Technical Standards

Applicants are selected based on the Admissions Committee's assessment of their ability to successfully complete the training, and competently function in the role of the profession as defined by: the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant, Inc., as published in the Accreditation Standards for Physician Assistant Education; the State of Pennsylvania as published in the Medical Practice Act; and the Program. Successful matriculation necessitates that all candidates must have the physical, emotional, and intellectual attributes necessary for success in this type of education.


For admission to the program candidates must:

  • Have the academic ability to learn a large volume of technically detailed information, and be able to synthesize and use this data to solve complex clinical problems. This information must be acquired in a short and intense period of study,that requires well-developed study skills, a high level of motivation, and may require considerable personal and financial sacrifice.
  • Possess the emotional maturity and stability to approach highly stressful human situations in a calm and rational manner.
  • Have the ability to effectively communicate with ill patients from a wide diversity of cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds in an empathetic and sensitive fashion.
  • Have well-developed oral and written communication skills.
  • Have comfort with the role of a dependent practitioner operating under the supervision of a licensed physician, while simultaneously feeling comfortable with the large amount of responsibility that goes along with the delivery of patient care in sometimes remote locations.
  • Display strong ethical integrity consistent with working as a health care professional.
  • Have sufficient physical abilities in the areas of sensory function (vision, hearing and touch sensation), hand-eye coordination, and neurologic and muscular coordination and control to competently perform the technical activities that are a critical part of the program and profession, including:
  • Physical examinations, which include visual inspection, listening to heart and lung sounds with a stethoscope, examination by touch to gather information such as skin temperature and texture, and other maneuvers.
  • Performance and interpretation of diagnostic studies such as blood tests, EKG's, and X-rays.
  • Surgical assisting, which can involve activities such as control of bleeding and suturing (wound closure by placing stitches).
  • Performing common procedures such as applying casts, suturing, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), venipuncture (placing needle into a vein to collect a blood sample) and starting an intravenous access line.