University of Nebraska Medical Center

Technical Standards & Essential Functions

Technical Standards and Essential Functions of a UNMC Occupational Therapy Student

Receiving an entry-level doctoral degree in occupational therapy from the Occupational Therapy Program indicates the graduate is eligible to take the national certification examination and is prepared to enter the profession. This page outlines technical standards and essential functions required for UNMC occupational therapy students to complete their education and training in the Occupational Therapy (OT) Program. Technical standards and essential functions apply to academic and clinical settings, as well as civil public behavior.

Technical standards and essential functions are stated to ensure that all students are aware of the expectations of the program. Students affirm their compliance, with or without reasonable accommodation, as a condition of admission and on an annual basis thereafter.


  • Technical standards are the knowledge, skills, and attitudes a student applicant must possess at admission, indicating their preparation for entry into the program. Technical standards are crucial for continued participation in the program.
  • Essential functions are the knowledge, skills, and attitudes that all students must be able to execute, with or without a reasonable accommodation, in order to graduate from the program. Essential functions are crucial for occupational therapists in practice.
  • Reasonable accommodations will be provided for qualified students with disabilities so they can meet essential functions. Reasonable accommodations will be established on an individual basis in consultation with the UNMC Accessibility Services Center.

Students must meet essential functions in four categories across academic and practice settings in order to progress in and complete the Occupational Therapy Program. The categories include:

  1. Professional standards and ethics;
  2. Mental functions;
  3. Sensory- and movement-related functions; and
  4. Communication and social interaction

1. Professional standards and ethics

2. Mental functions

3. Sensory- and movement-related functions

4. Communication and social interaction


  • Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education. (2018). 2018 ACOTE standards and interpretive guide (effective July 31, 2020).
  • American Occupational Therapy Association. (2020). AOTA 2020 Occupational therapy code of ethics. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 74, 7413410005

Americans with Disabilities Act

Students enrolled in the OTD program are expected to meet the Essential Functions set forth by the UNMC Occupational Therapy Program in order to be eligible for graduation. Sections 502 of the Federal Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act (1990) give students with disabilities certain rights regarding student and staff services and the curriculum. For information on the process for requesting accommodation for disability, contact Division of Student Success, 402-559-4199.