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Technical Standards

Because an entry-level occupational therapy degree signifies that the holder is eligible to sit for the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy exam and signifies that the holder is prepared for entry into the profession of occupational therapy, it follows that graduates must have the knowledge and skills to function in a broad variety of clinical, community or school based situations and to render a wide spectrum of occupational therapy services.

Therefore, all students admitted to the Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD) program at the University of Kansas Medical Center must have the following abilities and expectations with or without accommodations.

Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to apply to the program, and reasonable accommodation will be made for qualified applicants or students who disclose a disability. Candidates who indicate upon application or after acceptance to the program that they cannot meet an expectation listed will be reviewed further by the admissions team in collaboration with the KU Medical Center Office of Academic Accommodations to determine if reasonable accommodations are likely to lead to successful completion of the program.

Essential Motor Skills

The occupational therapy student must ...

  • have gross motor skills to move freely and safely about the Medical Center and fieldwork sites. 
  • be able to perform moderately taxing physical work, often requiring prolonged sitting. 
  • have balance and equilibrium necessary to do such things as move clients from bed to wheelchair or to manipulate parts of, or whole bodies of, simulated and real people of all ages. 
  • have fine motor skills essential to perform such tasks as anatomical dissection, splint making, material development or maneuvering equipment.

Essential Sensory Skills

The occupational therapy student must ...

  • accurately perceive objects in the environment
  • accurately observe human performance.  For example, the student must be able to discriminate between a safe and an unsafe environment and between therapeutic and non-therapeutic behavior and contexts. 

Essential Communication skills

The occupational therapy student must ...

  • assimilate information from written sources (texts, journals, medical or school records, etc).
  • attain, comprehend, retain and use new information presented in written formats.
  • independently complete assignments, tests, and professional documentation appropriately, in a timely manner, and in appropriate format. 
  • impart information so that it can be understood by others. 
  • elicit information from instructors, peers, persons receiving services, family members, and supervisors.
  • follow verbal or written instruction in order to complete assignments. 
  • note and respond to factual information provided by others as well as to the more subtle cues of mood, temperament, and social responses. 
  • communicate with others accurately, sensitively, effectively and succinctly.
  • communicate in a timely manner and in a way that is appropriate to the situation. 

Essential Cognitive Skills

The occupational therapy student must ...

A) Clinical Reasoning:  

  • make correct observations and have the skills of comprehension, measurement, calculation, reasoning, integration, analysis, and synthesis.  For example, the student must have the skills to conduct assessments accurately, compute test scores, analyze results and determine the impact of this information on intervention, while synthesizing a variety of input.
  • recognize, label, and categorize information to draw conclusions.  Then the student must be able to question, analyze, and judge the results of their conclusion.

B) Judgment:

  • demonstrate judgment in classroom; laboratory; and fieldwork settings which shows an ability to make mature, sensitive, and effective decisions in appropriate situations
  • relate appropriately to instructors, peers, supervisors and persons being served.  For example, when provided with constructive feedback from an instructor or supervisor, the student will adapt behavior accordingly.
  • demonstrate professional behaviors, such as timeliness and regular attendance.

Essential Behavioral/Social Skills

The occupational therapy students must ...

  • exhibit professional behaviors and attitudes during their participation in the classroom and in clinical situations.  This includes, but is not limited to, appropriate language, flexibility toward change and acceptance of responsibility for one’s own conduct. 
  • exhibit a positive attitude toward persons being served, family members, peers, and supervisors.
  • be flexible and creative to adapt to professional and technical change.
  • demonstrate professional attitudes and behaviors while experiencing heavy workloads (e.g., large number of tasks to complete in a limited amount of time), task related uncertainty (e.g. changes of schedule on short notice), and/or a distracting environment. 
  • support and promote the activities of peers and health care professionals by sharing knowledge, eliciting input, and acting with empathy toward others.
  • be honest, compassionate, ethical, and responsible. 
  • be forthright about errors or uncertainty.
  • critically evaluate his or her own performance, accept constructive criticism, and look for ways to improve. 
  • evaluate the performance of fellow students, instructors, and clients and to offer constructive comments tactfully.
Last modified: Jan 28, 2019

Prospective Students

Campus visit dates for summer 2021 have been completed. Please check back here in late August for opportunities to visit during the fall semester.

About the entry-level OTD program

Applications to this program are accepted Aug. 1–Dec. 1 for the class entering the program the following fall.

Program overview

Why choose KU?

Admission requirements

How to apply

Additional information for applicants

Costs and financial aid


Frequently asked questions

JaySTART Clinic
This clinic provides free occupational and physical therapy services to patients in the Kansas City community. Learn about rehabilitation services provided by the clinic and how to make an appointment.