How to become a Hand Therapist

Paths to becoming a Hand Therapist

The process to become a hand therapist differs around the world. Currently recognition as a qualified Hand Therapist takes place on a national level. There are no plans at this time for an international qualification of hand therapists. In the 2014 IFSHT membership survey, 13 countries indicated that they have a qualification process in place for Hand Therapists. Three paths for hand therapist qualification were identified. All hand therapists have an initial qualification in occupational therapy or physiotherapy.

The three paths to becoming a hand therapist are illustrated above. Some countries recognise more than one process to become a hand therapist. If you are interested in becoming a qualified hand therapist, please contact the national association in the country you live in to find out what the process is.

A listing of comprehensive Hand Therapy educational programmes can be found on the Education page of this website under post-graduate education. Your national hand therapy society can advise you as to which types of educational programmes will be recognised for the qualification as a hand therapist.

Titles awarded to hand therapists vary by country.  Below is a list of countries that have a qualification process in place and the titles that are awarded to hand therapists in that country.

Argentina: Terapistas de Mano

Australia: Accredited Hand Therapist

Canada: Certified Hand Therapist, CHT

Columbia: Especialists en Rehabilitacion de la Mano y Membro Superior

Denmark: Specialergotherapeut i Handtherapie

Germany: zertifizierter HT-DAHTH

Japan: Japan Certified Hand Therapist, JCHT

Netherlands: Certificaat Hand Therapeut in Nederland CHT-NL

New Zealand: Registered Hand Therapist

Portugal: Reeducador do Membro Superior e Mao

Switzerland: Zertifizierte/r Handtherapeut/in Schweiz, ZHT-CH

United Kingdom: Accredited Hand Therapist (BAHT)

USA: Certified Hand Therapist (CHT)

Additionally in Europe, the European Federation of Societies for Hand Therapy (EFSHT) has instituted a European qualification process, ECHT, for their member countries that have nation certification in place. Therapists wishing to attain the European qualification must first qualify as a hand therapist at the national level. More information about this can be found on the EFSHT website: