance and implement measures to maintain own physical and mental health, emotional stability, honesty, integrity, and ethical behavior.

Technical Skills:

  • Positive Attitude
  • Work Ethic
  • Stress Management

Examples (Not All Inclusive)
Work under stressful conditions with multiple demands from consumers, other practitioners, and administrators. React calmly in emergency situations. Demonstrate compassion, flexibility, and willingness to adapt for the greater good. Coping skills for fast-paced clinical situations; to manage multiple academic deadlines; deal effectively with psychosocial issues of catastrophic illness, disability and death; respond appropriately in a stressful environment and during impending deadlines; manage personal matters outside of class/work day; to display industrious behavior; to submit to all classroom and clinical rules/policies; to demonstrate respect for other health care providers and the profession of occupational therapy; to comply with all legal and ethical standards of practice.