Over the past several years the issue of sonography licensure has come to the forefront of legislative issues for our profession. ARDMS supports sonography laws that recognize leading national credentialing programs, identify sensible continuing medical education requirements, charge affordable fees, and are overseen by a regulatory group that includes sonography professionals.
Ideally, such laws would be instituted at a federal level, since state-by-state requirements may vary greatly increasing the complexity and reducing the mobility of ultrasound professionals. "Ultimately, ARDMS seeks to have all personnel performing sonography meet a uniform quality standard such as obtaining ARDMS credentials," said Dale R. Cyr, ARDMS CEO and Executive Director.
To date, the following two states require licensure of sonography professionals.
• Oregon: All qualified medical imaging technicians and physicians practicing in Oregon must have
a valid license issued by the Oregon Board of Medical Imaging before performing ultrasound
exams (OR 688.455). For more information on Oregon licensure requirements, please click here.
• New Mexico: As of December 2014, New Mexico is still in the process of setting the rules for the
sonography licensure program. For more information, please visit the New Mexico Radiation
Control Bureau Medical Imaging & Radiation Therapy Program website.
• North Dakota: On March 19, 2015, a new law passed that makes North Dakota the third state in
the United States to require licensure for sonographers. For more information, please click here.
How Licensure Differs from Certification:
At the most basic level, a license is required to practice a certain profession (like medicine and law), while certification is an objective, voluntary documentation of competence.
Licensure laws require that the individual meet and maintain certain professional standards. Just as important, they help prevent those who are not trained or qualified from practicing. Though licensure laws vary from state to state, one typically must be certified by a nationally recognized organization as part of the licensure process. Fees for licensure itself are typically paid to the state.
A certification documents that an individual has met specific requirements and has the knowledge, skills and abilities to work within a profession. Certifications are typically given by private organizations/professional societies after completion of a course of study and an objective assessment of competency, such as an exam(s). To maintain certification, one is typically required to demonstrate ongoing competency and to pay a fee to the certifying agency.