Medical Sonographer Certification
Become a Medical Sonographer…
- Career Plan: How to Become a Medical Sonographer
Medical Sonography Resources…
Sonography has recently become a licensed profession in a few states; new policies went into effect in Oregon in 2010. Most states do not yet license professionals in the sonography field. Employers, though, set high standards. The gold standard is certification.
Certification is available through ARDMS (the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonography. If you completed a general program in medical sonography, you will take the Sonography Principles and Instrumentation examination (SPI) and earn the designation Registered Diagnostic Medical Sonographer (RDMS).
If you take and pass this exam, you are also eligible for specialty certifications. These include abdomen, breast, obstretics and gynecology, neurosonology, and fetal echocardiology. Each has its own examination. If you specialize in cardiac sonography, you will earn the title Registered Diagnostic Cardiac Sonographer (RDCS) Some sonographers choose to do a general sonography program first, then do additional training to earn their cardiac credential, too. Whatever your specialty, you can review content, take a practice exam, and register on the ARDMS site.
ARDMS does not currently have a recertification program in place, but will be implementing one in the near future. Starting in 2012, credentials will be valid for ten years only. Sonographers will need to retake the test by the end of the ten year time frame, but they won’t incur a charge if they pass on a first attempt. Continuing education will also be a part of the recertification process.
There are further credentials an ambitious (and certified) sonographer can earn. The SDMS now has a category Advanced Practice Sonographer. This is for baccalaureate-trained sonographers certified through ARMS or CCI (which certifies cardiac sonographers). Sonographers must have five years of experience in their specialty area and also must have authored or co-authored an article in a peer-reviewed journal. They must complete continuing medical education units each three year period — but this is a pretty easy requirement to meet.
If you don’t go for a baccalaureate degree the first time around, you can complete your degree later through an online school.