Sonography State Licensure Update

In the past few years a handful of states --Oregon, New Mexico, West Virginia and New Jersey -- have proposed or passed sonography licensure laws. Now that this precedent is established, ARDMS anticipates that other states will soon follow suit and enact similar laws.

The ARDMS Legislative Committee, along with the Sonography Licensure Coalition*, which comprises seven organizations including ARDMS, closely monitors state licensure activities to uphold the best interest of the profession.

ARDMS Position on Licensure Requirements:

The ARDMS mission is to “promote quality care and patient safety through the certification and continuing competency of ultrasound professionals.” ARDMS supports sonography licensure laws that recognize appropriate national credentialing programs, identify CME 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, as state-by state requirements may vary. However, historically, licensure laws are more likely to be passed at the state level. “Ultimately, ARDMS seeks to have all sonography professionals meet a quality standard such as obtaining ARDMS credentials,” said Dale R. Cyr, ARDMS CEO and Executive Director.

How Licensure Differs from Certification:

Licensure laws require that an individual practicing a specific profession has met, and will maintain, entry-level standards. States typically require certification from a nationally recognized organization as part of the licensure process. These laws are enacted to protect the public from persons who are untrained and unqualified to practice a specific line of work. Fees for licensure are typically paid to the state.

Certification is a voluntary process and documents that an individual has met specific requirements and has the knowledge, skills and abilities to perform within a profession. Certifications are typically conferred by private organizations/societies after an individual has completed a course of study and passed an examination process or other specified criteria. To maintain certification, an individual is typically required to pay a fee, demonstrate ongoing competency and complete continuing education.

What Does the Future Hold?

The general expectation is that other states will follow the lead of Oregon, New Mexico, West Virginia and New Jersey, and explore enacting their own sonography licensure laws. ARDMS, in conjunction with other sonography organizations, will stay abreast of state licensure efforts and will provide Registrants with updates via the ARDMS website and e-newsletters such as Registry Reports and NewsWire. Additionally, since certification is often a component of state licensure, ARDMS encourages Registrants to assist non-credentialed colleagues in seeking certification. Please see the “Championing the Cause of Credentialing” article for tips and guidance.

*Sonography Licensure Coalition Member Organizations: American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS), American Society of Echocardiography (ASE), Cardiovascular Credentialing International (CCI), Society for Vascular Surgery (SVS), Society for Vascular Ultrasound (SVU) , Society of Diagnostic Medical Sonography (SDMS) and the Society of Invasive Cardiovascular Professionals (SICP).