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Important Dates
2017 Exams
May 1 - 6
November 6 - 11
eligibility requirements

Change in Eligibility Requirements

Starting with the May 2017 examination, 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) years. The requirement of 4000 hours in direct hand therapy practice experience remains unchanged. Click here to view the Public White Paper.

You must be an occupational therapist or physical therapist with a current professional credential. Depending on your profession and where you practice, a professional credential may include a license, certificate, or registration. In all cases, it is the credential that you need to legally practice in that location. This credential must be active, and you must be in good standing with the agency that issued it.

  • You must have been certified or licensed for a minimum of three years, based on date of issue of the certificate or license.
  • For the May exam, the date of issue must be on or before May 1st, three years prior.
  • For the November exam, the date of issue must be on or before November 1st, three years prior.
  • Examples of acceptable proof for length of practice include a copy of your original license, or a copy of your NBCOT certificate, or a print-out from your state licensure board with your original date of licensure. Work under a temporary license cannot be included.
  • You must have accrued a minimum of 4,000 hours of Direct Practice Experience in hand therapy as described below. This experience may have been obtained at any time during your practice as an OT or PT. It may have been obtained in any country. Clinical hours obtained as a COTA, PTA or on a temporary license cannot be submitted. Direct Practice Experience hours must be accrued by the close of the application deadline, no projected hours will be accepted.

Direct Practice Experience

Direct Practice Experience is the direct provision of patient care through assessment and implementation of an individualized treatment plan including but not limited to orthotics/splinting, modalities and/or exercise to prevent dysfunction, maximize functional recovery or influence the effect of pathology in the upper quarter. It does not include time spent in administration, research, teaching or consultation.