Certified Hand Therapy Course and Training Programs

Hand therapists are occupational or physical therapists who specialize in rehabilitation of the hand and upper quarter of the arm. Learn about education options and certification requirements in this field. Schools offering Holistic Health Practitioner degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What You Need to Know

Hand therapists practice a specialized form of physical or occupational therapy. After completing training through fellowships and certifications that involve classwork and on-the-job clinical experience to prepare for their careers, they assist patients who suffer from a variety of upper arm ailments.

Responsibilities Treatment and rehabilitation of those suffering from upper arm injuries or disorders
Programs Fellowships lasting less than one year
Courses Treatment planning, upper extremity disorders, surgical recovery, biomechanics and splinting

What Does a Career as a Hand Therapist Involve?

As a certified hand therapist, you'll design treatment plans for patients with a multitude of disorders; you might help individuals suffering from birth defects, abnormalities, arthritis or overuse of joints. You'll use specialized rehabilitation techniques like custom splinting to treat individuals recovering from surgery or who have sustained injuries.

What Certified Hand Therapist Training Programs Are Available?

Educational programs for aspiring hand therapists are typically available as fellowships that can be completed in under a year. In order to enroll in a fellowship program, you must typically be the graduate of an accredited physical or occupational therapy program and be licensed to practice in your state. These training programs can be found at four-year universities. Look for programs that are accredited by the American Board of Physical Therapy Residency and Fellowship Education or a related professional organization, if possible.

The purpose of a hand therapy fellowship program is to help occupational or physical therapists specialize in rehabilitation of the upper quarter of the arm.

What About Certification?

In order to become certified through the Hand Therapist Certification Commission, you'll need three years of experience as a physical or occupational therapist and 4,000 documented hours of on-the-job hand therapy; a fellowship alone will not qualify you for certification. The completion of a fellowship may improve your professional credentials but may not be necessary to obtain certification as a hand therapist.

What Courses Will I Take?

Through a fellowship, your education will most likely be divided into patient care and academic experiences, including regular examinations and reading assignments. Along with clinical experience and didactic coursework, you may also participate in surgical observation and could be expected to complete projects or presentations on special topics in hand therapy. These topics may also be explored:

  • Workplace professionalism
  • Anatomy
  • Physiology
  • Clinical research
  • Treatment planning
  • Upper extremity disorders
  • Surgical recovery
  • Biomechanics
  • Splinting

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools