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Guide to Continued Medical Education for Sonographers

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.

Student working on CME courses at computer

What is CME?

CME stands for continuing medical education.  Continuing medical education courses are a way for ultrasound technicians 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.

Additionally, CME courses and credits are required to maintain certification.  The ARDMS, for example, requires that RDMS certified sonographers complete 30 ARDMS accepted CME credits within a 3-year period.  Audits are completed each year with a randomly selected group of sonographers to ensure compliance.

“[CME courses 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”. The ARRT

Maintaining Certification

There are a lot of options for providers of CME courses.  If you’re a certified sonographer, it’s very important that you make sure that the course you’re taking is accepted by your accrediting body.  Whether it be the ARDMS, the SDMS, or one of the other sonography organizations, you should be able to find free CME trackers on their website to help you keep you on schedule with your  continuing education.

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, which is often reduced for members. 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”.

CME Requirements

Here is a basic guide to the continuing medical education course requirements for maintaining credentials with some of the relevant certification bodies:

Certification Body Examples of Credentials Offered CME Requirements
  • RDMS
  • RDCS
  • RVT
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:

  • Sonography
  • Radiography
  • MRI
  • Radiation Therapy
  • Nuclear Medicine Technology
  • Various post-primary credentials
Generally, to maintain certification with the ARRT, you need to complete 24 CME credits every two years.
CCI(Cardiovascular Credentialing International)
  • RCS (Registered Cardiac Sonographer)
  • RVS (Registered Vascular Specialist)
  • RCCS (Registered Congenital Cardiac Sonographer)
  • CCT (Certified Cardiographic Technician)
Generally, every three years, those with “Registered” level credentials must complete 36 CME credits and those with “Certified” level credentials must complete 16.

* 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.

Providers of Ultrasound Technician CME Courses

Below are some of the providers of Continuing Medical Education. Before signing up for a course, ensure that it will meet the guidelines and qualifications set forth by your certification body.

  • Gulfcoast Ultrasound Institute: Gulfcoast offers numerous onsite and online courses for a fee, including abdominal, OB GYN, musculoskeletal, echocardiography, vascular ultrasound CMEs and more.
  • American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine: The AIUM offers CME courses, many of which are free or offered at a reduced rate for members.
  • 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.
  • Society for Vascular Ultrasound:The SVU offers a variety of vascular ultrasound CME courses for its members.

How to Get Started

“Participation in continuing education demonstrates accountability to peers, physicians, healthcare facilities, and the public.” – ARRT

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.

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