Is becoming a hand therapist right for me?

The first step to choosing a career is to make sure you are actually willing to commit to pursuing the career. You don’t want to waste your time doing something you don’t want to do. If you’re new here, you should read about:

What do hand therapists do?
What are hand therapists like?

Still unsure if becoming a hand therapist is the right career path? to find out if this career is right for you. Perhaps you are well-suited to become a hand therapist or another similar career!

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How to become a Hand Therapist

In order to become a certified hand therapist, students need to complete a Bachelor's Degree in Biology, Psychology, Health Science, or Kinesiology with coursework related to physical or occupational therapy.

Getting a Master's Degree in Physical Therapy or Occupational Therapy requires a full-time two to three year commitment, involving classroom, clinical, and laboratory education. Programs provide the necessary clinical, research, and theoretical training needed to pursue licensure.

A license is required to work as a physical therapist or occupational therapist in the United States. To qualify for state licensure, aspiring hand therapists should have graduated from an accredited OT or PT program. To become licensed, students need to pass the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy certification exam, or the National Physical Therapy Exam. Exact licensure requirements vary by state and may consist of continuing education coursework.

Before considering certification in hand therapy, individuals must have five years of work experience, with 4,000 hours of hand therapy work, according to the Hand Therapy Certification Commission (HTCC).

Once individuals meet the education and eligibility requirements, they can take the Hand Therapy Certification Examination, administered by the Hand Therapy Certification Commission. This exam is a rigorous four-hour multiple-choice test covering topics such as patient evaluation and therapeutic treatments. Recertification is required every five years.