Recertification

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Important Update for Physicians: ARDMS has introduced a companion certification council for physicians – the Alliance for Physician Certification & Advancement (APCA)!  Please read the post below about what APCA means for you.

Recertification is a measurable way to assure that those holding ARDMS specialty certifications continue to demonstrate the knowledge and core clinical skills in present day practice. Maintenance of Certification (MOC) ​is a career-long commitment, comprising the annual renewal fee, attestation, earning CMEs and Recertification. Recertification adds value and credibility to your certifications by ensuring a reasonable degree of ongoing learning and development in order to maintain your certifications.

Timing of Recertification
If you earned an ARDMS specialty certification during 2016 or earlier, you will begin with a ten-year recertification cycle for that certification, until 2026, when it shifts to a six-year cycle for you. If you are certified in 2017 or later, you begin with a six-year recertification cycle. Timing is more specifically explained below. These requirements apply to both sonographers and physicians holding ARDMS specialty certifications. View your specific requirements for Recertification on MY ARDMS (sonographers) or MY APCA (physicians). 

Requirements for Recertification
There are two parts for Recertification:

(1) A brief self-evaluation survey, prior to taking (2). 

The self-evaluation survey will allow you to rate yourself on interpersonal communication skills, patient safety, new technologies and advancements, and ergonomics. ​

(2)  A proficiency assessment for each specialty certification you hold.

You will be required to take a proficiency assessment in each ARDMS specialty certification you hold. For example, if you hold the RDMS (BR) (OB) and RDCS (AE) credentials, you will need to take the Breast (BR), Obstetrics & Gynecology (OB) and Adult Echocardiography (AE) proficiency assessments. You do NOT have to take a separate physics/instrumentation assessment.

The proficiency assessment will contain 50 questions or less and will cover the current specialty content outline. Once you have completed the proficiency assessment, you will receive an immediate score and a post-assessment report.  Following are additional features regarding the proficiency assessment:

     ​ Designed as a media-based, multiple choice assessment
     ​ Open-book, open-notes
      No charge for the first attempt
      12 hour time frame to complete each assessment
     ​ Provided online so you may take it in the comfort of your own home or office
     
 To ensure that you receive the most out of this process, we will provide a list of directed learning
        opportunities, so you can continue to improve patient safety and care. This resource is optional. 

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 ‭(Hidden)‬ Image Viewer ‭[1]‬

 Cost and Number of Assessment Attempts

You will have three opportunities to take and pass the Recertification proficiency assessment for each specialty area.

 

     •​​ First assessment attempt:  No charge

 

     •​​ Second and third assessment attempt:  There will be a fee, which will be announced once
        determined.

Anyone unable to pass the recertification examination for a specific specialty within three

attempts will lose their certification in that specialty. In order to regain the specialty after three
failed proficiency assessment attempts, one would need to apply for the specialty examination, pay the examination fee, and successfully pass the examination.

 ​

 More Information on Timing

A ten-year recertification cycle was announced in 2010 during early communications regarding the 2012 launch of the ARDMS Recertification Program; this cycle length was typical of other medical certifications at the time. However, based on evolving norms for medical recertification due to rapid technological changes in the profession, ARDMS needed to progress and adapt to a six-year cycle. To make this a smoother transition for those who expected a ten-year cycle, we are handling the change as described below.

 

ARDMS Certifications Earned 2016 or Earlier

 

Anyone who has held an ARDMS specialty certification since December 31, 2011 or earlier will initially be assigned the 2011 – 2021 ten-year recertification period. The first Recertification Assessment will be open from 1/1/2019 – 12/31/2021 for those specialties earned during 2011 and earlier. You have the option to complete the requirement early but it is not mandatory.  Recertification must be completed by 12/31/2021 for this group.  After you recertify once during the initial ten-year cycle, you will then transition over to the six-year cycle. See Table 1 for the timing of Recertification if you have earned ARDMS specialty certifications during 2016 or earlier.​

            Recertification Table.PNG

         ​     Table 1


ARDMS Certifications Earned 2017 or Later

 

Anyone earning an ARDMS specialty certification during 2017 or later will be the first group on a six-year Recertification cycle.

 

The six-year Recertification period for first-time Registrants will begin in the year the specialty certification was earned. For example, a person who becomes certified in a specialty for the first time on March 1, 2017 will be eligible to recertify in 2023. If an additional specialty is earned in later years, then that new specialty certification will have a separate six-year recertification cycle.

        Updated Recertification Charts.PNG

         Table 2

 Study and Reference Materials

ARDMS publishes content outlines for all specialty examinations. The same outlines used for the main specialty certification examinations will be used for the recertification proficiency assessments. In addition, it is anticipated that sonography organizations and continuing medical education providers will develop study materials and resources in the year or two leading up to the first administration of the recertification examinations (2019).

 

 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Below you will find information regarding Maintenance of Certification (MOC) Frequently Asked Questions. For your convenience, you can also access a pdf version of MOC FAQs information found below.

What is Maintenance of Certification (MOC)?

Maintenance of Certification (MOC) was developed to improve patient care by ensuring continuous lifelong learning and professional development throughout your career. MOC for RDMS, RDCS, RVT, and RMSKS credentials consists of 4-parts:

Renewal Fee - Annual

Attestation - Annual

Earn CMEs – Earn your minimum required number of continuing medical education (CME) credits during your 3-year CME period."

Recertification and Self-Evaluation Survey – Every 6 or 10 years (depending upon when the specialty certification was earned) 


What is Recertification?

