Getting a diagnostic medical sonography certification is a recommended professional step for a sonographer or ultrasound technician to take. It tends to impress potential employers, resulting in more job opportunities and possibly higher salary offers. So how do you go about getting a certification in the field? The following are the basic steps you need to take:
First a Word about the ARDMS
The American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS) is the most widely known and best accepted certification organizations in the sonography industry. It operates on a national scale – certifying individuals in the field according to professional standards that are recognized across the country. Passing one of the certification exams given by this organizations results in an individual receiving the Registered Diagnostic Medical Sonographer designation. Getting an ARDMS certification is thus a good goal to shoot for.
First Step: Enroll in an Educational Program
The first step is to get educated as a diagnostic medical sonographer. Training programs of 1 year, 2 year, and 4 year durations are available in the field. The most common duration is a 2 years. These 2 year programs result in Associate’s degrees in sonography. 4 year programs may cover somewhat more ground and qualify you for positions with more responsibility or which cover multiple types of imaging. 1 year diploma type programs are a less common route but may provide adequate training for entry level jobs so that an individual can begin to accrue clinical experience as a
Completing an educational program in sonography is required by the ARDMS in order to be eligible to take their certification exams. These may be either accredited or non-accredited programs, but in the later case a year of clinical experience will be required in addition to completing the course of ultrasound instruction.
Second Step: If Necessary Get Experience
If the diagnostic medical sonography program from which you have graduated is non-accredited, you’ll need to get some job experience in order to be eligible to take certification exams offered by the ARDMS. They usually require one year’s worth of experience. With your degree or diploma you should be able to secure an entry level job. Get such a job and work at it for a year.
Third Step: Apply to Take Exam
Once you have either graduated from an accredited diagnostic medical sonography school or from a non-accredited one and accrued a year’s worth of experience, the next step is to apply to the ARDMS to take a specific RDMS exam. There are in fact 5 different concentrations. You receive the RDMS certification in one of these specialties upon passing the corresponding exam. The concentrations are: Abdomen, Breast, Fetal Echocardiography, Neurosonography, and Obstetrics and Gynecology. These exams must be taken along with another exam called the Sonography Principles and Instrumentation (SPI) examination.
The application for taking the exam is filled out on the ARDMS website. The user fills registers with the site and logs in. You need Adobe acrobat reader to complete the online application, which most people have. There is a $100 application fee and supporting documentation (things like paperwork showing which schools you have attended) must be submitted within 21 days of completing the application. Further specifics on all this can be found on the ARDMS website.
Fourth Step: Take the Exam
Once your application has been accepted, you need to schedule a time to take the exam. The exams are given at Pearson Vue testing centers around the country. Pearson Vue is a testing company with a large number of national and international locations, so you should be able to find one close to where you live. The ARDMS homepage has a link on the left that says “Schedule Examination.” Click this link and follow instructions.
Fifth Step: Receive and Enjoy Your RDMS Certification
Once you have successfully completed the exam you will be a certified diagnostic medical sonographer. This is a sought after credential and you can be proud of yourself. Enjoy this professional designation and use it to apply for interesting and financially rewarding jobs.