About Essential Tasks

UNLV is dedicated to the equality of educational opportunity and is committed to the creation and maintenance of a campus environment free of barriers that effectively discriminate against those with disabilities. In order to assure complete equality in access, we must make reasonable classroom accommodations for students with disabilities, in the techniques we use in teaching them, and in the methods, we use for evaluating their progress. In the same vein, becoming a physical therapist requires the completion of a professional education program that is both intellectually and physically challenging.

The purpose of this page is to articulate the demands of this program in a way that will allow prospective students to compare their own capabilities against these demands.

Reasonable Accommodation

Applicants are asked about their ability to complete these tasks, with or without reasonable accommodation. Reasonable accommodation refers to ways in which the university can assist students with disabilities to accomplish these tasks (for example, providing extra time to complete an examination). Reasonable accommodation does not mean that students with disabilities will be exempt from certain tasks; it does mean that we will work with students having disabilities to determine whether there are ways that we can assist the student toward completion of all required tasks.

Prospective students who indicate that they can complete these tasks, with or without reasonable accommodation, are not required to disclose the specifics of their disabilities prior to an admission decision. Prospective students who cannot complete these tasks with or without accommodation are ineligible for consideration for admission.

Requesting Reasonable Accommodation

If admitted, a student with a disability who wishes reasonable accommodation must request it in writing, specifying the accommodation, through the Disability Resource Center. An offer of admission may be withdrawn if it becomes apparent that the student cannot complete essential tasks even with accommodation, that the accommodations needed are not reasonable and would cause undue hardship to the institution, or that fulfilling the functions would create a significant risk of harm to the health or safety of others.

Prospective students who have questions about this page or who have a documented disability that may require assistance will need to contact the Disability Resource Center. for coordination with academic accommodations. The Coordinator of the Disability Resource Center will route the inquiry to the Department of Physical Therapy, if appropriate.

  • Students must meet class standards for course completion throughout the curriculum.
  • Students must be able to read, write, speak, and understand English at a level consistent with successful course completion and development of positive patient-therapist relationships.
  • Students must complete readings, assignments, and other activities outside of class hours.
  • Students must gather decision-making pieces of information during patient assessment or research activities in class or in the clinical setting without the use of an intermediary such as a classmate, a physical therapist assistant, or an aide.
  • Students may perform treatment activities in class or in the clinical setting by direct performance or by instruction and supervision of intermediaries.
  • Students must apply critical thinking processes to their work in the classroom and the clinic, must exercise sound judgment in class and in the clinic, and must follow safety procedures established for each class and clinic.
  • Students must have interpersonal skills as needed for productive classroom discussion, respectful interaction with classmates and faculty, and development of appropriate therapist-patient relationships.
  • Students must maintain personal appearance and hygiene conducive to classroom and clinical settings.
  • Students must maintain cardiopulmonary resuscitation certification at the health professional level.
  • Students must demonstrate appropriate health status prior to clinical affiliations, with annual updates on some items: no active tuberculosis, rubella (German measles) and rubeola (measles) immunization, tetanus-diphtheria booster within 10 years of anticipated graduation, and hepatitis B vaccine series or written declination.
  • Students may be required to complete OSHA-regulated Bloodborne Pathogen Exposure Training.
  • Students must follow standards and policies specified in the UNLVPT Handbook, the Educational Affiliation Agreement (contract between university and clinical sites), and the Clinical Education Manual.

  • Students typically attend classes 30 or more hours per week during each academic semester and summer terms. Classes consist of a combination of lecture, discussion, laboratory, research, and clinical activities. When on clinical rotation, students are typically present at the clinic 40 or more hours per week on a schedule that corresponds to the operating hours of the clinic.
  • Students typically sit for 2-10 hours daily, stand for 1-2 hours daily, and walk or travel for 2 hours daily.
  • Students typically relocate outside the Las Vegas area to complete one or more clinical rotations of 6-12 weeks each.
  • Students frequently lift less than 10 pounds and occasionally lift weight between 10 and 100 pounds.
  • Students occasionally carry up to 25 pounds while walking up to 50 feet.
  • Students frequently exert 75 pounds of push/pull forces to objects up to 50 feet and occasionally exert 150 pounds of push/pull forces for this distance.
  • Students frequently twist, bend, and stoop.
  • Students occasionally squat, crawl, climb stools, reach above shoulder level, and kneel.
  • Students frequently move from place to place and position to position and must do so at a speed that permits safe handling of classmates and patients.
  • Students frequently stand and walk while providing support to a classmate simulating a disability or while supporting a patient with a disability.
  • Students occasionally climb stairs or negotiate uneven terrain.
  • Students continuously use their hands repetitively with a simple grasp and frequently use a firm grasp and manual dexterity skills. Students frequently coordinate verbal and manual activities with gross motor activities.
  • Students use auditory, tactile, and visual senses to receive classroom instruction and to evaluate and treat patients.