There is no state that requires licensure in diagnostic medical sonography, but still there are certain organizations that may issue an ultrasound technician certificate. This means that sonographers are registered and thus an objective measure of their professional standing exists. Employers prefer to hire registered sonographers. There are several schools that provide education necessary for ultrasound certification. These schools offer their students both academic and clinical training. Ultrasound certification involves earning a certificate, associate degree or bachelor’s degree. Usually, to obtain an ultrasound technician certificate, one or two years of studying full-time at the end of high school are necessary. For an associate degree, completion of two to three years of study is required and four years are to be completed for a bachelor’s degree.
After obtaining an ultrasound technician certificate a technician can register with the American Registry of Diagnostic Sonographers (ARDMS). Eligibility for registering with the ARDMS is obtained in two ways. One option is to participate in a program that is accredited by the Canadian Medical Association or by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs. A second option is to attend a program that does not have one of the two previously mentioned accreditations but to continue with a year of work study in a healthcare facility. This facility must be under the auspices of SDMS (the Society for Diagnostic Medical Sonography).
Registering with the ARDMS means that a national certification exam given by this institution must be passed. The exam includes testing knowledge of general physical principles and of instrumentation. An exam in a specialty area like abdominal or obstetric sonography is also necessary. When training for obtaining an ultrasound technician certificate, students will receive information in the following domains: ultrasound equipment, anatomy, physiology, physics, medical ethics and patient care. After earning an ultrasound technician certificate it is best that education is continued and recertification may also be an option.