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Tennessee OT Electrical Stimulation

Electrical Stimulation Certification - An authorization issued by the Board when a licensed occupational therapist or occupational therapy assistant has successfully completed requirements to use a device, for which a federally required prescription is necessary, that employs transcutaneous electrical current (direct, alternating, or pulsatile) for the purpose of eliciting muscle contraction, alleviating pain, reducing edema, or drug delivery.

Electrical Stimulation Certification

To be eligible for certification in electrical stimulation, an applicant must:

    • Meet all qualifications for licesensure; and
    • Submit documentation of current certification from the Hand Therapy Certification Commission; or
    • Successfully complete Board-approved training that shall consist of a total of twenty-five (25) contact hours of didactic and laboratory experiences which include five (5) treatments on clinical patients to be supervised by licensees who hold certification or by a physical therapist currently licensed in the United States. The treatments shall be from the following categories, and at least one (1) treatment shall be from each category:
      • Neuromuscular electrical stimulation
      • Electrical stimulation for pain control
      • Edema reduction
      • Iontophoresis
    • If applicant is seeking certification in the use of physical agent modalities, the applicant shall present to the Board’s administrative office proof of successful completion of didactic and clinical training that has been completed within the two (2) years preceding the submission of the application for certification.


The training for the therapeutic use of electrical stimulation devices shall provide competency in the following areas:


    • The expected outcome or treatments with therapeutic electrical current (TEC) must be consistent with the goals of treatment.
    • Treatment of TEC must be safe, administered to the correct area, and be of proper dosage.

Correct Dosage and Mode

    • Ability to determine the duration and mode of current appropriate to the patient’s neurophysiological status while understanding Ohm’s law of electricity, physical laws related to the passage of current through various media, as well as impedance.
    • Ability to describe normal electrophysiology of nerve and muscle; understanding generation of bioelectrical signals in nerve and muscle; recruitment of motor units in normal muscle and in response to a variety of external stimuli.
    • Ability to describe normal and abnormal tissue responses to external electrical stimuli while understanding the differing responses to varieties of current duration, frequency and intensity of stimulation.

Selection of Method and Equipment

    • Ability to identify equipment with the capability of producing the preselected duration and mode.
    • Ability to describe characteristics of electrotherapeutic equipment and understanding of the therapeutic value of different electrotherapeutic equipment.
    • Ability to describe safety regulations governing the use of electrotherapeutic equipment.
    • Ability to describe principles of electrical currents.
    • Ability to describe requirements/idiosyncrasies of body areas and pathological conditions with respect to electrotherapeutic treatment.

Preparation of Treatment

    • Ability to prepare the patient for treatment through positioning and adequate instructions
    • Ability to explain to the patient the benefits expected of the electrotherapeutic treatment.

Treatment Administration

    • Ability to correctly operate equipment and appropriately adjust the intensity and current while understanding rate of stimulator, identification of motor points, and physiological effects desired.
    • Ability to adjust the intensity and rate to achieve the optimal response, based on the pertinent evaluative data.

Documentation of Treatments

Ability to document treatment including immediate and long-term effects of therapeutic electrical current.


Tenn. Comp. R. & Regs. 1150-02-.01

Tenn. Comp. R. & Regs. 1150-02-.04

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