Preparing for Your Assessments
Before applying, you are expected to be prepared through the completion of training or educational programs concerning foundational and specific point-of-care ultrasound (POCUS). Following currently accepted practices for certifying bodies, The POCUS Certification Academy™ is not involved in education to assist candidate preparation. Many professional societies and educators offer quality POCUS training.
Candidates should carefully read all information concerning the POCUS Certification Academy and its offerings prior to applying. You should also watch the tutorial video below, read the examination information and review the Technical Specifications here.
POCUS Certification Academy Policies
To read the POCUS Certification Academy Policies, please click here.
POCUS Fundamentals Certificate Outline/Format
The POCUS Fundamentals assessment consists of 8 (eight) modules and a multiple-choice assessment. Each module includes an interactive review and a knowledge check. The modules are in the following topic areas:
- Principles of Ultrasound Physics
- Echogenicity and Attenuation
- Machine Modes
- Image Orientation
- Ultrasound Artifacts
- Safety and Bioeffects
The assessment contains 35 questions in multiple-choice format. Some incorporate images or graphics. The percentages below show an approximate distribution of the questions across the content areas.
- Instrumentation – 37%
- Basic Principles of Ultrasound – 27%
- Ultrasound Artifacts – 22%
- Safety and Bioeffects – 14%
Please click here for the POCUS Fundamentals assessment content outline.
Please note that candidates are expected to be prepared for the POCUS Fundamentals assessment through the completion of training or educational programs concerning foundational point-of-care ultrasound knowledge.
Peer Evaluation Outline/Format
When applying for Clinical Certificates or Specialty Certifications, you will be asked to provide the names and email addresses of healthcare providers for each content area. These healthcare providers must have a clinical background in ultrasound and be familiar with your ability to obtain clinically-relevant content-specific point-of-care ultrasound images. When selecting your peer evaluators, you should pick healthcare providers who are very familiar with your use of point-of-care ultrasound in the content area(s) of interest.
The POCUS Certification Academy will contact these individuals to ask them to complete a short questionnaire regarding their impressions of your point-of-care ultrasound abilities for the chosen clinical area(s). Peer evaluators will need to complete the questionnaire within 90 (ninety) days of your application. The first two peer evaluation questionnaires completed will determine if the peer evaluation assessment is passed or failed.
Before providing any contact information for selected peer evaluators to the POCUS Certification Academy, you should ask for their consent and make sure these individuals know that they may be contacted by the POCUS Certification Academy. You should also let them know that their responses to the questionnaire will not be shared with you, but that they will receive regular reminders to complete the questionnaire. It must be completed within 90 days of your application. The peer evaluators will receive periodic reminders until the questionnaire is completed.
Peer evaluators will be reminded approximately every 15 days. If one of your peer evaluators fails to complete the questionnaire, you are urged to contact that peer evaluator to encourage a response or to find a replacement who can respond in a timely manner. The peer evaluator will be asked to provide feedback on the following criteria as applicable in your content area(s):
- Your ability to obtain images of diagnostic quality
- Your use and/or understanding of gain
- Your use and/or understanding of depth
- Your transducer placement
- Your use and/or understanding of measurement techniques
- Your use of appropriate compression
- Your use and/or understanding of M-Mode, Color Doppler and/or Power Doppler
- Your overall experience with the chosen clinical area
Clinical Case Assessment Outline/Format
The clinical case assessments were developed using a standard template that has been customized for each content area. Clinical scenarios are presented to candidates in audio and/or video formats (with closed-captioning and written scripts). Ultrasound media and assessment questions are presented at key points during the patient encounter. Questions are designed to assess the following (as appropriate for the selected clinical area):
- Familiarity with normal exploration paths
- Recognition of when patient condition or presentation requires deviations from the normal exploration paths
- Identification of regions or basic POCUS views described in consensus documents or protocols
- Ability to recognize and identify various anatomical features in M-mode and 2D images
- Knowledge of common sonographic artifacts or measurements
- Ability to identify artifacts that may aid in diagnosis
- Recognition of sonographic patterns and their implications for diagnosis
- Knowledge of common pathologies and conditions identified through POCUS
- Ability to comprehensively consider all case information (POCUS images, patient presentation, labs, etc.) to determine an initial diagnosis
Candidates applying for a Clinical Certificate will have 90 days to complete this assessment. Candidates applying for a Specialty Certification will have 180 days to complete all required clinical case assessments for their specific Specialty Certification.
To help you prepare for the clinical case assessments, and to see examples of the question types, view the tutorial video below.
You will receive an email reminding you to complete all assessment components (clinical case assessments and the peer evaluation) when there are 45 days remaining to the deadline. Additional reminders will be sent when you have 30 days remaining and seven (7) days remaining to complete your assessment requirement.
For additional information or assistance, please email: POCUS@APCA.org.