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The mission of the Hand Therapy Certification Commission, Inc. is to support a high level of competence in hand therapy practice and to advance the specialty through a formal credentialing process.


The Hand Therapy Certification Commission envisions a time when every qualified therapist who treats hand and upper limb patients will become a Certified Hand Therapist.


The purposes of the Hand Therapy Certification Commission credentialing program are to:

  • Serve the public and hand therapy community by maintaining high standards in the practice of hand therapy.
  • Enhance the quality of patient care.
  • Recognize occupational therapists and physical therapists who have achieved an advanced level of professional knowledge and clinical skill.
  • Encourage participation in continuing education and professional development.

What HTCC Does

The fundamental goal of HTCC’s credentialing program is to provide an objective standard of competency against which to measure the performance of a Certified Hand Therapist (CHT) practitioner. HTCC establishes the standards for hand therapy practice by conducting empirical practice analysis studies every five to seven years to delineate the role of a hand therapist.

HTCC ensures that the hand therapy profession is defined accurately and provides a meaningful way to communicate effectively with practitioners, educators, the professional community, and the public. HTCC conducts formal practice analysis / role delineation studies to determine that the professional knowledge and skills assessed in its hand therapy credentialing program are, in fact, limited to those required for competent performance of hand therapy. The routine assessment and review of current practice standards identify reliable indicators of competence in hand therapy practice and creates a valid and defensible empirical foundation for the Hand Therapy Certification Examination (HTCE) and the CHT recertification process.

The HTCC credentialing program validates an individual’s knowledge, skills, and abilities in the hand therapy profession. It provides a mechanism for patients, medical professionals, employers, and other stakeholders to identify individuals with the competencies needed to perform hand therapy. The CHT credentialing program therefore serves the public interest by reducing risk and enhancing consumer protection and public safety.

HTCC provides resources to support the Certified Hand Therapist (CHT) as well as the CHT candidate including mentoring, self-assessment, career development, continuing education, marketing and advocacy.

The Hand Therapy Certification Commission (HTCC) was founded through the American Society of Hand Therapists (ASHT).

ASHT was incorporated in 1977 to advance the specialty of hand therapy through communication, education, research, and the establishment of clinical standards. At that time, membership in ASHT was restricted. Therapists completed an extensive application and portfolio to be considered for membership. ASHT membership became a de facto form of certification recognizing members as being hand therapy experts.

By the mid-1980’s, antitrust laws against organizations with strict membership qualifications were being enforced. It was felt that restricting membership was a form of discrimination and that membership in an organization should be open to a broad range of individuals in a professional field. This led ASHT to investigate avenues to recognize clinical experts while also encouraging membership of therapists at all stages of their professional development in hand therapy.

History of HTCC


Institute for Credentialing Excellence Member

HTCC is proud to be a member of the Institute for Credentialing Excellence (ICE). ICE is a professional membership association that provides education, networking, and other resources for organizations who work in and serve the credentialing industry. ICE is a leading developer of standards for both certification and certificate programs and it is both a provider of and a clearing house for information on trends in certification, test development and delivery, assessment-based certificate programs, and other information relevant to the credentialing community. View ICE’s video “Credentialing: What is It and Why is It Important.