What Are the Requirements for a Sonography Certification?

Certification is common for sonographers--those who operate ultrasound technology to create diagnostic images of patients. You may pursue certification from organizations including the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS), the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) or Cardiovascular Credentialing International. Schools offering Diagnostic Medical Sonography degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Sonography Certification Overview

Although you aren't required to be certified in sonography to work in the field, a certificate can diversify and increase your knowledge and abilities. Several professional organizations offer certification options in sonography. Some are general, while others teach to a specific area, such as cardiac or musculoskeletal sonography.

Important Facts about This Certification

Median Salary (2018) $72,510 (for diagnostic medical sonographers)
$56,850 (for cardiovascular technologists and technicians)
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 23% growth (for diagnostic medical sonographers)
10% growth (for cardiovascular technologists and technicians)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography

The ARDMS offers a myriad of sonographic certification options, including Registered Diagnostic Medical Sonographer (RDMS), Registered Diagnostic Cardiac Sonographer (RDCS), Registered Musculoskeletal Sonographer (RMSKS), and Registered Vascular Technologist (RVT). Each certification gives recipients the ability to perform certain ultrasounds. Earning certification requires passing a general exam--the ARDMS' Sonography Principles and Instrumentation (SPI) exam -- and a specialty exam.

  • RDMS students can take a variety of specialty exams in areas such as abdomen, pediatric sonography, and obstetrics and gynecology
  • RDCS students choose a specialty exam in adult, fetal, or pediatric echocardiography
  • RVT students must pass a vascular technology specialty exam
  • RMSKS students must pass a musculoskeletal sonographer specialty examination

American Registry of Radiologic Technologists

The ARRT offers sonography certification that is nationally recognized. To earn a certification, you must meet education and ethics requirements and pass an examination. Education requirements may be fulfilled by completing a sonography program with the ARRT or an ARRT-approved organization, and completing clinical requirements. To meet the ethics requirements, you must conform to all ARRT ethics documents, rules, and regulations. Additionally, you must have a clean criminal background free of convictions or proceedings.

The examination requirements include passing the ARRT sonography exam. This exam tests you on content categories including patient care, physical principles of ultrasound, abdominal procedures, obstetrical and gynecological procedures, and superficial structures and other sonographic procedures.

Cardiovascular Credentialing International

Cardiovascular Credentialing International offers certification for the field of cardiac sonography. Your options include the Certified Cardiographic Technician (CCT), Registered Congenital Cardiac Sonographer (RCCS), Registered Cardiac Sonographer (RCS) and Registered Phlebology Sonographer (RPhS). All designations are offered at various levels; each level has different requirements.

For the CCT and RPhS designations, you must have a high school diploma, complete a qualifying exam and provide the required documentation for the level at which you are testing. For the RCCS designation, you must pass the Congenital Cardiac Registry Examination. At the entry level, you need to have at least two years of full-time experience in a non-invasive cardiovascular lab and to have performed at least 150 ultrasounds on adults or children within the past two years.

The RCS credential requires you to pass the Non-Invasive/Echocardiography Registry Examination. For the entry level, you need to have two years of full-time experience in non-invasive cardiovascular technology.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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