Saint Louis University

Professional Performance Standards
The rapidly changing and dynamic nature of contemporary health and human service delivery systems requires the entry-level occupational therapist to possess basic skills as a direct care provider, consultant, educator, manager of personnel and resources, researcher, and advocate for the profession, the consumer, and the community.
A contemporary entry-level occupational therapist must:

  • have a breadth and depth of knowledge in the liberal arts and sciences and an understanding of issues related to globalism and diversity;
  • be educated as a generalist, with a broad exposure to the delivery models and systems utilized in settings where occupational therapy is currently practiced and where it is emerging as a service;
  • have achieved entry-level competence through a combination of academic and fieldwork education;
  • be prepared to articulate and apply professional principles, intervention approaches and rationales, and expected outcomes as related to occupation;
  • be prepared to supervise and work in cooperation with the occupational therapy assistant;
  • be prepared to be a lifelong learner and keep current with best professional practices;
  • uphold the ethical standards, values, and attitudes of the occupational therapy profession;
  • be prepared to be an effective consumer of the latest research and knowledge bases that undergird practice and contribute to the growth and dissemination of research and knowledge;
  • submit to and receive a satisfactory report on criminal background checks and drug testing for substances of abuse.


Master's in Occupational Therapy Program Technical Standards

The Department of Occupational Science & Occupational Therapy is committed to promoting justice and equality in educational opportunities. This document outlines the skills required for successful completion of the course work and fieldwork experiences in the professional Master's in Occupational Therapy Program. These essential functions, in conjunction with established academic standards, are followed by the Progressions Committee for selection and retention of students who possess the characteristics that are necessary to become competent occupational therapists.

Saint Louis University has systems in place to assist students who believe they may not be able to perform one or more of the listed essential functions in the typical manner. Difficulties in any of these areas may present challenges to success as a student or therapist. Students with concerns about their ability to perform any of the functions listed are encouraged to initiate contact with the Department of Occupational Science & Occupational Therapy and the personnel in the Office of Disability Services. Early self-disclosure of issues is encouraged to assure the safety of the student and future clients, thus enhancing the likelihood of successful completion of the program and competence as a practicing therapist.

  1. Have adequate cognitive skills to allow understanding and synthesis of information learned from course experiences (such as lectures, readings, discussions, and other classroom, community experiences, and fieldwork) to be able to provide and judge the appropriateness and safety of assessments and interventions used by occupational therapists.
  2. Be able to manipulate objects to administer assessments and interventions that are utilized by occupational therapists.
  3. Have adequate strength, endurance and body movement that would be necessary to move body parts or transfer patients/clients who have limited strength and use of their bodies from one place to another, such as from wheelchair to bed, toilet to wheelchair, or wheelchair to car seat.
  4. Have adequate visual ability that would be necessary to see how patients/clients are performing activities, so that therapeutic adaptations can be made and safety can be evaluated, and to be able to read their non-verbal communications.
  5. Have adequate attention and hearing ability to be able to listen to and interpret lectures, discussions, classroom exercises and fieldwork interactions for courses, and the requests, needs, and other auditory information communicated by patients/clients, families, and other professionals.
  6. Have adequate sense of touch to be able to interpret patient/client body structures and their qualities, which are necessary to perform and interpret assessments and perform interventions safely.
  7. Have adequate receptive and expressive verbal communication skills to be able to understand and participate in class lectures and discussions and to be able to request and understand information provided by patients/clients, families and other professionals as a therapist.
  8. Have adequate literacy skills to be able to learn from written material in class and to be able to understand and prepare clearly written documentation addressing patient/client status, assessments, and interventions as a therapist.
  9. Have adequate altruism, ability to delay gratification, and ability to attend to the needs of others, that will support concern for patients/clients in safety and success in therapy.
  10. Have adequate work behaviors, such as initiative, dependability, time management, and accountability that will support success in class and in a working environment.
  11. Have adequate interpersonal skills, such as cooperation, flexibility, tact, and empathy that will support success in class and in a working environment.
  12. Have adequate ability to tolerate a variety of environmental conditions that might be encountered in class and in the workplace, such as confined spaces, noise, dust, odors, and temperatures.
  13. Have the ability to attend classes regularly as scheduled in occupational science and occupational therapy courses.