Technical standards for admissions, matriculation, and graduation

Minimal Technical Standards for Matriculation (the “Standards”) state expectations of ATSU students. The Standards provide sufficient information to allow the candidate to make an informed decision for application. Minimal Technical Standards for Matriculation are a guide to accommodation of students with disabilities. Academic adjustments can be made for disabilities in some instances, but a student must be able to perform in a reasonably independent manner.

Applicants and current students who have questions regarding the technical standards, or who believe they may need to request academic adjustment(s) in order to meet the standards, are encouraged to contact Learning Resources and Accommodation Services. Procedures to apply for academic adjustments are found at the conclusion of this policy.

The holder of a health sciences professional degree must have the knowledge and skills to function in a broad variety of clinical situations and to render a wide spectrum of patient care. In order to carry out the activities described below, candidates for a degree in Physician Assistant Studies, must be able to consistently, quickly, and accurately integrate, analyze, and synthesize data.

A candidate for the Master of Science degree at ATSU-CCPA program must possess abilities and skills in seven identified categories, including observation; communication; motor; sensory; strength, mobility and endurance; intellectual, (conceptual, integrative, and quantitative); and behavioral and social.

These abilities and skills are defined as follows:

  1. Observation: Candidates and students must have sufficient uncorrected or corrected visual acuity, depth perception, and color perception to be able to observe demonstrations, experiments, and laboratory exercises in the basic and clinical sciences. They must be able to observe a patient accurately at a distance of 20 feet and up close. Vision must be sufficient to utilize clinical instrumentation; identify dissected nerves and landmarks on anatomical structures such as the tympanic membrane; observe motion; and evaluate posture, locomotion and movement in a clinical setting. Adequate visual capabilities are necessary for proper evaluation and treatment integration, including the assessment of symmetry, range of motion, and tissue texture changes.
  3. Communication: Candidates and students must possess formal and conversational speech and language skills in English. The student must be able to write, read and comprehend classroom lecture and assessment materials, technical reports, diagnostic and treatment reports and professional correspondence in English. They must be able to speak, hear (with or without the use of amplification and/or other assistive technology), and observe patients in order to elicit information; examine and treat patients; describe changes in mood, activity, and posture; and perceive nonverbal communication. They must be able to communicate effectively and sensitively with patients. They must be able to communicate effectively in oral and written form with all members of the healthcare team.
  5. Motor: Candidates and students must have sufficient motor functions to execute movements required to perform laboratory exercises and provide clinical care. Such actions require coordination of both gross and fine motor movements and equilibrium, and functional use of the senses of touch and vision.
  7. Sensory: Candidates and students must have functional use of sensory skills such as tactile discrimination and proprioception for classroom, laboratory and clinical experiences. Functional use of hearing and vision are also required and are described in the sections above.
  9. Strength, mobility and endurance: Candidates and students must have sufficient upright posture, balance, flexibility, mobility, strength and cardiovascular endurance for standing, sitting, lifting moderate weight and participating in classroom, laboratory and clinical experiences.
  11. Intellectual (conceptual, integrative, and quantitative): Candidates and students must be able to engage in activities of discovery, measurement, calculation, reasoning, analysis, and synthesis. Problem solving, the critical skill demanded of health professionals, requires all of these intellectual abilities. In addition, candidates and students should be able to comprehend three-dimensional relationships and understand the spatial relationships of structures.
  13. Behavioral and social: Candidates and students must possess the emotional health required for full utilization of their intellectual abilities, the exercise of good judgment, the prompt completion of all academic requirements and responsibilities attendant to the diagnosis and care of patients. Candidates and students must be able to develop mature, sensitive, and effective relationships with patients. Candidates and students must be able to adapt to changing environments, display flexibility, and learn to function in the face of uncertainties inherent in the clinical problems of many patients. Compassion, integrity, concern for others, respect for differences, interpersonal skills, interest, and motivation are all personal qualities that will be assessed during the admission and educational processes.

Additional Information

Records and communications regarding disabilities and academic adjustments with the director of Learning Resources and Accommodation Services have no bearing on the application process. You may contact the director at Learning Resources and Accommodation Services, A.T. Still University of Health Sciences, 800 W. Jefferson Street, Kirksville, MO 63501, learningresources@atsu.edu and accommodations@atsu.edu, or by phone at 660.626.2774.

