What Is an Assistive Technology Professional?

Child In Speech Therapy
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An assistive technology professional is a service provider who analyzes the technology needs of people with disabilities and helps them select and use adaptive devices. These professionals work with clients of all ages with every type of cognitive, physical and sensory disability.

Certification Process

The initials "ATP" refer to a person has earned national certification from the Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America, a professional organization that promotes the health and well-being of people with disabilities through technology.

Certification helps ensure a person's qualifications and knowledge and ensures that professionals attain a common level of competence in helping people with disabilities use technology more effectively, notes RESNA. Many employers now require ATP certification and pay more to professionals who earn it. An ATP can practice in any state, so long as she maintains certification through professional development and ongoing training, which is especially important in this rapidly changing industry.

Benefits and Requirements

People who can benefit from ATP certification include those working in special education, rehabilitation engineering, physical and occupational therapy, speech and language pathology and health care.

ATP certification requires passing an exam. To take the exam, a candidate must meet an education requirement and a corresponding number of work hours in a relevant field, in one of the following areas:

  • Master's degree or higher in special education or rehabilitation science and 1,000 hours of work over the course of six years in the field.
  • Bachelor's degree in special education or rehabilitation science and 1,500 hours of work in six years.
  • Bachelor's degree in a non-rehabilitation science with 10 hours of assistive technology-related training and 2,000 hours of work over the course of six years.
  • Associate degree in rehabilitation science and 3,000 hours of work over the course of six years.
  • Associate degree in non-rehabilitation science with 20 hours of assistive technology-related training and 4,000 hours of work over the course of six years.
  • High school diploma or GED with 30 hours of assistive technology-related training and 6,000 hours of work over the course of 10 years.

Areas Covered

ATP is a generalist certification covering a broad range of assistive technology, including:

  • Seating and mobility
  • Augmentative and alternative communication
  • Cognitive aids
  • Computer access
  • Electronic aids to daily living
  • Sensory issues
  • Recreation
  • Environmental modification
  • Accessible transportation
  • Technology for learning disabilities

Exam Process

The ATP certification exam is a four-hour, five-part, 200-question, multiple-choice test that covers all aspects of assistive technology practice. The exam, which requires an application and $500 fee, covers:

  1. Assessments of need (30 percent): Including interviewing consumers, records review, environmental factors and functional abilities assessments, goal setting and future needs.
  2. Development of intervention strategies (27 percent): Including defining intervention strategies; identifying appropriate products, training needs, and environmental issues.
  1. Implementation of intervention (25 percent): Including reviewing and placing orders, training consumer and others, such as family, care providers, educators, in device setup and operation, and progress documentation
  2. Evaluation of intervention (15 percent): Qualitative and quantitative outcomes measurement, reassessment and repair issues.
  3. Professional conduct (3 percent): RESNA's code of ethics and standards of practice.