EMS Physical Ability Testing

Physical Ability Testing

Avesta’s physical ability test was designed to assess a candidate’s ability to perform job-related tasks which require high-endurance and physical skill. The purpose in validating a physical ability test is to provide EMS providers with the scientific and legal basis for using physical ability test outcomes as a basis for employment screenings. These test criteria measure abilities such as strength, muscular flexibility, and stamina.


Ease Of Assessment

While some physical ability tests may require a third party to administer the assessment, Avesta kept the administration of the process simple. The test can be administered in-house by most EMS agencies. More importantly, the test was validated specifically for clinical caregivers employed by the EMS industry.


Test Criteria

  • Muscular Tension – Tasks requiring pushing, pulling, lifting
  • Fine Motor Skills – Tasks requiring the individual to perform dexterity and fine motor skills after being physically taxed
  • Muscular Endurance – Tasks involving repetitions of exercises (e.g., carrying objects up and down stairs)
  • Cardiovascular Endurance Tests – Tasks assessing aerobic capacity
  • Flexibility Tests – Tasks where bending, twisting, stretching or reaching of a body segment occurs


Materials Provided

Avesta’s physical ability test includes instructional materials for candidates, educating them about proper lifting techniques prior to the test. In addition, an exercise and conditioning program is provided to help prepare candidates ahead of time, as well as provide a training regimen if re-testing is required.

The instructional materials are designed to give candidates opportunities to perform to the best of their ability on the PAT. In addition, comprehensive training materials are provided to the test administrator, to help create and ensure a standardized and fair testing experience for every candidate.


Linkage Studies

Enhancing the legal defensibility of the physical tests requires your agency to meet the Job-Related and Consistent with Business Necessity Standard: Any selection test that is implemented in an agency must be job-related and consistent with business necessity as dictated by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as well as the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.

Put simply, if the physical test is ever challenged in court, your organization must be prepared to demonstrate the specific links to job-relatedness. Avesta can conduct a Linkage Study for your organization to demonstrate that the physical test is job-related for jobs within your company.  The Linkage Study is designed to demonstrate the relation of the PAT test to our existing validation studies.


Adverse Impact and Physical Tests

In the context of using physical tests for selection, adverse impact occurs when an identical standard for passing is applied to everyone despite the fact that it leads to a substantial difference in selection for members of a particular group (e.g., women and older applicants). Due to immutable physiological differences between men and women, women and older applicants tend to fail physical ability tests at a much higher rate than most men.

Your organization must be prepared to defend the Adverse Impact results of its physical ability test by demonstrating that your PAT is supported by sound evidence linked to job-related and consistent with business necessity. In addition, your agency should also consider whether alternative tests exist that offer the same benefits of the physical test in selecting candidates who will be successful in the job but without the adverse impact.