Welcome to the RMSK Certification Guide
Thank you for your interest in our RMSK certification! Using the table of contents, click to navigate to the section of your choosing.
Table of Contents
About the RMSK Certification
The Registered in Musculoskeletal (RMSK) sonography certification sets the standard of musculoskeletal sonography practice worldwide and promotes best practices for enhanced patient care. By earning the RMSK sonography certification, physicians gain a critical edge in promoting themselves as preeminent practitioners in musculoskeletal sonography.
Earning the RMSK Certification
The RMSK certification is earned by passing the Musculoskeletal (MSK) sonography examination. The MSK sonography examination is offered during select times of the year at Pearson VUE test centers worldwide.* Visit APCA.org/RMSK for a complete list of examination administration dates and when the online applications are accepted for each examination period. Also, sign up to receive reminder e-mails for application periods and examination administration dates. Please apply early, as the number of applications accepted and test center appointment dates/times may be limited. For general information about the RMSK certification, please visit APCA.org/RMSK.
Question Format & Duration
The MSK examination is four hours long and contains ~200 multiple-choice questions. The MSK examination features Advanced Item Types (AIT) questions, which assess and measure your practical musculoskeletal sonography skills. AITs include hotspot items in which you receive questions about individual images. Please visit APCA.org/RMSK to learn more.
Applying Online for the MSK Examination is Fast, Easy and Secure
1. Check the MSK examination administration and application dates.
See the chart below for examination administration and application dates. Visit APCA.org/RMSK for more information.
|MSK Examination Application Dates||MSK Examination Administration Dates|
|January 25, 2023 – April 4, 2023*||April 18, 2023 – May 18, 2023|
|July 25, 2023 – October 3, 2023*||October 17, 2023 – November 16, 2023|
*NOTE: Application window closes at midnight EST.
2. Before beginning the online application, please…
Review the MSK examination prerequisite (in this guide or at APCA.org/RMSK) to ensure you meet the requirements.
3. Visit APCA.org/Apply. Fill out, pay for and submit your application forms.
Upload the required documents through your MY APCA account. Applicants may check the status of their submitted supporting documentation by logging on to APCA.org/MY APCA and navigating to the “View Checklist” green button on the homepage.
4. APCA emails eligible applicants an Examination Confirmation Letter (ECL) upon receipt of the application and all required supporting documentation.
ECLs may also be found by logging on to APCA.org/MY APCA. The letter lists the approved examination(s) and the eligibility period in which to schedule and take your examination(s). A website address and toll-free number are provided so the candidate can schedule an appointment. Test centers are located in the U.S., Canada and select international locations.* If you are ineligible, you are notified via letter of your ineligibility and reasons for that decision. APCA retains a $100 USD processing fee for each examination.
5. Prepare for the examination.
Review the MSK content outline and register to take the practice examination at APCA.org/RMSK.
6. On examination day:
The MSK examination is administered on a computer in a secure Pearson VUE test center.
7. After the examination:
Results and a full score report will be available approximately 60 days after the close of the examination administration. At that time, an email will be sent to you with instructions on how to access your score report in MY APCA when the score becomes available. The award date of your RMSK certification will be the date the score is officially released. Within six weeks after the RMSK certification has been awarded, the Certificant will receive a welcome packet containing a certificate and information related to maintenance of certification. ** Certificants are listed in the Directory of Certificants at APCA.org/Directory.
Test Center Admission and Identification
When you arrive at the test center, be prepared to:
- Check-in with a test center administrator
- Present a valid photo ID
- Have your palm scanned
- Take a test-day photograph
In compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), APCA will provide reasonable testing accommodations for candidates with professionally diagnosed disabilities as defined by the ADA. Visit APCA.org/ADA.
APCA Compliance Policies and Required Review
During the online application process, applicants are required to have a third-party attest to their compliance with all APCA Compliance Policies. Applicants who have legal or disciplinary actions in their past must be prepared to disclose the matters to APCA at the time of application and submit the required initial review fee of $150 USD. Please review the APCA Compliance Policies (APCA.org/Compliance) to learn how the policies apply to you.
Compliance Pre-Application Review
APCA conducts a “pre-application review,” for a $125 USD non-refundable fee, for individuals who wish to determine the impact of a previous violation of APCA Discipline Policies (APCA.org/Discipline) on their eligibility to apply for APCA certification. You may obtain additional information regarding the pre-application process along with the appropriate forms by visiting APCA.org/Compliance.
RMSK Certification Prerequisite Information
APCA offers one prerequisite under which to apply for the MSK examination. All applicants, including existing APCA Certificants, must meet all requirements of the MSK prerequisite in order to apply. Eligibility will not be determined by telephone, fax or email. Applicants must apply online and submit all fees and required supporting documentation before eligibility is determined. Visit APCA.org/RMSK for a complete list of examination administration dates and the dates during which the online applications are accepted for each examination period. Please note: Prerequisites apply to first-time applicants only. For more information, please visit APCA.org/RMSK.
