How Your Renewal Fee Works for You

When you renew with the Alliance for Physician Certification & Advancement (APCA) each year, you are not just ensuring that your certification is in good standing. With this annual commitment, you are reaffirming your part in APCA’s vision of creating global standards of excellence in patient care, while distinguishing yourself as an expert to your employer and colleagues. APCA, as an accredited non-profit organization, reinvests renewal fees directly back into work that serves our Certificants and furthers our joint mission.

As the recognized standard for Sonography certification, our partnership with you is more important than ever. In addition to helping to maintain the organization with the increasing cost of doing business, below are some of the important endeavors supported by Certificant renewal fees.

  1. Enhanced self-serve options – log into MY APCA to print personalized windowed examination score reports, temporary ID cards, status verification letters, retired status certificates and upload your CMEs into the CME Bank.
  2. Documentation upload – applicants no longer need to mail documentation to the office; it can be uploaded into MY APCA, quickly and securely.
  3. New Customer Care team hours – we have extended phone hours to support Certificants with various schedules and across different time zones. You can now reach the team Monday-Friday, 8:30am – 5:30pm, ET.
  4. Exhibiting – APCA exhibits at various sonography-related conferences to answer your questions in person and to relay and discuss organizational updates.
  5. Simulation – we are currently exploring how this innovation can be used in the future of our examination eligibility and administration.
  6. Compliance Department – enhancements in this department, including a new automated reporting process, work to support its purpose of upholding the integrity of the certifications you worked hard to earn.
  7. Community Engagement Group (CEG) – brought together by ARDMS (APCA’s companion council), this group of like-minded organizations (including AIUM, ASE, IAC, JRC-CVT, JRC-DMS, SDMS and SVU) was recently launched to identify areas of collaborative efforts to ensure the sonographer profession is ready to meet the challenges of a changing healthcare environment. One of its first objectives is to take on the issue of work-related injuries including musculoskeletal – how can we help our community?
  8. Examination development – a large portion of your renewal fees goes directly back in to the examinations themselves. As a testing organization, we hold our examinations to the highest standards to promote validity, reliability, and fairness. To achieve this, whether it’s a new examination or one we have offered for years, many things need to happen behind the scenes. Only a few of the development steps are included in this article but you can find detailed information here.
    1. Item Development – our examinations require questions that are written by volunteers – item writers who are professionals practicing in that specialty – who write, edit and review the items. Items often go through several rounds of review and editing before they can be approved.
    2. Item Development Workshops (IDWs) – our item writers receive training by test development staff regarding how to write quality test questions.
    3. Practice Analysis – surveys are conducted every 3 – 5 years for each examination to allow for review of examination content to ensure they remain current with technological advances and changes in the profession.
    4. Content Outline Development – based on the results of the Practice Analysis, a content outline is developed and guides the content of the examination.
  9. Volunteer program – to help facilitate the examination development process and make things easier for our volunteers, we developed and launched two new online portals. Becoming a volunteer is easier than ever! Learn more here.
  10. Internal database – periodic updates to our internal database help ensure your information is maintained securely and that the automated processes needed to sustain your certifications are running efficiently.
  11. Digital Badging – more to come on this new benefit soon!

Please stay tuned for updates in the coming months and be sure to let us know your feedback as well – we welcome your ideas and contributions! Thank you for everything you do to serve patients and improve healthcare.