Technical Standards

Physician assistants must have the knowledge and skills to function in a variety of clinical situations and to render a wide spectrum of patient care. Consequently, it is essential that in its admission process and on an on-going basis, Yale PA Online judge the student’s physical and emotional capabilities to meet the full requirements of the program’s curriculum and to graduate as a skilled and effective health care provider.

A Yale PA Online student should possess abilities and skills in five core areas, with or without reasonable accommodation:

  • observation
  • communication
  • motor
  • intellectual
  • behavioral and social

On occasion, a student’s ability to meet our technical standards may change during the course of their studies. In such instances, the student should notify the program as soon as possible. In addition, the student may request a reasonable accommodation by seeking assistance through Student Accessibility Services (SAS). The student, SAS, and program leadership will work together to provide reasonable accommodation while still maintaining the technical standards. In the event that a student is not able to meet the technical standards with reasonable accommodation, the student may be dismissed from the program.


Students must have sufficient sensory capacity, with or without reasonable accommodation, to observe in the laboratory, the outpatient setting, and at the patient’s bedside. Sensory skills adequate to perform a physical examination are required, including functional vision, hearing, smell, and tactile sensation. All these senses must be adequate to observe a patient’s condition and to elicit information through procedures regularly required in a physical examination, such as inspection, auscultation, and palpation.


Students must be able to, with or without reasonable accommodation, communicate effectively and sensitively with patients and others in both academic and health care settings. They must be able to speak and hear clearly and show evidence of effective written and verbal communication skills including the ability to read. They must be able to describe changes in mood, activity, and posture, and perceive non-verbal communications. 


Students must have sufficient motor function to elicit information from patients by palpation, auscultation, percussion, and other diagnostic maneuvers, with or without reasonable accommodation. Students must have sufficient motor function to execute movements reasonably required to provide general care and emergency care to patients, including but not limited to cardiopulmonary resuscitation, the administration of intravenous medication, the application of pressure to stop bleeding, the opening of obstructed airways, the suturing of simple wounds, and the performance of simple obstetrical maneuvers. Students must be able to, with or without reasonable accommodation, negotiate patient care environments and must be able to move between settings, such as clinic, classroom, building, and hospital. Physical stamina sufficient to complete the rigorous course of didactic and clinical study is required. Long periods of sitting, standing, or moving are required in classroom, laboratory, and clinical experiences.

Intellectual-Conceptual, Integrative, and Quantitative Abilities

Students must be able, with or without reasonable accommodation, to measure, calculate, reason, analyze, and synthesize. Problem solving, one of the critical skills demanded of physician assistants, requires all of these intellectual abilities. In addition, students must be able to comprehend three-dimensional relationships and to understand the spatial relationships of structures. Students must be able to read, understand, and critically evaluate medical literature. In order to complete the Yale PA Online, students must be able to demonstrate mastery of these skills, and the ability to use them together in a timely fashion in medical problem solving and patient care.

Behavioral and Social Attributes

Students must possess the emotional health required for full utilization of their intellectual abilities, the exercise of good judgment, and the completion of all academic and patient care responsibilities. The development of mature, sensitive, and effective relationships with patients and other members of the health care team are essential. The ability to function in the face of uncertainties inherent in clinical practice, adaptability to changing environments, flexibility, compassion, integrity, motivation, interpersonal skills, and concern for others are all required.

To learn more about Yale PA Online, request information and an admissions counselor will contact you.