Must hold and be practicing as one of the following designations with a valid medical license in good standing without any conditions or restrictions to practice medicine: Doctor of Medicine (MD) Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (DPM) Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) earned outside North America
Doctor of Chiropractic (DC)* Nurse Practitioner (NP)* Physician Assistant (PA)* Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT)* Physiotherapist Physical Therapist (PT)*
Required Clinical Musculoskeletal Ultrasound Experience
Performed and/or authorized diagnosis of a minimum of 150 musculoskeletal ultrasound studies within the preceding 36 months of application. No more than 5% (8 cases) of the 150 case log requirement can be labeled as therapeutic (injection or aspiration). For purposes of satisfying this requirement, these studies must be completed on actual patients in a clinical diagnostic** setting. Simulation is not acceptable for this attestation.
Recommended Continuing Medical Education (CME)
Although CMEs are not required to apply for the MSK examination, APCA highly recommends and encourages Musculoskeletal (MSK) sonography Prerequisite Note: All listed items must be met and completed prior to submission. applicants to earn a minimum of 30 CMEs in musculoskeletal ultrasound to assist applicants in preparing to take the MSK examination. Applicants do not need to submit CME documentation as this is only a recommendation and not a requirement.
Documentation Required with Application
1. Copy of a valid medical license
in good standing without any conditions or restrictions to practice medicine as an MD, DO, DPM, MBBS, DC, NP, PA, DPT or PT.
2. Important Change Beginning in 2019:
Completed third-party attestation form indicating the performance and/or authorized diagnosis of a minimum of 150 musculoskeletal ultrasound studies within the preceding 36 months of application. Download the MSK Attestation form.
3. Applicants must maintain a patient log
indicating the performance and/or authorized diagnosis of a minimum of 150 musculoskeletal ultrasound studies within the preceding 36 months of application. No more than 5% (8 cases) of the 150 case log requirement can be labeled as therapeutic (injection or aspiration). This log does not need to be submitted with the application but may be requested as part of a random audit. This documentation should be maintained by the applicant for at least 36 months following the date of application for the MSK examination.
4. Copy of a non-expired government-issued photo identification with signature;
the first and last names on the identification must exactly match the first and last names under which you apply.
* Advanced-care professionals can earn and retain the RMSK certification. As APCA continues to research and evaluate the growing field of MSK imaging, there may be a need for future specialized exams for advanced-care professionals.
**Clinical diagnostic settings include hospitals, clinics and private practices. APCA does not accept volunteer, instructorship, unpaid, barter or veterinarian experience.
Note: The name on all supporting documentation must be consistent and must match the name under which you apply. If it does not, you will need to submit legal documentation of the name change (e.g., a marriage/divorce certificate) and all other supporting documentation.
Note: Prerequisite requirements are subject to change at any time. Applicants must meet current prerequisite requirements in effect at the time of application. APCA, in its discretion, may request from you or others information concerning matters that may be relevant to eligibility for certification and certification status. Documentation received in a language other than English must include a notarized translation in English. All documents, communications, and other information received by APCA become the property of APCA and will not be returned.
To print your own copy of the most current MSK prerequisite chart, visit APCA.org/MSKprereq.
Fees and Online Resources
Online application payment is fast and secure! Log on to APCA.org/MY APCA today to find all the necessary information for submitting documentation and payments.
MSK Examination Fees
Musculoskeletal (MSK) sonography $600*
(MD/DO/MBBS/DPM) Advanced Care Providers can also apply** (DC, NP, PA, DPT, PT)
* Please note that prices will be changing as of July 25, 2023 with an increase of $60.
** Advanced-care professionals can earn and retain the RMSK certification. As APCA continues to research and evaluate the growing field of MSK imaging, there may be a need for future specialized exams for advanced-care professionals.
Application information may be found in the RMSK How to Apply Guide.
Individuals who are taking APCA examinations at international test centers outside the U.S., Canada, and Mexico will be assessed a $50 USD fee.
For comprehensive application information on sonographer-level certification examinations including the RDMS, RDCS, RMSKS and RVT offered by ARDMS, APCA’s companion council, visit ARDMS.
Visit and bookmark APCA to find the following:
- Examination and Application Dates
- Apply for an Examination
- Prepare for an Examination
- Schedule an Examination
- Content Outlines
- Application Resources
- Rules and Policies
- MSK Prerequisite Chart
- Compliance and Legal Information
APCA, created to exclusively meet the needs of the physician community, is part of the nonprofit Inteleos™ family of councils spun out of the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography® (ARDMS®). APCA, already supporting over 18,000 physicians and advanced care providers worldwide, is dedicated to helping physicians and advanced care providers secure certification in various types of medical imaging and other healthcare specialties, offering outstanding customer care and guiding simple maintenance of existing certifications. To keep advancing the use of diagnostic medical imaging and other healthcare specialties for superior patient care, APCA also offers physicians numerous volunteering opportunities. For information on how to volunteer, visit APCA.org/Volunteer.
For more information on APCA’s certifications including RMSK, RPVI, RPVI-China, CBNC, CBCCT, the Latin America Ultrasound Certificate Program and the Point-of-Care Ultrasound Academy, please visit APCA. For comprehensive application information on sonographer-level certifications including the RDMS, RDCS, RMSKS, and RVT offered by the ARDMS, APCA’s companion council, visit ARDMS.