Getting certified as an ultrasound technician is pretty straightforward but that does not mean that it is simple. You have to get your schooling behind you and prepare for the test first. Once you have that behind you, then you sit for the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS) exam. This exam and those that give it have been around as a not-for-profit since 1975 and provides the credentials that will determine your job future as a sonographer. This is the litmus test for sonographers nationwide.
There are a number of different awards or credentials that you could be given upon completion of the exam. The most common one is the RDMS credential. This is the basic certification and stands for Registered Diagnostic Medical Sonographer. This basically says that you passed the exam and are capable of doing the job at a base level.
The next credential is RDCS and it stands for Registered Diagnostic Cardiac Sonographer and it says that the student is capable of working in the specialty area of the heart. This is a highly sought after sub-category among potential employees.
Another credential is RVT. This is a sub-category that stands for Registered Vascular Technologist. This allows the student to be recognized in excellence with vascular sonography. There is also a physician’s credential that is RPVI. This is a Registered Physician in Vascular Interpretation.
Finally there is the RMSK credential and it stands for Registered in Musculoskeletal sonograpy. This is self explanatory and allows one to work with the muscles and skeletal types of sonography.
Each of these areas are all possible for the ultrasound technician to pursue and getting accredited in each of them could be a goal for the professional that wants to master the profession.
The ARDMS has certified nearly 80,000 individuals and they are globally considered the standard in the profession. They are made up of three main groups.
- One group is the Board of Directors. These folks are volunteers that are experts in their fields and they determine any policy or direction changes for the organization.
- The Examination Development Task Forces handles all of the actual testing materials. They determine what should and should not be on the test.
- Finally, a great staff of professionals handle the actual program implementation and takes care of the registrants. These folks are the nuts and bolts of the accreditation process.
Keep in mind that ultrasound technology is a very competitive and popular field so anything you can do to make your resume stand out can make a huge difference. When you go to apply for a job, one of the primary things they are going to look at is how long of a program you went through and what certification you have. If you come in with a six month certification, you are going to have a tough time competing against those with a four year degree and a couple of specialty certifications. Try to get as much experience and certifications as you can so that you can enhance the chances of getting a job you want.
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