Lymphedema Certification and Online Education

Upper Extremity Lymphedema Certification



As of May 2019, we will no longer offer the Upper Extremity Lymphedema Therapy Certification option. We believe it is in the best interests of the therapist and their patients to complete the full nine-day training in order to provide expert lymphedema therapy. If you have additional questions, please call our office at 303-245-0333.

Course Description

This valuable 90-hour course is designed for therapists who specialize in treating patients after breast cancer. It is also an option for those who want to becoming fully certified in lymphedema therapy but are unable to commit the time or money to the full-length course. Those who successfully complete this Upper Extremity Lymphedema Certification are welcome to complete the second half of the class at a later time.

In this Certification class, you will learn Complete Decongestive Therapy (CDT) for the upper extremities. CDT is the most effective treatment for patients with lymphedema and includes Manual Lymph Drainage (MLD), compression bandaging, skin care, and patient-appropriate exercises. At the conclusion of the course, you will be certified in Upper Extremity Lymphedema Therapy (CLT-UE) and can immediately start working with patients.

The course begins with a 45-hour Online Home Study Module that can be completed at your own pace anywhere you have access to the internet. The online study is followed by 45 hours of classroom (lab) instruction over 4½ days.

Course Educational Level: Introductory/Intermediate
Instructional Methods: Online home-study followed by hands-on lab, lectures, case studies, and live demonstrations.
AOTA Classifications: Occupational Therapy Process: Evaluation, Intervention, and Outcomes

About Complete Decongestive Therapy (CDT)

CDT is the most effective treatment for chronic extremity lymphedema. Primary lymphedema (congenital) and secondary lymphedema (due to a damaged lymphatic system) respond extremely well to this gentle, non-invasive and highly-effective therapy. CDT is sometimes referred to as Complete Decongestive Physiotherapy (CDP). CDT consists of the following four steps:

Manual Lymph Drainage (MLD):

MLD is a gentle manual treatment which improves the function of the lymphatic system throughout the body. The techniques of MLD were first introduced in the 1930s by Dr. Emil Vodder, PhD, MT, of Denmark. MLD is widely recognized in the United States as an effective treatment for post-surgical swelling, post-traumatic edema (as with sports injuries), migraine headaches, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, and other conditions involving edema. When used to treat lymphedema, MLD re-routes lymph flow around blocked areas and into healthy lymph vessels which drain into the venous circulation.

Compression Therapy:

Compression therapy improves the efficiency of the muscle and joint pump and increases tissue pressure. Multi-layered compression bandages are applied between MLD treatments to help prevent re-accumulation of evacuated fluid. Once the patient’s limb is sufficiently decongested through repeated treatments, they can be fit with compression garments.


Exercises are performed with compression bandages in place to activate the muscle and joint pumps of the affected extremity. This results in an increase in lymphokinetic activity and further reduction of the swollen limb over time.

Skin Care
Skin Care:

Skin care and general hygiene are essential to eliminate bacterial and fungal growth which can cause repeated attacks of cellulitis or erysipelas. Infections are very common complications of lymphedema so meticulous skin and nail care is vital.

Home Study Module

Classroom (Lab)

Course Objectives

Course Materials & Resources

Class Times/Schedule


Disability Accommodations



Student Agreement

Certificate/Continuing Education Credits (CEUs)

Directions & Accommodations