Ultrasound Credentialing Pathways

Simplified for Students and Applicants

There's more than one path to become a credentialed Sonographer/Ultrasound Technologist. Although this can be a complicated journey, we strive to make it a little easier to understand.

White Pathway

First Things First

Accreditation, Licensing, Clinical Experience & Dedicated Specialty Hours

Be sure that you have answered YES to the following before continuing to the credentialing pathways.

 

ACCREDITATION

"The school I am applying to or attending is accredited by ABHES, the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools." 

The Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES) conducts both institutional and specialized, programmatic accreditation. Formed in 1964, ABHES is recognized by the Secretary of Education as a specialized, national accrediting body determined to be a reliable authority as to the quality of training offered by the educational institutions and programs it accredits. Its approved and recognized scope includes degree and non-degree granting private, postsecondary institutions offering educational programs predominantly in allied health.

LICENSURE

"The school I am applying to is licensed to conduct business by the state that it is located in."

The school must be licensed to conduct business as a school in the state in which it is located in. Unlike nursing and medical assisting, the student is NOT required to take or pass a state licensing examination upon or after graduation in order to practice sonography with the exception of New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota and Oregon. Please refer to the state agencies in charge of licensing for these states.

CLINICAL EXPERIENCE

"The school I am applying to or attending has at least 12 months of clinical ultrasound/vascular experience built into the program."

The clinical experience must be equivalent to no less than 1680 hours total built into the program. This equates to full time experience, which is calculated at a rate of 35 hours per week for 48 weeks or the equivalent.

SPECIALTY HOURS

"The school I am applying to or attending has a minimum of 800 dedicated vascular clinical hours OR 800 dedicated cardiac clinical hours."

In order to maximize the applicant's opportunities for success in becoming credentialed in ultrasound, schools must meet the minimum required of 800 vascular clinical hours OR 800 cardiac clinical hours.

 
Graduates

Certificate vs. Degree Program

"Does it matter if my school offers a certificate or degree upon graduation?"

You are qualified to become credentialed in ultrasound if you graduate with a certificate or a degree in sonography.

 

Many students prefer a degree as it is seen as a marker of success for future employers and students take pride in earning a degree. However, a degree it is NOT a requirement to become credentialed in sonography and as many as two thirds of working sonographers DO NOT have a degree.

 

Although, in the past few years, more and more students are opting for degree programs as they are becoming more available.

 
Work desk

Ultrasound Credentialing Pathways for ABHES Accredited Schools

This is general information provided to those individuals with a

  • High School Diploma or Equivalent

  • Associates Degree or

  • Bachelor's Degree

 

Please refer to the credentialing agencies directly for specific information related to your personal credentialing journey.

 

"My highest level of education is a High School Diploma or Equivalent."

HERE ARE YOUR OPTIONS:

  • It is recommended that ALL sonography students, regardless of their level of education, take the ARDMS Sonography Principles and Instrumentation (SPI) Exam. In order to qualify, applicants must successfully complete a general, medical or sonographic physics class/seminar/course and be able to send verifiable transcripts to ARDMS.

"My highest level of education is an Associates Degree." OR "I will graduate with an Associates Degree."

HERE ARE YOUR OPTIONS:

Students with an Associates Degree can apply to take their sonography credentialing exam with any of the pathways listed above for HSD/GED and the following pathway listed below:

  • Students with an Associates Degree are able to apply for the American Registry in Radiology Technology (ARRT) pending their school is recognized by the ARRT. Applicants are required to meet the ARRT competencies within their educational program.

"My highest level of education is a Bachelor's Degree."

HERE ARE YOUR OPTIONS:

Students with a Bachelor's Degree in ANY subject can apply to take their sonography credentialing exam with any of the pathways listed above for HSD/GED and Associates and the following pathway listed below:

PLEASE NOTE: The ARDMS does not accredit schools. Contact www.ardms.org for more details.

 

"My school is brand new and not yet accredited. What do I do?"

ULTRASOUND ACCREDITATION PROCESS

 

The process of accreditation for sonography schools is extensive, but not always lengthy. Typically, upon the initial graduating class, if the school application was filed in accordance with ABHES regulations and standards, and the graduating class has been successfully employed in the field of ultrasound, initial accreditation will be given for a period of time as the new school continues to operate under the strict surveillance of the accreditor. 

 

It is VITAL that any new school be LICENSED by the state in which it operates.

 

A NEW SCHOOL LICENSE IS MANDATORY for any ultrasound school to be legally operating in the United States.. 

Be sure that you have answered YES to the following before continuing to the credentialing pathways.

NEW SCHOOL ACCREDITATION

"The school I am applying to or attending has applied to become accredited by ABHES, the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools." 

The Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES) conducts both institutional and specialized, programmatic accreditation. Formed in 1964, ABHES is recognized by the Secretary of Education as a specialized, national accrediting body determined to be a reliable authority as to the quality of training offered by the educational institutions and programs it accredits. Its approved and recognized scope includes degree and non-degree granting private, postsecondary institutions offering educational programs predominantly in allied health.

NEW SCHOOL LICENSURE

"The school I am applying to is licensed to conduct business by the state that it is located in."

The school must be licensed to conduct business as a school in the state in which it is located in. Unlike nursing and medical assisting, the student is NOT required to take or pass a state licensing examination upon or after graduation in order to practice sonography with the exception of New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota and Oregon. Please refer to the state agencies in charge of licensing for these states.

Business leader, executive, CEO receiving letter, invitation, notification, postcard at wo

Ultrasound Credentialing Pathways for LICENSED ULTRASOUND SCHOOLS WITH
ACTIVE ABHES ACCREDITATION APPLICATION

This is general information provided to those individuals with a

  • High School Diploma or Equivalent

  • Associates Degree or

  • Bachelor's Degree

 

Please refer to the credentialing agencies directly for specific information related to your personal credentialing journey.

MINIMUM EDUCATION OF A HIGH SCHOOL DIPLOMA 

NOTE: This pathway does NOT allow for immediate credentialing eligibility upon graduation. However, upon successful completion of 12 Months of FULL time or equivalent work experience is required PLUS a minimum of 600 vascular ultrasound studies, graduates are eligible to apply to take the CCI credentialing exam.

Cardiovascular Credentialing International (CCI)

 

RVS235

A graduate of a diploma, associate, or baccalaureate academic program in health science (including, but not limited to, cardiovascular technology, ultrasound, radiologic technology, respiratory therapy, or nursing) AND
One year full-time or full-time equivalent work experience in vascular ultrasound

AND

Performance of a minimum of 600 vascular ultrasound studies* in their career, which is defined as work experience and/or clinical experience gained during a formal educational program.

It is recommended, but not required, that the applicant have experience in the following areas:

  • Carotid duplex ultrasound

  • Transcranial Doppler

  • Peripheral arterial physiologic

  • Peripheral arterial duplex

  • Venous duplex ultrasound

  • Visceral vascular duplex ultrasound


Registered Vascular Specialist (RVS)

MINIMUM EDUCATION OF A BACHELOR'S DEGREE 

American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers (ARDMS)

 

Prerequisite 3A

 

Education

Bachelor’s degree (any major) or foreign degree equivalent to a Bachelor’s degree in the U.S. or Canada.

Required Clinical Ultrasound/Vascular Experience

12 months of full-time (35 hours per week for 48 weeks or equivalent totaling a minimum of 1680 hours) clinical ultrasound/vascular experience.

Registered Diagnostic Medical Sonographer (RDMS)