Learning doesn’t end once you complete an academic degree. Those who are most successful in any profession are constantly upgrading their skills and knowledge in order to stay on top of new developments and to further specialize. The same goes for diagnostic medical sonographers (also called ultrasound technicians), radiologic technologists and other medical imaging professionals.
What is CME?
CME stands for continuing medical education. A healthcare professional takes ultrasound CMEs, radiology CMEs, sonography CMEs (or others depending on their field) for numerous valuable purposes. Continuing medical education courses are a way for healthcare professionals to gain more expertise, making them more successful in their current position but also making them a worthy candidate for promotions – positions that require a more specialized skill and knowledge base. Perhaps the ARRT (The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists) describes the value of medical imaging CME courses best: “[They are a] mechanism… to fulfill their responsibility to maintain competence and prevent professional obsolescence. Participation in CE demonstrates accountability to peers, physicians, healthcare facilities, and the public”.
Additionally, ultrasound technicians or sonographers and other healthcare professionals are required to take medical education courses to maintain their certification or credentials. While certification through bodies such as the ARDMS or the ARRT is not always mandatory, most employers either prefer or require prospective medical imagers to be certified.
Here is a basic guide to the Medical Imaging continuing medical education course requirements to maintain credentials with some relevant certification bodies:
|Certification Body||Examples of Credentials Offered||CME Requirements|
|ARDMS(The American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography)||
||Generally, to maintain credentials with the ARDMS, you need to complete 30 CME credits within a three-year period.|
|ARRT(The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists)||Certifications in:
||Generally, to maintain certification with the ARRT, you need to complete 24 CME credits (Category A and A+) every two years.|
|CCI(Cardiovascular Credentialing International)||
||Generally, every three years, those with “Registered” level credentials must complete 36 CME credits and those with “Certified” level credentials must complete 16. (Note the CCI, refers to continuing medical education courses as CEUs).|
* Note: Each accrediting organization must approve of the institute or agency from where you decide to complete your medical imaging, radiology or ultrasound continuing medical education courses.
Types of CMEs
Continuing medical education courses come in a variety of forms. They may be offered online, in person or by correspondence. Some are free while others may have a tuition fee. Some medical imaging CMEs may be related to a particular specialty while others may pertain to more general professional skills. For example the SDMS (Society of Diagnostic Medical Sonography) offers courses in “Career Pathways” and “Interviewing Skills” but also in “Doppler Sonography” and “Renal Pathology”. Some medical education courses are worth one CME credit while others may be worth more. For example, the GE CME ultrasound course “Vascular Imaging with B-flow” is worth 1 CME credit, whereas “Hepatobiliary Disease” is worth 2 CME credits.
Examples of Organizations and Companies that Offer CME
- Gulfcoast Ultrasound Institute: Gulfcoast offers numerous onsite and online courses for a fee, including abdominal, OB GYN, musculoskeletal, echocardiography, vascular ultrasound CMEs and more.
- GE (General Electric) Healthcare: GE healthcare CME ultrasound courses are offered online and there are several free options.
- Society of Diagnostic Medical Sonography (SDMS): The SDMS offers free CME for ultrasound to its members. Topics include sonography of various specific regions of the body, ultrasound technology, pathology and more. (Note some courses have a fee).
- Siemens: Siemens offers online ultrasound CME courses that are either self- or instructor-guided, in areas such as obstetrics, elastography and fetal echocardiography.
- SonoWorld: SonoWorld offers ultrasound medical education courses primarily for vascular or breast sonography.
- Pegasus Lectures: Pegasus Lectures offers CME courses on a variety of topics, from ultrasound physics and vascular technology to adult echocardiography and certification exam preparation. Classes are delivered via a combination of live presentations and online modules.
If you are thinking of pursuing a career in diagnostic medical sonography (ultrasound) or another allied health discipline, find out about ultrasound technician degrees and certifications that will lead to these fulfilling professions. Our state schools page will help you find an educational program that meets your personal and professional needs. Once you have commenced your career as a medical imager, stay up to date on continuing medical education courses so that you can advance, maintain your certification and be the best healthcare specialist possible.
* Note: UltrasoundSchoolsInfo.com does not recommend or endorse any specific medical education course or provider.