Occupational Therapy

Essential Functions

Occupational Therapy students must demonstrate competency in all of the following learning domains:

  • Observation
  • Communication
  • Psychomotor Skills
  • Intellectual and Cognitive Abilities
  • Professional and Social Attributes
  • Ethical Standards


Candidates must be able to accurately observe close at hand and at a distance to learn skills and to gather data (e.g., observe an instructor's movements, a patient's gait or verbal response, a chemical reaction, a microscopic image, etc.).


Candidates must be able to communicate effectively and efficiently. Candidates must be able to process and comprehend written material.

Psychomotor Skills

Candidates must safely execute various tasks and physical maneuvers that are required within each program.

Intellectual and Cognitive Abilities

Candidates must be able to measure, calculate, reason, analyze, synthesize, integrate, remember and apply information. Creative problem-solving and clinical reasoning require all of these intellectual abilities. In addition, specific programs require that candidates must be able to comprehend three-dimensional relationships and understand the spatial relationships of structures.

Professional and Social Attributes

Candidates must exercise good judgment and promptly complete all responsibilities required of each program. They must develop mature, sensitive, and effective professional relationships with others. They must be able to tolerate taxing workloads and function effectively under stress. They must be able to adapt to changing environments, display flexibility, and function in the face of uncertainties and ambiguities. Concern for others, interpersonal competence and motivation are requisite for all programs.

Ethical Standards

A candidate must demonstrate professional attitudes and behaviors and must perform in an ethical manner in dealings with others. All programs require personal integrity and the adherence to standards that reflect the values and functions of the profession. Many programs also require students to honor the codes of ethics.

Additional Functions

Doctorate of Occupational Therapy students may be required to attend class or laboratory sessions that meet during the evening hours. Required clinical experiences may also involve relocation to other sites in Texas or surrounding states at the student's expense.

In addition, all students will need to perform the following essential cognitive, affective, and psychomotor functions required of novice practitioners, with or without reasonable accommodations:

  • Process, retain, and integrate information from the following types of sources: Written delivery by instructor(s) or student(s); blackboard data and diagrams; printed materials (handouts, journals, manuals, books, medical records, computer); film and video segments; audio recordings; evaluation and treatment tools; and therapeutic activities.
  • Complete coursework that may require: individual, partnered, or group efforts; following written or oral instructions; recording personal opinions, knowledge, or ratings; verbalizing personal thoughts, feelings, and opinions; instructing others; presenting oral reports; facilitating group discussions; and managing time effectively.
  • Take and pass scheduled pop quizzes, exams, and lab practicals in a variety of formats.
  • Interact with others in a professional manner as defined in the Student Responsibilities and Professional Development Process.
  • Perform in an ethical manner as described in the American Occupational Therapy Association Code of Ethics and the UTMB Professionalism Charter.
  • Evaluate an individual's performance in areas of occupation (basic activities of daily living, instrumental activities of daily living, rest and sleep, education, work, play, leisure, and social participation).
  • Evaluate performance skills (sensory perceptual skills, motor and praxis skills, emotional regulation skills, cognitive skills, and communication and social skills).
  • Evaluate factors specific to individuals in concert with the context and environment in which they live, the daily habits, roles and routines they adopt, and the demands of activities they want to or need to do.
  • Collaborate with an individual in formulating a plan of treatment based on evaluative data that will prevent, treat, or compensate for occupational performance problems.
  • Implement individual and group intervention(s) with individuals of various ages and from divergent cultural or socioeconomic backgrounds.
  • Document the practice process in a variety of formats.
  • Function competently as part of a collaborative team.
  • Function with competence and compassion in a variety of practice arenas.
  • Contribute to effective and ethical management practices.
  • Contribute to the profession's continued growth through research and professional activities.

Site managed by the School of Health Professions • Last Updated: 05-MAY-2021