To become a diagnostic medical sonographer, you will need to complete a formal education program in the field. This typically includes both classroom instruction and hands-on clinical training.
- Education: You can pursue a two-year associate’s degree or a certificate program in diagnostic medical sonography, or a four-year bachelor’s degree program in the field. These sonography programs are offered by colleges, universities, and technical schools.
- Clinical Training: During the program, you will receive hands-on clinical training, working alongside experienced sonographers and radiologists, to gain practical experience in the field.
- Certification: After completing your education and clinical training, you will be eligible to take the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS) exam. Passing this exam will earn you the title of registered diagnostic medical sonographer (RDMS).
- Licensing: Some states require diagnostic medical sonographers to be licensed. Requirements vary by state, so it’s important to check with your state’s licensing board to ensure you meet all necessary criteria.
- Continuous Education: To maintain your certification, you will need to meet continuing education requirements set by the ARDMS. This will typically involve taking courses or attending workshops to stay up-to-date on the latest developments in the field.
- Experience: With experience, you may choose to specialize in a certain area of sonography, such as obstetrics or vascular sonography.
Sonographer Program Overview
A diagnostic medical sonographer (DMS) program typically includes both classroom instruction and hands-on clinical training. Students learn how to operate ultrasound equipment and use it to create images of internal organs, blood vessels, and other structures in the body. They also learn how to properly prepare patients for procedures, how to obtain and interpret images, and how to communicate their findings to physicians and other healthcare professionals.
The program typically takes two years to complete and leads to an associate’s degree or a certificate. Some colleges and universities also offer a four-year bachelor’s degree program in diagnostic medical sonography. Upon completion of the program, graduates are eligible to take the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS) exam to become a registered diagnostic medical sonographer (RDMS).
CAAHEP Accredited Program
The Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) is a recognized accrediting agency for educational programs in the allied health field, including diagnostic medical sonography. CAAHEP accreditation is considered a mark of quality for these sonography programs, as it indicates that the program meets or exceeds certain standards for curriculum, faculty, and clinical training.
To be accredited by CAAHEP, a diagnostic medical sonography program must meet the following criteria:
Have a curriculum that is consistent with the standards set forth by the Joint Review Committee on Education in Diagn Medical Sonography (JRC-DMS)
Have a faculty that is qualified to teach the program’s curriculum
Provide students with sufficient and appropriate clinical experience
Use equipment and facilities that are appropriate for the program’s curriculum
Have a process in place for continuous program improvement
CAAHEP-accredited programs are reviewed regularly to ensure they continue to meet these standards. Graduating from a CAAHEP-accredited program will make you eligible to take the American Registry for Diagn Medical Sonography (ARDMS) certification examination.
It’s important to note that CAAHEP accreditation is voluntary, so not all programs in the field will be CAAHEP-accredited. However, it’s generally considered a good idea to attend an accredited program as it will ensure you receive a quality education and will have better chances to get certified and find a job in the field.