Ultrasound Technician Certification
Ultrasound technician certification helps practicing sonographers specialize their training and keep up with the latest trends and technologies impacting their fields. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS.gov) reports that in some states, professional certifications are a voluntary way to advance your training and boost your employment prospects, but in other states, they are required. Read on to learn more about the details and benefits of ultrasound technician certification.
There are a number of professional organizations that certify ultrasound technicians. These certification programs can vary in scope, and may focus on a particular career specialization, like abdominal, obstetric or musculoskeletal sonography. Requirements vary, but according to the BLS, programs usually require candidates to successfully complete ultrasound technician postsecondary certificate or degree programs and accrue a certain number of clinical hours before even applying for certification. They must also typically pass a national exam that may or may not include a clinical component.
Benefits of certification
In many cases, ultrasound technician certification is mandatory. According to the BLS, most employers prefer to hire professionally certified candidates, and many insurance providers require all covered procedures to be completed by certified sonographers. This is perhaps why the BLS notes that most ultrasound technicians have at least one certificate; others have several. Even when certification is strictly voluntary, however, it may offer tremendous benefits. Here are a few of them.
- Employment opportunities. According to the BLS, demand for ultrasound technicians is expected to grow across the board between 2012 and 2022 -- and fast -- but job prospects should be especially strong for certified candidates. Ultrasound technicians certified in more than one specialty stand to benefit even more from their training.
- Cutting-edge skills. The BLS notes that ultrasound technology is more accessible and affordable than ever before, and is quickly replacing more costly or invasive procedures. As the technology expands, so does demand for technicians who know how to use it. Professional certification ensures professionals remain on the cutting edge of their field.
- Specialization and expertise. With certification comes specialization -- the type of specialization that may help make you an expert in your career field. Ultrasound technicians who are certified in an area like abdominal ultrasound or neurosonography have more extensive training in these areas, so can often get better images (and make fewer mistakes). Technicians who are certified in multiple areas are especially valuable.
These are just a few of the benefits associated with professional certification. You can visit certifying organizations like the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography and the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists to learn more about your options. The ARDMS in particular offers updated information about which states require certification, and what that process entails.
American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography, 2014, http://www.ardms.org/
Diagnostic Medical Sonographers and Cardiovascular Technologists and Technicians, Including Vascular Technologists, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/diagnostic-medical-sonographers.htm
Earnings and unemployment rates by educational attainment, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections, 2014, http://www.bls.gov/emp/ep_chart_001.htm
Sonography State Licensure Update, American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography, 2014, http://www.ardms.org/news_multimedia/%20ardms_articles/%20sonography_state_licensure_update
Sonography Certification, The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists, 2014, https://www.arrt.org/Certification/Sonography