STEP Certificate Program

Take the Next STEP in Your Ultrasound Education

Introducing AAPM&R’s New STEP Ultrasound Certificate Program—the Premiere Ultrasound Training Program—Designed by Physiatrists for Physiatrists

STEP stands for Skills, Training, Evaluation and Performance. The STEP Ultrasound Certificate Program is a “multi-tiered” training program that teaches and assesses MSK and neurologic ultrasound skills using a progressive, competency-based curriculum. Participants move through a series of 3 STEPs in diagnostic and interventional ultrasound, completing each component through a combination of learning formats.  Participants who complete all of the required STEPs will earn a Certificate of Completion.

Successful completion of the STEP Ultrasound Program will clearly demonstrate to your patients, fellow health care professionals, employers, and the medical facilities you work with that you are a competent professional, expertly trained in ultrasound. It is the only formal, standardized training pathway available for honing and validating your ultrasound skill set.

When you earn the STEP Ultrasound Program Certificate, you:

  • Represent the highest standard in the field
  • Perform ultrasound with confidence
  • Communicate a commitment to patient care and safety
  • Enhance your career opportunities
  • Gain visibility and credibility in the field
  • Reassure patients and employers that you are committed to excellence in Ultrasound

STEP 1: Fundamentals

The STEP Ultrasound Certificate Program consists of 3 steps, each with the accompanying activities noted below. All steps and their accompanying activities must be completed in the order as outlined below. 

  1. Online Pre-test with 25 questions
    • Must be completed prior to live Step One Course; no minimum passing score
    • Access provided 30 days prior to the live Step One Course
  2. Online Fundamentals Precourse lectures
    • Watch before attending live Step One Course
    • Access provided 30 days prior to the live Step One Course
  3. Live Step One Course Ultrasound Course (offered in May and at the Annual Assembly)
  4. Online Post-test with the same 25 questions as the pre-test
    • Will provide CME and Maintenance of Certification® (MOC®) Part II Self-Assessment credit
    • 70% minimum passing score required

STEP 2: Interventional

  1. Online Interval Pre-test with new 25 questions
    • No minimum passing score
    • Must be completed by STEP participants to unlock and access the online curriculum activities 
  2. Online Curriculum:
    • AMSSM Sports Ultrasound videos (35 total) = 14.50 CME credits
    • Neuromuscular Ultrasound videos (22 total) = 6.25 CME credits
    • Ultrasound Coding and Billing online lecture = .75 CME credits
    • Case log 
  3. Live Next Step Interventional Course (15.50 MOC® Part II Self-assessment Credits)
  4. Online Interval Post-test with the same 25 questions as pre-test
    • Will provide CME and MOC Part II self-assessment credit
    • 70% minimum passing score required

Once participants have completed the required activities from the online program and attended the Next Step Interventional Course, you will advance to Step 3.

STEP 3: Assessment and Certificate

  1. Online Post-test with 50 questions
    • 80% minimum passing score required
  2. One-on-one hands-on skills assessment (live at the Annual Assembly* venue)
    • Passing score will be required

Once you complete both components you will receive your Ultrasound STEP certificate.

*Annual Assembly registration is not included with your STEP registration. If you wish to attend the Assembly you will need to register and pay for it separately. You are not required to register and pay for the Assembly if you plan to only go to the venue just for the skills assessment.

Pathway to the STEP Certificate


It is expected that it can take at least a year for a participant to complete this program depending on availability of registration spots for the program's live events. Because this is a structured program, all steps must be completed in the order listed above (Step 1 > Step 2 > Step 3) and the entry point must start with Step 1.

Please Note: Attending the Step 2 Interventional live course as a non-STEP participant will not enter you in the program. You will need to register for the complete STEP program, start at Step 1, and repeat the Step 2 Interventional live course.

What is a Certificate Program and Why is it so Important?

AAPM&R’s STEP Ultrasound Certificate Program is modeled after the Institute for Credentialing Excellence’s (ICE) guideline document titled, “Standard for Assessment-Based Certificate Programs.” This type of certificate program is focused on providing comprehensive competency-based training in specific skills; it is not a "certification" that is only designed to test knowledge. Participants move through a series of 3 steps, completing various program components (i.e., Pre-test, Fundamentals, Diagnosis/Applications, Intervention, Performance in Practice, Cognitive Post-test and Skills Assessment) to earn a Certificate of Completion.

Successful completion of this high-level, standardized program will build your confidence, while clearly demonstrating to your patients, fellow health care professionals, employers and the medical facilities you work with that you are a competent professional, expertly trained in the field of Ultrasound.  

CME and MOC Credit

This STEP program offers more than 50 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™:

  • Fundamentals Course offers 17.75 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits
  • Interventional Course offers 15.50 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits
  • Online Curriculum offers 21.50 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits

This program also helps meet the following American Board of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (ABPMR) Maintenance of Certification (MOC®) requirements:

  • MOC® Part II Self-Assessment - More than 30 credits through the live hands-on courses listed above
  • MOC® Part IV Practice Improvement - Equivalent to completing one PI activity (no CME credit); meet this requirement forthe entire program by:
    1. Completing all components of the STEP program (Steps 1-3)
    2. Receiving your Certificate of Completion
    3. Submitting your ultrasound scanning case log (which is part of Step 2) with a minimum of 25 cases
    4. Complete a final STEP program evaluation 

Why AAPM&R Created the STEP Ultrasound Program

Because ultrasound training varies considerably, AAPM&R wanted to provide a centralized, standardized method of training for excellence in ultrasound. Our certificate program provides a formal pathway for training for those who are out of residency or don’t have another avenue for developing and honing new skills. Holding the STEP Ultrasound Program Certificate distinguishes you in your field and demonstrates that you have the knowledge and skills needed to provide top-notch care to your patients.

Click on the REGISTER NOW button below to officially register for the complete STEP program that includes all 3 steps. Registering for and attending only the Step One Fundamentals or Next Step Interventional courses as stand-alone courses does not automatically enroll you in the STEP program. You must register for the complete STEP program on me.aapmr.org and begin with Step 1.

Starting in 2019, there will be two options to attend the Step One Fundamentals Course to begin the program:

  • May 17-18 in Downers Grove, IL
  • November 12-13 in San Antonio, TX

PLEASE NOTE: The 2019 Next Step Interventional Course is sold out. The next opportunity to attend will be in 2020.

mskNAVTM App Offer for STEP Participants

AAPM&R is the CME provider of the mskNAV learning system, an iPad app-based software that allows healthcare professionals to quickly and efficiently learn musculoskeletal (MSK) ultrasound. Through step-by-step protocols, interactive labeled videos of scans, 3D peel-away anatomy, sweep-through radiology scans, patient and probe position photos, scanning techniques, and an extensive reference library, mskNAV helps busy healthcare professionals assess and rapidly improve their ultrasound skills anytime, anywhere.

STEP participants receive 50% off the mskNAV app full MSK body package which includes up to 66 AMA PRA Category 1 CME CreditsTM. Click here to learn more about the mskNAV app full MSK body package. Interested STEP participants should email education@aapmr.org for information on how to purchase the app at the discounted rate.