A Certified Hand Therapist is an occupational therapist or a physical therapist who has specialized in the treatment of upper extremity problems and who has met the criteria to apply for the CHT credential. These criteria include:
- 5 years’ experience as an occupational therapist or a physical therapist
- Logging 4,000 hours of direct patient care treating patients with upper extremity diagnoses
- Passing the hand therapy certification examination (typically requires studying for about one year)
Approximately 90% of Certified Hand Therapists are occupational therapists. There are about 5,500 certified hand therapists in the United States. The inaugural examination was in 1991. Recertification occurs every 5 years.
Why Should You Seek the Services of a Certified Hand Therapist?
Certified Hand Therapists are specialists in treating the upper extremity. They are well-versed in anatomy, physiology, operative procedures of the upper extremity, and splinting (now called orthotics). Many hand surgeons stipulate on their referral paperwork that their patients must be seen by a certified hand therapist.