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Certificate in Advanced Practice in Hand and Upper Quarter Rehabilitation

Certificate Level: Graduate
Admission Requirements: Bachelor's degree
Certificate Type: Post-Bachelor's
Number of Credits to Completion: 16.0
Instructional Delivery: Online
Calendar Type: Quarter
Maximum Time Frame: 1 year
Financial Aid Eligibility: Not aid eligible

 *Please note Drexel University is unable to admit students living in Wisconsin to this online program.


The Certificate in Hand and Upper Quarter Rehabilitation program is designed physical and occupational therapists who wish to gain advanced understanding of the upper quarter, including the cervical spine, shoulder, elbow, wrist, and hand. This program consists of four courses offered in a blended learning format. The curriculum is based on the most recent hand therapy practice analysis conducted by the Hand Therapy Certification Commission (HTCC). The HTCC oversees the certification process for qualifying occupational and physical therapists as "certified hand therapists" or CHTs. This Certificate of Advanced Practice in Hand and Upper Quarter Rehabilitation is recognized by HTCC as a resource to assist with preparation for the CHT examination.

After successfully completing the four required courses, students receive a post-professional certificate of completion. The credits may be transferred into degree programs within Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Sciences.

What you'll learn

The Certificate Program in Advanced Practice in Hand and Upper Quarter Rehabilitation curriculum enables therapists to gain advanced practice education through a supported distance learning environment that recognizes the diversity of professional experiences. We strive to promote academic excellence, evidence-based practice, expertise, and career-long learning.

Drexel's program offers:

  • Superior pass rate on the certified hand therapist (CHT) exam;
  • Four graduate courses convenient for part-time study;
  • Online coursework integrated with weekend laboratory sessions;
  • Cadaver anatomy, orthotic fabrication skills, and advanced examination techniques;
  • Coursework that may be applied to other degree programs;
  • Certificate that can be reasonably completed in one year;
  • A two-year option available to ease financial resources and time constraints.

What makes the Hand Therapy Certificate program unique?

  • Specifically designed to accommodate working professionals.
    • A curriculum infused with the latest technology for online interaction.
    • One-year and two-year options for certificate completion.
  • Expert faculty who specialize in upper quarter rehabilitation

Program Information Document (downloadable PDF)


The College of Nursing and Health Professions has a compliance process that may be required for every student. Some of these steps may take significant time to complete. Please plan accordingly.

Visit the Compliance pages for more information.

Admission Requirements

A minimum of a Bachelor’s degree in physical therapy or occupational therapy from an accredited institution in the United States or an equivalent international institution.

A mean cumulative GPA of 3.0

Standardized Tests:


Official transcripts from all universities or colleges and other post-secondary educational institutions (including trade schools) attended.

  • You must supply transcripts regardless of the number of credits earned or the type of school you attended.
  • Instead of hard copy transcripts, your post-secondary institution can supply official electronic transcripts directly to Drexel University Online through a password secured link or website (use our email address,
  • If you don’t list all post-secondary institutions on your application and these appear on transcripts received from other institutions, your application will not be reviewed until you have submitted the remaining transcripts.
  • Use our Transcript Lookup Tool to assist you in contacting your previous institutions.

Two letters of recommendation.

  • You may use our electronic letter of recommendation service.
  • If a recommender prefers to submit an original, hard copy letter, please remind them that it must include an ink signature and be submitted in a sealed envelope.

Personal Statement/ Essay:

Essay in which the student discusses his or her professional goals related to obtaining the post-professional certificate in hand rehabilitation.

Not required.

Resume highlighting continued professional development.

Copy of current OT or PT license or other practice credential (US, Canada or other countries). Please note Drexel University is unable to admit students living in Wisconsin to this online program.

Clinical/Work/Volunteer Experience:
Two years of clinical experience are recommended, but not required. No previous experience in hand therapy is required.

International Students:
International applicants, as well as immigrants to the United States and U.S. permanent residents whose native language is not English and who have not received a bachelor's degree or higher in the United States, Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, or the United Kingdom, must show proficiency in English speaking as well as listening, writing and reading. American citizens born on U.S. military bases abroad may be waived from the TOEFL requirement after providing documentation of this status. Otherwise, applicants must meet one of the following requirements:

If you take the TOEFLiBT exam, you must have:
a minimum combined score for listening, writing, and reading sections of 79 plus a speaking section score of 26 or higher.
a minimum score of 550 or higher and a Test of Spoken English score (TSE) of 55 or higher.

Tuition and Fee Rates:
Please visit the Drexel Online Certificate in Advanced Practice in Hand and Upper Quarter Rehabilitation tuition page

Application Link:
All applicants of the Certificate in Rehabilitation Sciences program must apply via the Drexel Online Student Application Website.


MSA: This program is fully accredited by Middle States Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools.


Graduates of the Certificate in Advanced Practice in Hand and Upper Quarter Rehabilitation will be prepared to: 
  1. Examine, assess, and treat clients that present with pathologies associated with hand and upper extremity dysfunction.
  2. Improve their practice in hand therapy through clinical decision making that is consistent with concepts of client-centered care and current best evidence.
  3. Participate in and/or develop hand therapy services within their healthcare community.
  4. Engage in professional lifelong learning and contribute to the field of hand therapy.