Developing Integrated Technology Solutions for People with Disabilities
What is “RET”?
A Rehabilitation Engineering Technologist (RET) is a person who applies engineering principles to the design, modification, customization, fabrication and/or integration of assistive technology for persons with disabilities. RESNA, the Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America, offers a certification program for assistive technology professionals including engineers and technologists.
What is Assistive Technology (AT)?
An assistive technology device is any item, piece of equipment or product system, whether acquired commercially off the shelf, modified or customized that is used to increase or improve functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities. The areas of practice for the Rehabilitation Engineering Technologist typically encompass job accommodations, computer access, mass/ public transportation, vehicle modifications, architectural modifications and home modifications, augmentative/ alternative communications, environmental controls, positioning devices, seating and mobility, sensory aids, and learning accommodations.
What do Rehabilitation Engineering Technologists do?
- They may suggest commercially available devices to solve a problem for a person with a disability
- They adapt and customize technology and fabricate unique solutions to fit the needs of an individual with a disability
- They may develop new technologies and new products to solve a problem encountered by people with disabilities.
- They may test devices and products for consumer safety and compliance with state, federal and international standards
- They may incorporate evidence-based practice into the service delivery process, including quantitative tools, instruments and technologies.
- They may implement current outcome measures as it relates to the service delivery process
Rehabilitation Engineering Technologists complement the work of other professionals, such as physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech-language pathologists. They bring the unique engineering perspective to problem solving, providing technical assistance with technical systems and solutions that commonly fall beyond clinicians.
An RET demonstrates knowledge of
- Assistive technology products and services specifications
- Assistive technology products and services applications/potential applications
- Rehabilitation technology products and services applications / potential applications
- Assistive technology service delivery process
- Sources of assistive technology products and services in collaboration with manufacturers/vendors
- Sources of information about assistive technology products and services
- Properties of materials
- Client-specific environmental demands/limitations (e.g., architectural, terrain, compatibility with existing equipment)
- Client-specific social factors (e.g., multiple caregivers, availability of support, cultural factors)
- Proper mechanical, structural and electrical practices in the fabrication, assembly, adjustment and integration of the intervention
- Safety risks and hazards (e.g., electrical, environmental, chemical, mechanical, etc.)
- Codes and standards (e.g., ADA, NEC, OSHA, CARF, JCAHO, etc.)
- Product warranty and liability information
- Engineering and design principles
- Cost and availability of labor and materials
- Life expectancy and maintenance requirements of products
Eligibility requirements for the RET:
Current ATP certification in good standing and an Engineering degree from a four year institution.
To apply for the RET certification, current ATPs are required to send a formal letter of request for consideration for the RET that notes your four year engineering degree along with a copy of your Diploma and/or a formal transcript.
Letter of Request and supporting educational documents can be sent to:
2025 M Street NW
Washington, DC 20036
Or emailed to: email@example.com
For more information Contact Certification@resna.org