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What is the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers

What is the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers (ARDMS) If you are new to the ultrasound profession, you must have wondered what is the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers (ARDMS) and what they can do to help you in your career. As an active practitioner in the field, or an aspirant, it is essential to know organizations that define the standards of best practices in your industry.


One such organization is the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers (ARDMS). Founded in 1975, its goal is straightforward: It aims to “promote quality care and patient safety through the certification and continuing competency of ultrasound professionals.’” Because practitioners deal with a form of energy that could be harmful with cumulative exposure, it is imperative that they are skilled in their practice to ensure that patients are safe while diagnostics are being conducted.

Presently, there are only a couple of states with legally mandated examinations that measure this skill and enforce continuing education so the profession is up to speed with technology. Outside of New Mexico and Oregon, there are no competency examinations that determine the fitness of an entrant to practice sonography. Ultrasound technologists can in fact practice without license because in the majority of the states, there are no laws that establish licensing. Unlike other licensed medical practitioners, the public may be placed in harm’s way, without a clear program of accountability and license revocation, if ultrasound technicians commit mistakes damaging to the patient.

ARDMS addresses this lack of accountability. To ensure that patient safety is at all times observed, it administers examinations and confers awards and credentials to practitioners as a sign of their competency in the field.

An ultrasound technician registered with ARDMS means that he or she has complied with the professional standards that are widely recognized in the medical sonography community. Failure to register with ARDMS does not necessarily mean lack of competence. It only means that the education and skills an ultrasound technifician has acquired may not be in line with the current best practices of sonographers nationwide.

As a result, though you may still be allowed to practice without any license or certification, you are less likely to get hired, promoted or achieve higher pay. As an accrediting body of individual practitioners, ARDMS confers the certifications to those who have successfully completed its examinations. Specifically, it awards practitioners with certifications in their subspecialties. This means that a sonographer can either be a Registered Diagnostic Medical Sonographer; a RegisteredDiagnostic Cardiac Sonographer; a Registered Vascular Technologist; a Registered Physician in Vascular Interpretation; and Registered in Musculoskeletal Sonography.

ARDMS also ensures that future sonographers get the most relevant training while at school. This is why it prefers applicants with CAAHEP-accredited courses. The Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) is the only accrediting body in the United States that is recognized by the Council for Higher Education. This is because it has programmatic accreditation specific to diagnostic medical sonography, diagnostic cardiac sonography, and vascular technology.

With a CAAHEP course, hands-on training is already integrated in the curriculum so graduates can go directly to ARDMS and sit for an exam.

In sum, entrants to sonography who ask what is the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers (ARDMS) should understand that it is a major credentialing body focused on ensuring that ultrasound technicians are highly skilled in their professions and are up to the date with the advances and changes in the field.