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What Continuing Education Is Required for Sonography?

As a sonography technician, you may want to obtain certification to improve potential job opportunities and salary levels. Once you obtain certification, you must complete continuing education credits to recertify. The amount and type of continuing education needed depends upon which certification you hold.

Sonography Certification Continuing Education Requirements

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), while certification in medical sonography is often preferred, it is not required to work in the field (www.bls.gov). You can pursue certification through professional organizations, such as the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS) and Cardiovascular Credentialing International (CCI). Once certified, you'll need to meet certain requirements to maintain your status.

Important Facts About Continuing Education for Sonography

Prerequisites Successful completion of relevant coursework, work experience, certification
Cost Most programs charge a fee, although ARDMS members may take free courses
Common Courses Echocardiography, carotid duplex ultrasound, venous ultrasound
Possible Careers in Sonography Diagnostic medical sonographer, cardiovascular technologist
Median Salary (2018) $72,510 (for diagnostic medical sonographers)
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 23% growth (for diagnostic medical sonographers)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Certification Options

The ARDMS offers multiple certification options, depending on your specialty area or career choice. The general certifications available are the Registered Diagnostic Medical Sonographer (RDMS), Registered Diagnostic Cardiac Sonographer (RDCS) and the Registered Vascular Technologist (RVT). A specialty certification, the Registered Musculoskeletal Sonographer (RMSKS), is also available. CCI offers the Registered Cardiac Sonographer (RCS) designation.

Recertification

The ARDMS started a new recertification program in 2012 (www.ardms.org). Under this new program, you'll need to pass an exam every ten years to recertify. In addition, you must earn 30 continuing education credits in each three-year period that you hold the certification.

The ARDMS accepts continuing education credits only from ARDMS-approved sources. Some credits may be earned through the ARDMS. Possible continuing education may include volunteering, completing surveys, earning a new ARDMS credential, attending conferences and writing journal articles.

CCI requires 36 continuing education units for recertification of the RCS designation (www.cci-online.org). The units must be earned in each three-year period that you hold the designation. If you take a recertification exam, it may be used in place of earning your continuing education units.

College continuing education credits are only accepted from approved sources, such as those approved by state nursing boards. At least 30 hours must be in cardiovascular studies or related contact hours.