Welcome to the RPVI Certification Guide
Thank you for your interest in our RPVI certification! Using the table of contents, click to navigate to the section of your choosing.
Table of Contents
About the RPVI Certification
The Registered Physician in Vascular Interpretation (RPVI) certification, developed in response to requests from physicians in the vascular surgery and vascular medicine community, documents the highest attainable standard in vascular ultrasound interpretation.
The RPVI certification program is accredited by ANAB to the 17024 Standard for Personnel Certification Bodies set by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). Earning the RPVI certification is a requirement to sit for the American Board of Surgery’s Vascular Surgery Qualifying Examination.
Additionally, the RPVI certification is required for completion of many vascular surgery fellowship programs.
Earning the RPVI Certification
The RPVI certification is earned by passing the Physicians’ Vascular Interpretation (PVI) examination. The content of the PVI examination reflects current noninvasive vascular laboratory practice. To learn about how the PVI examination is written, go to APCA.org/PVI
How the RPVI and RVT Certifications Differ
The RPVI certification, offered exclusively to physicians, validates the clinical expertise fundamental to vascular sonography interpretation and provides recognition of the skills and knowledge required in making consistent and reliable diagnoses in vascular disease. The Registered Vascular Technologist® (RVT®) certification assesses the competency needed to perform a vascular sonography scan and is administered by the ARDMS, companion Council of APCA.
Picture Archive and Communication Simulation (PACSim) Questions on the PVI Examination
The patent-pending PACS items are designed to simulate an interpretation workstation experience relevant to actual present-day medical practice. The PACS items require examinees to read a clinical history of the patient, evaluate the existing media, and complete a diagnostic ultrasound report by selecting from the presented options. Candidates have 4 hours to complete the PVI examination which contains approximately 180 questions comprised of multiple-choice and PACSim items. Visit APCA.org/Pacs for more information.
Applying Online for the PVI Examination is Fast, Easy and Secure
1. The PVI examination is now available year-round.
The PVI examination is now available on demand year-round, allowing you to apply, schedule and prepare for the examination at your convenience.
2. Before beginning the online application, please…
Review the PVI prerequisite (in this guide or at APCA.org/PVI) to ensure you meet the requirements.
3. Visit APCA.org/PVI. Fill out, pay for and submit your application forms.
You will need to assemble the required documentation under the listed documentation section by the deadline provided in order for APCA to determine eligibility. You may check the status of your required application support documentation by logging on to APCA.org/MY APCA.
4. APCA emails eligible applicants an Examination Confirmation Letter (ECL) upon receipt of the application and all required supporting documentation.
Examination Confirmation letters may also be found by logging onto APCA.org/MY APCA. The letter lists the approved examination(s). A website address and toll-free number are provided so you 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 PVI content outline and register to take the practice examination at APCA.org/PVI.
6. On examination day:
The PVI examination is administered on a computer in a secure test center.
7. After the examination:
The printed examination score is immediately provided upon completion of the examination and is automatically sent to the APCA for final review and acceptance. The Pass or Fail results will then be posted to your secure MY APCA (APCA.org/MY APCA) account within the next week. Candidates receiving a confirmed passing score on the PVI examination and meeting all other requirements will be awarded a certification, effective the date the PVI examination was taken. Six weeks after the RPVI certification has been awarded, the Certificant will receive a certificate via mail.** Certificants are listed in the APCA online directory at APCA.org.
*Please visit APCA.org/Schedule for a current list of test center locations.
**Certification will only be awarded to APCA Certificants who hold active status.
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.
RPVI Certification Prerequisite Information
MD or DO with a current, valid, unrestricted license to practice medicine in the U.S. or Canada. OR Outside of U.S. and Canada – MD or DO degree equivalent to the U.S. or Canada (must provide a credential report/evaluation indicating that this medical degree is equivalent to a doctor of medicine degree in the U.S. or Canada) with a current, valid unrestricted license to practice medicine as a physician in any country.
