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Hand Therapy

What is a Certified Hand Therapist?

A Certified Hand therapist is an Occupational Therapist or Physical Therapist who:

  • Has at least 5 years of clinical experience with 4,000 hours or more of specialty experience in hand therapy

  • Has successfully passed a comprehensive test of advanced knowledge related to the hand, wrist, elbow and shoulder.

  • Meets the standards set by experts in hand therapy

  • Is dedicated to advancing the profession through research and teaching

  • Recertifies every 5 years by either acquiring 2,000 hours of work experience and 80 hours of professional development that may include research, teaching or continuing medical education, or by successful completion of the Hand Therapy Certification Examination
  • Is professionally committed to assuring the public that they meet the high standards that the medical community recognizes in the credentials of the Certified hand Therapist (CHT)


CHTs are highly skilled in evaluating:

  • Wounds and scars

  • Edema

  • Pain

  • Range of Motion

  • Strength and Endurance

  • Sensibility

  • Activities of Daily Living (or Self Care activities)

  • Work Activities

  • Avocational Activities

  • Sports Activities


There are 5,572 Certified Hand Therapists worldwide:

  • United States                                                5,294

  • Canada                                                         172

  • Australia and New Zealand                          75

  • US Territories & military                              3                                              bases, and other countries


They are broken down by profession as follows:

  • Occupational Therapists                               86%

  • Physical Therapists                                       14%

  • CHTs who are both OT & PT                       <1%


The benefits of working with CHTs:

  • CHTs stay current in the profession.

  • CHTs have a comprehensive knowledge of the intricate anatomy of the upper extremity.                            

  • CHTs are familiar with advanced surgical techniques and post-operative programs.

  • CHTs have the clinical expertise to effectively manage injuries and medical conditions of the upper extremity.

Leslie Schilling, OTR/CHT

Hand therapy is the art and science of rehabilitation of the upper limb, which includes the hand, wrist, elbow and shoulder girdle. It is a merging of occupational therapy and physical therapy theory and practice that combines comprehensive knowledge of the structure of the upper limb with function and activity. Using specialized skills in assessment, planning and treatment, hand therapists provide therapeutic interventions to prevent dysfunction, restore function and/ or reverse the progression of pathology of the upper limb in order to enhance an individual’s ability to execute tasks and to participate fully in life situations.


Call 940-759-6198 for an appointment