Although currently no state requires ultrasound technicians to obtain certification, some states are formulating legislation that may mandate credentialing. Obtaining certification may help technicians gain employment as employers may prefer to hire those with ultrasound certification. Certification shows that potential employees achieve an objective and professional standing, and employers may make credentialing part of their job requirement.
Ultrasound technicians may opt for general certification or focus in specific specialty areas, such as in cardiac, vascular, breast, and abdomen sonography. To get started with certification, individuals must first complete an academic program in sonography from an accredited institution. Most organizations that offer certification require ultrasound technicians to complete continuing education courses to stay up-to-date on technological advances.
Benefits of Certification
Certification indicates that individuals possess competency within the sonography field and meet professional standards necessitated within the industry. Technicians who obtain certification may increase their opportunities of obtaining a job within the field, especially if they hold certification in more than one specialty area. By focusing on more than a single specialization, ultrasound technicians can qualify for more jobs and show that they are versatile. In addition, those who have certification tend to obtain higher salaries and receive better benefits because they can show their employer that they are competent in the field of sonography.
The Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) accredits 2,100 postsecondary education programs in 25 health science professions, all scattered across North America. The CAAHEP certification is recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). This certification is important because in order for ultrasound technicians to sit for licensing examinations, they must complete an education program recognized by an education program accredited. The CHEA, and thus the CAAHEP, are institutions that accredit these programs.
The American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ADRMS) is one of the most widely recognized license organizations for ultrasound technicians. Established in 1975, ADRMS has certified more than 80,000 individuals globally in areas such as cardiac, vascular, and general diagnostic medical sonography. To qualify for this type of certification, individuals must complete an associate or bachelor’s degree program from an accredited program. By completing the program, they obtain credit and clinical hours and then sit for the written ARDMS certification exam. ADRMS awards credentials for Registered Diagnostic Medical Sonographer (RDMS), Registered Diagnostic Cardiac Sonographer (RDCS), Registered Vascular Technologist (RVT), Registered Physician in Vascular Interpretation (RPVI), and Registered in Musculoskeletal Sonography (RMSK).
The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) provides certification in sonography as well as post-primary certification in vascular sonography and breast sonography. These post-primary certifications feature their own clinical experience prerequisites. Candidates must have completed an accredited sonography educational program within the last five years, and starting in 2015, that program must be a degree program. ARRT also requires individuals to meet its ethics standards prior to taking the examination. Content on the certification exams may cover patient care as well as sonography related to different types of ultrasound procedures, such as abdominal, obstetric, and pelvic.
Continuing medical education (CME) is vital to those working in the healthcare industry, as it provides a way for healthcare professionals to gain additional expertise. Ultrasound technicians are also able to use this experience to become more successful in their current position as well as give them an opportunity to obtain a promotion due to their advanced knowledge base and additional specialized skills. Each certification organization requires ultrasound technicians to secure CME to maintain certification, although they range in hours and years to complete. CME may come in a variety of forms, including online, in-person, or through correspondence. Ultrasound technicians should check with their credentialing organization to determine the best course of action to obtain CME credits.