Clinical Vascular Ultrasound Experience
The Applicant is required to document vascular interpretation experience* in a clinical diagnostic setting** with a minimum of 500 cases interpreted over a minimum of one month within the preceding 36 months of application submission. No more than 100 of these cases may be didactic or simulated cases that are presented and interpreted in a format that is equivalent to cases encountered in a clinical diagnostic setting.***
Cases must be distributed over the following testing areas, with no more than 50% of the total coming from any one area:
- Carotid duplex ultrasound (extracranial cerebrovascular).
- Transcranial Doppler (intracranial cerebrovascular).
- Peripheral arterial physiologic testing (excludes Ankle Brachial Index (ABI) and single level exams).
- Peripheral arterial duplex ultrasound.
- Venous duplex ultrasound.
- Visceral vascular duplex ultrasound.
Vascular interpretation experience must be obtained through one of the following
- Attendance of a residency or fellowship that is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME), the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (RCPSC) or the American Osteopathic Association (AOA). The program must include didactic instruction and training in the interpretation of vascular laboratory studies. The letter verifying this experience RPVI Prerequisite Information RPVI|APCA.org Page 7 must be signed by the program director, the Medical Director of the vascular lab or other appropriate RPVI-certified program affiliate.
- Attendance of a post-graduate medical education program that is not accredited by the ACGME, RCPSC or AOA. The program must include didactic instruction and training in the interpretation of vascular laboratory studies. The program must also have at least 48 weeks of clinical training, at least 30 hours of didactic instruction relevant to interpretation and other vascular laboratory topics, and at least 40 hours of observation or supervised participation in a vascular laboratory setting. Didactic instruction may include (but is not limited to) AMA PRA Category 1 CME relevant to the vascular laboratory. The letter verifying this experience must be signed by the program director, the Medical Director of the vascular lab or other appropriate RPVI-certified program affiliate.
- Physicians in practice may obtain vascular interpretation experience in the course of employment or contractual work in a supervised clinical diagnostic setting. In addition, documentation must be provided of 40 hours of AMA PRA Category 1 CME relevant to the vascular laboratory obtained within the preceding three years prior to application. The letter verifying this experience must be signed by the medical director of the vascular laboratory or other qualified physician if the Applicant is the medical director.
Documentation Required with Application
1. Copy of current, valid, unrestricted medical license.
2. Letter describing the Applicant’s experience with vascular laboratory interpretation.
The letter must be from the appropriate individual (specifically referenced in the Clinical Vascular Ultrasound Experience options above). For required letter content, please visit APCA.org/SampleLetters. Physicians may not sign their own letters.
3. If up to 100 didactic or simulated cases are used as part of the 500 case interpretation requirement:
This experience must be documented in a separate letter from the sponsoring organization ensuring the criteria listed above are met. For required letter content, please visit APCA.org/SampleLetters.
4. Applicants must maintain a patient log
or other record of interpretation experience with a minimum of 500 vascular laboratory studies. This documentation must be maintained for at least three years following the date of application approval as case logs are subject to audit. Case logs must include at a minimum the date of the case, the testing area of the case, and whether the case was simulated/didactic or clinical. Additionally, the case log must include the name of the supervising physician/medical director and clinical site (i.e. hospital name, clinic or private practice) with contact information. For a sample patient case log, please visit APCA.org/SampleLetters.
5. If not licensed to practice medicine in the U.S. or Canada:
International physicians (individuals who completed medical school outside the U.S. and Canada), must provide a credential report of the evaluation converting the foreign medical degree; it must indicate that this medical degree is equivalent to a doctor of medicine degree in the U.S. or Canada. All documentation must be uploaded and submitted through MY APCA (APCA.org/MY APCA).
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.
PVI Examination Fees
Physicians’ Vascular Interpretation (PVI) $600
(MD, DO, or equivalent)
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:
- Apply for an Examination
- Prepare for an Examination
- Schedule an Examination
- Content Outlines
- Application Resources
- Rules and Policies
- PVI 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 nearly 20,000 physicians worldwide, is dedicated to helping physicians secure certification in various types of medical imaging, offering outstanding customer care and guiding simple maintenance of existing certifications. To keep advancing the use of diagnostic medical imaging 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.