Preparing for a FCE

By: Tracy Witty

Functional Capacity Evaluations are requested when someone needs to know if you are safely able to do your past or present job.  


Your evaluator will have received and read your medical records and be familiar with your injury, treatment and diagnosis.  They may send instructions beforehand to make the day go well.  For example, usually you will want to wear comfortable, athletic clothing unless instructed otherwise.  And, if scheduled for a full-day, then you need to be prepared with a packed lunch or go nearby for lunch.  Try to get a good night sleep the day before and arrive on-time to your scheduled appointment.  The length of FCEs can vary, but it i typically booked for a 1/2 day or full-day.  It is normal to feel some anxiety, but try to use breathing or other strategies beforehand.


The standard parts of a FCE includes the following: 

  • signing informed consent which includes a description of the FCE, risks and the purpose
  • being informed on how to communicate your symptoms during the evaluation 
  • wearing a heart rate monitor to ensure your safety and monitor your exertion 
  • sharing your current symptoms including location and severity 
  • sharing your current medical and therapy schedule 
  • bring a list of your current medications
  • grip strength testing - your evaluator is looking for you to try your best all-day
  • explaining your social and work history - it is helpful to bring a resume or CV if you have one
  • undergoing a musculoskeletal examination to see how your body moves, observe any swelling, etc.
  • cardiovascular testing by walking, stepping, and/or climbing 
  • other physical tasks that are designed to test your essential job demands
  • work simulation tasks to mimic the actual job
  • some tests are repeated
  • some time cognitive tests are given depending on the injury and job

During the FCE, you will be providing feedback frequently while your evaluator is observing your body positions and making sure you are safe throughout the day.  At the end of the day, your evaluator may request you contact them with any change in symptoms over the next one to three days.


If you experience a change in symptoms in the days following the FCE, it is best to contact your evaluator and let them know.  Sometimes, they will reach out to follow-up with you.  Although your job is done, the evaluator will analyze your data, review your medical records again and start writing the report.  The FCE report is typically sent directly to the individual or entity who has requested and funded the FCE.  If you would like a copy of the FCE report, contact your evaluator.


Our facility is located on the 17th floor of a building located in Los Angeles.  We offer free parking and our clinic is accessed via elevator.  Your evaluator will meet you at the reception area and show you around.  You will be shown the clinic where you will be spending your time, the kitchen where you can store your lunch, as well as the washroom for breaks as needed.  The lunch break is usually ~30 minutes.  There are many restaurants within walking distance or you have access to a shared lounge with cable television.  There is guest wifi.

You will be given a heart rate monitor that will monitor your heart rate for the day.   Our office uses digital measuring devices to ensure your measurements are taken, recorded and stored accurately.  

You can see learn more about your evaluator by accessing the Our Team page on this website or give us a call if you have any additional questions.   Remember to communicate with your evaluator for a safe experience.