The CCPA program has additional technical standards that a student must meet, which include:

  1. Students must be able to observe and participate in all demonstrations, visual presentations in lectures and laboratories, and computer assisted instruction. In addition, students must be able to observe laboratory evidence and microbiologic cultures, microscopic studies of microorganisms and tissues in normal and pathologic states.
  3. Students must be able to observe patients accurately and completely, both at a distance and closely. This ability requires functional vision, hearing and somatic sensation.
  5. Students must be able to problem solve, collect, organize, prioritize, analyze and assimilate large amounts of technically detailed and complex information within a limited time frame. This information will be presented in a variety of educational settings, including lectures, small group discussions, and individual clinical settings. Students must be able to analyze, integrate, and apply this information appropriately for problem solving and decision-making.
  7. Students must be able to comprehend three dimensional relationships and the spatial relationships of structures.
  9. Students must have sufficient use of the senses of vision, hearing and smell necessary in order to elicit information, perceive nonverbal communications, and describe changes in mood, activity and posture in addition to the psychomotor abilities to allow the performance of all skills/tests in the physical exam. Students must be able to perform inspection, palpation, auscultation and percussion.
  11. Students must be able to relate to patients and family members and establish an empathetic, professional and effective relationship with patients and families including not only speech but reading and writing.
  13. Students are expected to be able to communicate the results of the examination to the patient and to their colleagues with accuracy, clarity, and efficiency in oral, written and electronic formats.
  15. Students are expected to possess the ability to work collaboratively with all members of the healthcare team.
  17. Students must have motor function sufficient to execute movements reasonably required to provide general care and emergency treatment to patients. Such skills require coordination of gross and fine muscular movements, equilibrium and sensation.
  19. Students should be able to manipulate equipment and instruments to perform basic laboratory tests and procedures required to attain curricular goals (e.g. needles, stethoscope, ophthalmoscope, tongue blades, intravenous equipment, gynecologic speculum, and scalpel).
  21. Students must be able to transport themselves from one location to another in a timely fashion in order to facilitate patient care responsibilities and to receive educational training.
  23. Students must have the emotional health to fully use their intellectual ability, exercise good judgement, and complete all responsibilities attendant to the diagnosis and care of patients.
  25. Students must be able to tolerate physical, mental, and emotional stress in training and continue to function effectively.
  27. Students must possess qualities of adaptability, flexibility and be able to function in the face of uncertainty. He/she must have a high level of compassion for others, motivation to serve, integrity, and a consciousness of social values.
  29. Students must possess sufficient interpersonal skills to interact positively with people from all levels of society, all ethnic backgrounds, and all belief systems.
  31. Students must be able to accept criticism and respond by appropriate modification of behavior.
  33. Students are expected to be able to display appropriate judgment in the assessment and treatment of patients. In addition, students must be able to learn and demonstrate the ability to recognize limitations in their knowledge, skills and abilities and to seek appropriate assistance with their identified limitations.
  35. Students are expected to possess perseverance, diligence, and consistency to complete the physician assistant curriculum and enter into the practice of medicine as a certified and licensed physician assistant.

Health Requirements

The CCPA program requires all residential students to provide documented proof of completion of all required immunizations, immunity, screenings and certifications, and maintain compliance with the requirements in this section for the duration of enrollment in the program. Students are responsible for all costs associated with being in compliance with these requirements.

Failure to comply with the health requirements defined below is considered unprofessional conduct and may impact course standing, clinical experience attendance, and graduation date.

Assessment for immunity to disease will require documentation of the following:

  • Hepatitis B
    • Documentation of three (3) dose series of Hepatitis B vaccine. Series must be started prior to matriculation and completed per prescribed timeline
    • OR documentation of a blood test (titer) of immunity to Hepatitis B


  • Influenza – Post matriculation requirement due to seasonal vaccine availability

    • Documentation of seasonal annual Influenza vaccination
    • The CCPA program clinical administrative team will establish a deadline for proof of immunization each calendar year and notify students prior to matriculation


  • Measles Mumps and Rubella – MMR

    • Documentation of two (2) doses of MMR vaccine
    • OR documentation of a blood test (titer) of immunity to Measles Mumps Rubella


