Overview of CHT Credential Program

Hand Therapy Certification is a voluntary credentialing program established in 1989, by the Hand Therapy Certification Commission, Inc., (HTCC) to certify occupational and physical therapists in the advanced clinical speciality for upper quarter rehabilitation.

From its inception the Board of Directors of HTCC envisioned a two-step process of Certification and Recertification in order to:

  • Serve the public and hand therapy communities by maintaining high standards in the practice of hand therapy,
  • Enhance the quality of patient care
  • Recognize occupational and physical therapists who have achieved this advanced level of professional knowledge,
  • Encourage participation in continuing education and professional development.

The Certified Hand Therapist (CHT) credential distinguishes an occupational therapist as someone who has met the minimum eligibility requirements, including 4 000 hours or more in direct practice in hand therapy and who has successfully completed a comprehensive test of advanced clinical skills and theory in upper quarter rehabilitation.

The Hand Therapy Certification Examination

The Hand Therapy Certification Examination is administered on the firstSaturday of November at 18 locations throughout the United States, 2 sites in Canada, and 1 site in Australia.

Since its formation, the Hand Therapy Certification Commission has been commited to offering a valid and reliable certification examination using the highest standards of examination development methodology.

The content of the examination has been determined by the results of the 2001 Practice Analysis Survey. Each question was carefully written, referenced, and validated by practising Certified Hand Therapists. The examination is a pencil and paper test consisting of 200 multiple choice questions. The candidate is then asked to choose the best answer from four options.

How a Country Can Become Eligible to Offer the CHT Examination

A practice analysis must be completed, and be found to be consistent with practices in the countries that have been approved by the HTCC, prior to accepting hours towards Certification or Recertification in a new country. This ensures that the standards of HTCC are upheld and that there is a consistency throughout the Hand Therapy Certification Program.

An online international practice analysis has been posted on HTCC's website at www.htcc.org.

Once 40 Therapists from a country have responded, HTCC will analyze the date and determine similarities in practice. If the practices are found to be similar, the Board could extend eligibility to that country. HTCC would then work with a local steering committee to explore establishing a test site.

Individual Eligibility Requirements

In all cases, it is a prerequisite to legally practice in the given location.

  • You must have been certified or licensed for a minimum of 5 years, based on the date of issue of the certificate or licence. For example, if taking the test in 2005, the date of issue must be on or before November 7, 2000.
  • You must have a minimum of 4 000 hours of DIRECT Practice Experience* in hand therapy. These hours must have been acquired in the United States, Canada, Great Britain, Australia or New Zealand within 5 years of the application deadline.
* Direct Practice Experience is the direct provision of patient care through assessment and implementationof an individualized treatment plan including but not limited to splinting. Modalities and/or exercise to prevent dysfunction maximize functional recovery or influence the effect of pathology in the upper quarter. It does not include time spent in administration, research, teaching or consultation.