physical capacity evaluation (PCE)

An intensive short-term (usually one-day) evaluation that focuses on major physical tolerance abilities related to musculoskeletal strength, endurance, speed, and flexibility. Also known as a physical capacity evaluation (PCE), functional capacity assessment (FCA), work capacity evaluation (WCE), or informally as “functional testing.” FCE is not only a useful clinical tool, but also a baseline for industry-standard results that clearly define an individual’s transition from injury to employment, and from disability to deployment.

physical demand factors

The revised Handbook for Analyzing Jobs indicates that the physical demands of an occupation are described in relationship to 20 factors, including strength, climbing, balancing, stooping, kneeling, crouching, crawling, reaching, handling, fingering, feeling, talking, hearing, tasting/smelling, near acuity, far acuity, accommodation, environment, color vision, field of vision.

Matheson also defines such physical demand factors as above-shoulder work, static neck positioning, static standing, and dynamic standing.

physical effort

Defined by Matheson as an individual’s tendency to provide high levels of physical exertion during encountered testing procedures. This type of testing is best evaluated via a multifaceted approach, ideally implementing a combination of isometric, behavioral, and/or cardiovascular measures to help gauge a client’s level of effort.

Physical effort testing is not intended to imply motivation or intent. Possible reasons for submaximal effort include fear of pain, desire to have the evaluator fully appreciate one’s level of perceived dysfunction, desire for secondary gain, and/or habitual display of reduced abilities related to one’s chronic pain cycle. (Kyi, Matheson, 1997)

physical effort testing

Refers to an individual’s levels of physical exertion during encountered test procedures.

Post-Offer employment testing (POET) and job analysis

See Post-Offer pre-placement testing (PPT) and job analysis

Post-Offer, pre-placement testing (PPT) and job analysis

Testing and analysis that ensures that an applicant’s physical abilities match the demands of the job. For any organization that places applicants in jobs with high levels of physical exertion or dexterity, or jobs with a history of injuries, Post-Offer, pre-placement testing and job analysis is a crucial step in avoiding injury and its costs.


Posture refers to the position of a specific body part relative to an adjacent body part, determined by the angle of the joint connecting them.

practice hierarchy

Safety, followed by reliability, validity, practicality, and utility. The foundation of the Matheson philosophy, and espoused by such organizations as the American Psychological Association, the American Physical Therapy Association, the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), and the American Academy of Occupational Medicine and Rehabilitation. Resting on this foundation are four pillars: respect for the person being evaluated, use of best practices, the thinking evaluator concept, and a focus on case resolution. This approach treats both fee payer and injured worker fairly while keeping the injured worker safe during the evaluation.


Matheson Marketplace


“This Ergonomics Evaluation Certification Program is extremely valuable. Dr. LaCourse is an excellent instructor with years of hands-on experience. I would highly recommend it to anyone interested in reducing cumulative trauma disorders.”

“Also, I just completed my very first FCE today……. And it was AWESOME!!! I could hear you talking in the back of my head the whole time! Very exciting!! Thanks for such a great learning experience!”

“I was so impressed with my entire Matheson experience.”

“As a provider of FCEs for 12-plus years, I have been through several training programs. I would recommend Matheson without reservation. Thanks to your training, my staff is the best prepared in my area. It has made a difference for my business and has set us ahead of our competition.”

“Far and away the best certification course I have attended in my seven-year professional career. The instructors are knowledgeable and apply all of the information to real-world scenarios. Thank you!”

This Ergonomics Evaluation Certification Program is extremely valuable. Dr. LaCourse is an excellent instructor with years of hands-on experience. I would highly recommend it to anyone interested in reducing cumulative trauma disorders.”

“Of all the FCE training I have received, Matheson is the most evidence-based. I like that it is a battery of standardized tests, and not a standard battery of tests. It also requires thinking as an evaluator, unlike other programs that don’t allow you to consider any non-quantitative factors, which results in an opinion of functional capacity lacking in external validity. The Matheson FCE makes the most of what is available right now.”

“The Amended ADA Webinar was outstanding and I really appreciate your willingness to do them.  You have gotten to the heart of the matter in the “gray areas” that people have familiarity with, but are not comfortable discussing.  I treasure every one of these webinars.  They have helped me be a better evaluator and allowed me to speak intelligently to our employers and other referral sources.”

“I just wanted to e-mail you and let you know that I found this webinar to be extremely helpful to me in my position as an the on site PT manager. In my opinion your webinar provided excellent information about the ADA issues we may face and invaluable advice to avoid legal pitfalls related to our work site analysis and testing procedures.”

“We are utilizing the Matheson philosophy not only for Functional Capacity Evaluation, but also for the foundation of interdisciplinary treatment of chronic pain patients at our clinic in Waltham MA, Boston PainCare. The culture of function is throughout all of our departments, interventional, functional rehabilitation, medication management, sleep, and behavioral.
Spending the week training for FCEs in Keene, NH was very exciting as it allowed me to know that we are not only on the…”

The instructors did an excellent job of breaking down the complex concepts into the most simple and understandable pieces of information. My folders of countless papers from various sources, both online and off, have been consolidated into one well-laid out reference book!

Thank you for having the Essential Function Job Analysis course available. I have been doing job analyses and post offer test formulation at my company for 8 years now and this course taught me that we need to (and will) make some adjustments to our procedures to better defend any possible legal challenges. That means a great deal to me as a business owner.

“Your webinars have made me a better evaluator and allowed me to speak intelligently to our employers and other referral sources.”


Matheson Development