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:
Still unsure if becoming a hand therapist is the right career path? Take the free CareerExplorer career test to find out if this career is in your top matches. Perhaps you are well-suited to become a hand therapist or another similar career!
Described by our users as being “shockingly accurate”, you might discover careers you haven’t thought of before.
How to become a Hand Therapist
In order to become a certified hand therapist, students need to complete a bachelor's degree program in anatomy, biology or psychology 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, such as the Master of Science in Occupational Therapy and Doctor of Physical Therapy, can provide the necessary clinical, research and theoretical training needed to pursue licensure.
A license is required to work as a physical therapist or an 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 must 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.