Recertification is a component of Maintenance of Certification (MOC) and is a means of validating knowledge in your specialty. Achieving certification from ARDMS is a long-term commitment to yourself, your career and your profession. To maintain certification, you must be prepared to continue to learn and grow your current knowledge. With Recertification, you are demonstrating your commitment to staying current and building upon your knowledge.


Why is Recertification being implemented?

Recertification has been developed in order to meet a required standard of the International Standards Organization (ISO) and the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), the accreditor of ARDMS certification examinations. ISO-ANSI stipulates that certification organizations should have a measurable way to assure that those who hold an ARDMS credential are knowledgeable in current day practice. Continuing Medical Education (CME) credits alone cannot prove that Certificants continue to meet the minimum core sonography knowledge in present day practice.

Additionally, Recertification is being implemented to elevate the practice of sonography to be aligned with other health care professions and to anticipate state licensure regulations.


Why is the Recertification period transitioning to 6 years?

Changes in practice standards, technology, and patient care practices occur frequently. Job Task Analyses are conducted every 3-5 years in order to capture the impact of these changes on the profession. So in other words, as the profession matures and examinations are updated, either due to technology or industry requirements, so shall the frequency of Recertification. This is standard practice for certification examinations. 


How do I know when I am due to recertify?

If you earned a specialty in 2016 and prior, Recertification will begin on a 10-year.  Once requirements for Recertification have been completed, you will then transition to the 6-year cycle.  Those earning a specialty in 2017 and forward will begin with a 6-year cycle.

Check your information in My ARDMS (sonographers) or My APCA (physicians) and select "Recertification" under the "Maintain Certification" menu.  You will also receive email notifications informing you of the process and due dates.


What does Recertification involve?

Recertification will consist of a proficiency assessment and a brief self-evaluation survey. 

 

Can I recertify early?

Yes, if you passed the specialty examination in 2016 or prior, you will have 3 years in which to meet the requirements. For example, if you passed the specialty examination in 2011, Recertification is due by 12/31/2021.  However, you may take the proficiency assessment beginning 1/1/2019, allowing you 3 years to complete it.  If you passed the specialty examination in 2014, Recertification is due by 12/31/2024 and you may opt to take the proficiency assessment beginning 1/1/2022.


What content does the proficiency assessment include?

The assessment will follow the current test blueprint according to the specialty.  See the website link at http://www.ardms.org/get-certified/Pages/default.aspx and select the appropriate specialty 

examination to view a current outline.


Will the proficiency assessment include Sonography Principles and Instrumentation content?

No, only content pertaining to the specialty certification.


What types of questions and how many will be included on the proficiency assessment?

The proficiency assessment may contain multiple-choice type, image identification, scenarios, hot-spots, and drag and drops type questions.  There will be approximately 35-50 questions to answer.


I don't have experience with the many different item types?  What should I do?

The items are self-explanatory and there will be a tutorial prior to you starting the assessment.


Will I need to go to a testing agency for this proficiency assessment?

No, you may take the proficiency assessment from your home or office. Requirements will include a computer, laptop, or tablet with a good internet connection.


I hold more than one specialty?  Will I need to take a proficiency assessment for each specialty held?

Yes, you will be required to take a proficiency assessment in each specialty area you hold Active Status. For example, a Certificant who holds the RDMS (BR) (OB) and RDCS (AE) credentials will need to take the Breast (BR), Obstetrics & Gynecology (OB) and Adult Echocardiography (AE) proficiency assessment. 


When will I know if I passed a Recertification Proficiency Assessment?

Immediately. Once you have completed the proficiency assessment, you will be receive an immediate score and a post-assessment report.  To ensure that you receive the most out of this process, we will provide a list of optional directed learning opportunities, so you can continue to hone your skills and improve patient safety and care.


Will I receive CMEs for participating?

No. 


What about study materials?

Study materials will not be provided but you may use whatever books and notes you would like during the assessment. Content outlines for all specialty examinations are published at (http://www.ardms.org/get-certified/Pages/default.aspx). The same outlines used for the main specialty credentialing examinations will be used for the recertification proficiency assessments.  You will receive suggestions for further learning after taking the self-evaluation survey and proficiency assessment(s). In addition, it is anticipated that sonography organizations and continuing medical education providers will develop study materials and resources in the year or two leading up to the first administration of the recertification examinations (2019). 


How much is this going to cost?

There will be no charge for the first attempt.  A fee will be implemented for the 2nd and 3rd attempts.


How long will I have to complete it?  Is this a "timed" assessment?

12 hours start to finish.  Yes.


What if I don't pass?

If you are not successful in passing during your first attempt, you will have two more opportunities to attempt the assessment.  If you are unsuccessful after three attempts, the specialty will be rescinded and you would be required to apply, submit payment, and retake the examination if you wish to regain that specialty.​


What is the self-evaluation survey?

The self-evaluation survey will allow you to rate yourself on interpersonal communication skills, patient safety, new technologies and advancements, and ergonomics.  The survey is not scored however it will provide you with a snapshot of your current strengths and weaknesses. 


Where can I find more information?

Refer to the ARDMS website at http://www.ardms.org/Maintain-Certification.  You may also contact a Customer Care team member at 800-541-9754 ext. 1.


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Important Update for Physicians: In June 2016 ARDMS introduced the Alliance for Physician Certification & Advancement (APCA), your new exclusive certification destination.  As a physician, you will now seek information, apply for, prepare for, and maintain both your APCA and ARDMS certifications through APCA.org and the new MY APCA.  From this point forward all the services, reminders and notifications about both ARDMS and APCA certification(s) will now be provided to you by APCA. ​​