  • Tetanus Diphtheria and Pertussis (Whooping Cough) - Tdap

    • Documentation of one (1) adult dose of Tdap vaccine within the last ten (10) years
    • Infant dose (DPT) does not meet this requirement


  • Varicella – Chicken Pox

    • Documentation of two (2) doses of varicella vaccine.
    • OR documentation of a blood test (titer) of immunity to Varicella
    • History of this disease does not meet this requirement


  • Tuberculosis – annual screening

    • During the didactic phase, one (1) negative PPD skin test or one (1) negative QuantiFeron TB Gold blood test within the last twelve (12) months
    • During the clinical phase, a 2-step TB test will be required. Students will not be permitted to attend clinical experiences until all site requirements are met.
    • Students with a history of positive PPD skin test or positive QuantiFeron TB G blood test
      • Documentation of a negative chest x-ray (CXR)
      • AND documentation of medical clearance from your personal healthcare provider annually




  • COVID-19 / SARS-CoV-2

    • COVID-19 vaccinations and boosters are recommended for all students but may be required by clinical rotation sites.
    • If you choose to be vaccinated for COVID-19, vaccination information will need to be submitted to meet potential requirements for future clinical rotations.
    • No lab test results may be substituted for documentation of a completed vaccine series.
    • Please note that many of ATSU College for Health Community’s external clinical partners require students to be vaccinated prior to training in their facilities. Clinical external rotation sites may require additional testing for their site and will be at the expense of the student. Consequently, unvaccinated students may be delayed in completing or unable to successfully complete program requirements.



Immunization Exemptions:

Under certain religious or health circumstances, a student may request an exemption from a preventive health requirement.

Documentation to backup the request may be required. The university, school or program reserves the right to require additional accommodations according to public health risk.

The CCPA program cannot guarantee placement in clinical rotations if an exemption is granted. Consequently, students receiving an exemption from preventive health requirements may take longer to complete the curriculum and graduate, or the student may not be able to complete the curriculum and graduate.

Mistreatment of Students

AT Still University strives to provide a learning environment that is safe, equitable, and welcoming so all learners have the opportunity to succeed academically. Mistreatment of students will not be tolerated. Mistreatment, intentional or unintentional, occurs when behavior shows disrespect for the dignity of others and interferes with the learning process. Student mistreatment may take many forms, all of which impact student performance.

Student Mistreatment

Examples of behavior that are unacceptable include but are not limited to:

  • Disparaging or demeaning comments about an individual or group;
  • Loss of personal civility including shouting, displays of temper, public or private abuse, belittling, or humiliation;
  • Use of grading or other forms of evaluation in a punitive or retaliatory manner;
  • Sending students on inappropriate errands.

Students should be able to access university officials to understand processes and procedures for resolution of their non-academic grievances.

For more information on the Mistreatment Policy visit the program policy sheet.


Title IX Reporting: Discrimination, Harassment, Trauma, Stress

If you inform a faculty member of issues regarding harassment, violence or discrimination, it is his/her duty to inform Student Affairs, Human Resources or ATSU’s Title IX office. A student may also report concerns directly to these offices.

A range of resources are available within the University to assist any student struggling with trauma or stress. The Student Affairs website includes information about resources such as: counseling, self-help, student handbook, catalogs, etc.

For assistance or more information contact:

HUMAN RESOURCES - 660.626.2790 | hr@atsu.edu

STUDENT AFFAIRS - 660.626.2236 / 480.248.8137

TITLE IX OFFICE - 660.626.2113 | titleix@atsu.edu


Grievance policies can be found in the ATSU Catalog.


The information regarding tuition refund can be found at the ATSU Financial Website

CCPA Policy Sheet

Click here to view the CCPA Policy Sheet

Clinical Experience Scheduling

Clinical experiences are scheduled and arranged by the program (not the student). Students are not required, nor allowed, to solicit clinical sites or preceptors. However, because of the nature of the assignment to a Community Health Center, students may infrequently recommend a new site or preceptor to administration. This request must be submitted at least six months in advance of the desired rotation start. All sites and preceptors must be reviewed and evaluated to determine if they are able to provide quality instruction in alignment with program and course goals and objectives. Additionally, an affiliation agreement must be fully executed by the site and the program prior to student participation at that site. Approval and scheduling of all clinical sites and preceptors is the responsibility of the program.