A certification in any field is a guarantee of standards pertaining to the requirements of that given field. When it comes to getting work, all employers will seek some kind of a certification. Similarly, an ultrasound technician certification is necessary for any individual who wishes to make a career as an ultrasound technician. An ultrasound technician is someone who assists doctors in diagnosis by capturing images of various internal parts of the body through advanced ultrasound imaging technology. Needless to say, the role of an ultrasound technician is extremely important for saving lives and it requires a lot of accuracy on their part. So employers look for ultrasound technician certification from recognized licensing agencies. There is a basic pathway for attaining an ultrasound technician certification.
Pre-Requisites for Certification
For getting an ultrasound technician certification, a proper educational degree is required. If an individual does not hold the right degree, they will not be eligible for the ultrasound technician certification exam. Basically there are three kinds of degrees available for the purpose: Certificate Degree, Associate Degree and Bachelors Degree. These ultrasound technician certification courses offer a combination of clinical and academic training to suit various interests.
A Certificate Degree is a one-year program that introduces one to the basics of the profession. This program is for those who opt for this as a side career. It imparts knowledge of ultrasound operational technology and its uses. The course briefly introduces one to the fields of anatomy and physiology, cardio-vascular sonography, obstetric sonography, abdominal sonography and pulmonary sonography. It also imparts knowledge of acoustic physics.
An Associate Degree is a 2 or 3 year program. It is the most common degree for ultrasound technician certification. It is usually offered as an Associate of Applied Science. It goes a lot deeper than the certificate degree. It introduces the individual to the various intricacies of the field. They study the courses taught in certificate degree in detail. They are also given better knowledge of complicated medical terminology and special skills required to handle complex situation. This helps the individual overcome challenges related to the field and also prepares them better for ultrasound technician certification exam that they have to clear later.
A Bachelors Degree in ultrasound technology is only for those who want to specialize and go extremely deep in this field. Usually, those who choose this as their primary career and only area of interest opt for this course. It imparts more advanced knowledge on all the topics covered in the associate degree. A bachelor’s course in ultrasound technology, regardless of the chosen school, comes with internship, scope for interaction with patients and clinical experience, which leave them job-ready.
After the individual has attained a degree suited to their requirements, they have to appear for an exam, which will provide ultrasound technician certification. One exam is the National Certification Exam held by the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers or the ARDMS. First, the individual has to clear a general paper on physical principles and instrumentation. After this, they are required to appear for a separate paper on a given speciality. This can be on obstetric and gynaecologic sonography, cardio-vascular sonography, abdominal sonography or neurosonography. On clearing this examination, one becomes a Registered Diagnostic Medical Sonographer or RDMS.
There is another accredited ultrasound technician certification exam called the ARRT Sonography Exam. It is operated by American Registry of Radiologic Technologists. This ultrasound technician certification exam tests the knowledge and cognitive skills underlying the tasks required at entry level.
Ultrasound technician certification can be primary or post-primary. A primary certification is granted to and individual who is a novice in the field (but holds the required degree and has cleared the ultrasound technician certification exam). The post-primary certification is given to someone who is already registered in a supporting category.
Another important factor that is considered by the licensing agencies is ethics. A person must follow a certain set of rules and predefined moral conduct while working. For this they have to be ready to comply with the ARRT rules of Ethics. Ethics requirements are generally taken care of by the academic programs and ultrasound technician certification programs.
Continuing Education Units
The biggest challenge in the field of ultrasound imaging is that it involved a lot of technology. The most prevalent feature of technology is that it is constantly getting developed. In such a case, it is difficult to assess the skills of an individual by a license attained years back. So the technicians are required to adapt to the ever-changing technology to be able to keep working efficiently. Thus, continuous education is required for any person who chooses to be an ultrasound technician.
To make sure the technicians are continuing the education and attaining the skills required to keep working with the updating technology, American Registry of Radiologic Technologists has come up with a few regulations. The certification is not something permanent in value. To keep their license active and upgraded at all times, technicians are required to follow CEUs carefully. CEUs, or Continuing Education Units keep sonographers updated towards recent technological developments. These units are controlled by ARRD itself. It administers continuing education and ethics requirements for annual registration and upgrading of ultrasound technician certification.
Even though it might seem like an even step by step process, attaining an ultrasound technician certification is not that simple. It is an extremely challenging job. Even after attaining a degree, clearing ultrasound technician certification exam and getting a primary license, a lot of people fail to hold the certification for a long time. Hence, it is extremely crucial to stay updated at all times. One must pay as much attention to CEUs as they have paid to the rest of the process. Only this diligence can help preserved the skills in such an ever-changing situation. Sincerity is the key to attaining and maintaining ultrasound technician certification.