CHT Exam Eligibility

I went to OT school knowing that I wanted to be a CHT. I patiently waited 5 years to be eligible to sit for the exam while accruing the necessary hours in direct hand therapy practice. Did anything change for me between years 3-5 of my learning/studying? Yes. I think every year of learning and gaining experience working in the profession brings new knowledge and skills. Could I have benefited from earning my CHT sooner – absolutely! Many doctors will only refer their hand patients to therapists who hold the CHT title. Additionally, I found that the process of studying was an enlightening experience in and of itself, and I wish I had started it sooner (rather than a mere 5 months before sitting for the exam!)

Well, for all of you out there who are looking to take the CHT exam, you now only have to have 3 years under your belt! In December 2016, Martin Walsh of the Hand Therapy Certification Commission (HTCC) sent out the following email:


Change in the Hand Therapy Certification Examination eligibility requirement from five (5) years to three (3) years after certification or licensure as an occupational therapist or physical therapist.

SACRAMENTO, CA, December 14, 2016 – Starting in May 2017, candidates for the Hand Therapy Certification Examination will be required to be licensed as an occupational therapist or a physical therapist for three (3) years instead of five (5). The requirement of 4,000 hours in direct hand therapy practice experience remains unchanged.

This change was influenced by several observations by the Hand Therapy Certification Commission (HTCC) Examination Committee. In 2014, HTCC in consultation with Professional Examination Service (ProExam), performed a practice analysis study of hand therapy, the fifth in a series of similar studies performed by HTCC over a 30-year period. In 2016, HTCC published the results of this analysis in the Journal of Hand Therapy. Through the practice analysis process and feedback received since it was completed, it was identified that new therapists appear to be acquiring hand therapy knowledge at a more accelerated rate than their predecessors due to immediate access of information through technology and advanced academic requirements. The practice analysis showed that much of the knowledge gained by therapists was obtained in the first two years of specialization. In addition, both occupational therapists and physical therapists now enter practice with a graduate degree instead of a bachelor degree.

So what are you waiting for?

Start off on the right foot with Right Hand Therapy courses and you’ll be passing the CHT exam in no time!