Specifications for the Hand Therapy Certification Examination are based on the results of a practice analysis study, which is performed periodically by credentialing groups to learn about changes and trends within a profession.
First Practice Analysis in 1985
The first Practice Analysis (then known as a Role Delineation Study) was performed by the American Society of Hand Therapists (ASHT) in 1985 and was written up in the Journal of Hand Therapy in 1987. Based on the results of that study, ASHT membership voted to develop a certification program oriented toward the tasks and activities performed by hand therapists (measure ROM, test strength, etc.). HTCC incorporated as a separate body in 1989 in order to develop the certification program.
Second Practice Analysis in 1994
The second Practice Analysis was conducted by HTCC in 1994 and published in the Journal of Hand Therapy in 1996. The new study tried to find out more about the theory and knowledge that serves as the underpinning of hand therapy; as a result, the knowledge domains were changed to reflect the professional behaviors of a hand therapist (assess patients, plan treatment, etc.).
Third Practice Analysis in 2001
The primary rationale for performing the analysis in 2000-2001 was to update the current profiles of practice, including domains, tasks, knowledge, and skills, as well as the profiles of diagnostic categories and therapeutic procedures implemented across all settings in which hand therapists are employed. The results of this practice analysis led to:
- Revision of the existing test blueprint of the Hand Therapy Certification Examination.
- Refinement of the definition and scope of hand therapy that had been based on the original role-delineation study in 1985.
- Revision of HTCC policies regarding accrual of work experience hours that can be used for certification or recertification eligibility.
- More detailed information about competencies in hand therapy.
Fourth Practice Analysis in 2008
The 2008 Practice Analysis was published in the October/December 2009 issue of the Journal of Hand Therapy. It describes the results of the 2008 Practice Analysis Survey conducted by HTCC, which was the fourth study performed since 1985. An updated porfile of the domains, tasks, knowledge and techniques and tools used in hand therapy was developed. The results led to the revision of the test specifications of the Hand Therapy Certification Examination. The definition and scope of practice were also refined. Results were used to update HTCC policies regarding certification and recertification eligibility. As a result of the 2008 Practice Analysis:
- HTCC no longer requires work experience to be acquired in any specific country. All occupational and physical therapists who meet the eligibility requirements may apply to take the examination.
- HTCC no longer requires that the 4,000 hours of practice experience be accrued within the five years preceding the application.
Click here to download a PDF of the complete 2008 Practice Analysis article.