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Sonography Student Tips

​​​​​​​Are you considering becoming a sonography student, and are weighing sonography career pros and cons?  Below you will find important sonography career information and how ARDMS credentials can help you to pursue a career in sonography.


Sonography (ultrasound) is a non-invasive diagnostic medical imaging procedure that is used to visualize organs or systems in the body. It is commonly used to monitor fetal growth and understand the health of the heart, the abdomen, and the vascular and musculoskeletal systems. Sonography is one of the fastest-growing healthcare fields, with demand for skilled and certified professionals increasing every year. As a sonography student, pursuing a credential from ARDMS, the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography will distinguish you as a prominent practitioner of sonography. Learn more about ARDMS credentials and how sonography students can get started by visiting our homepage.


The sonography field has grown significantly in the last decade. From continued technological development and increased demand for diagnostic ultrasound procedures, sonographers will remain to be a vital part of healthcare for the foreseeable future. 

ARDMS was founded to support sonographers and we are committed to developing resources to help you advance your career after earning our credentials. To find sonography-specific positions, search UltrasoundJOBS by ARDMS, the exclusive career website of ARDMS. Additional information can be found on our Career Center.

You can also find more out more about the sonography profession by watching our five-part video series called Real Talk Sonography, where we interviewed  20+ sonographers. For more information about the sonography profession and how to get started, visit Careers in Sonography.


Important Terminology

Before beginning your search for a sonography education program, it is important to understand some of the common terminology associated with the field. Below you will find information regarding ARDMS terminology. 

  • Credential: A credential is a title earned upon successfully passing ARDMS examinations. 
  • ARDMS Prerequisite: To apply for an ARDMS examination, applicants must apply under the prerequisite most applicable to their clinical and educational experience.
  • Accreditation: Accreditation is the approval granted to an institution of learning by an official review board after the school has met specific requirements. 
  • CAAHEP and CMA: The Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) is the largest programmatic accrediting organization in the United States, and the Canadian Medical Association (CMA)/Canadian Health Standards Organization (HSO)  is the Canadian equivalent.

Questions to Ask When Finding a Diagnostic Medical Sonography Program?

Whether you are looking for diagnostic medical sonography or online sonography programs, you should review the current ARDMS prerequisites first. Doing so will allow you to choose a program that equips you to meet the eligibility requirements for taking an ARDMS examination. This process is a vital part of weighing out sonography career pros and cons. Many employers require ARDMS credentials, so this step is crucial to increasing your chances of employment in the future. 

Below are several questions to consider asking when researching diagnostic medical sonography programs:

  1. Is the program accredited by the CAAHEP or CMA?
  2. If the program is not accredited by CAAHEP or CMA, are graduates still eligible to take the ARDMS credential examinations?
  3. What is the credential examination pass rate of students who have graduated from this program?
  4. What is the cost and length of the program?
  5. What degree is awarded upon completing the program?
  6. What percentage of graduates achieve employment in sonography within six months of graduation?

After graduating, you will need to earn ARDMS credentials to be employed by most employers. Read the information below to learn more about ARDMS and our credentials. 


The ARDMS administers examinations and awards credentials in the areas of ultrasound. The ARDMS is seen as the gold standard of ultrasound credentials and most employers require ARDMS credentials. This means that choosing a diagnostic medical sonography program that will prepare you to pass ARDMS examinations is crucial.

Why earn ARDMS credentials as a sonography student?

ARDMS is recognized as the international standard in sonography credentialing. The RDMS, RDCS, and RVT and now the RMSKS credentialing programs are accredited by ANSI to the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 17024 Standard for organizations that certify personnel. Below you can find the credentials you can earn from the ARDMS. ARDMS also offers sonography certificate programs. Currently, Midwives are eligible to apply for the Midwife Sonography certificate by taking and passing the Midwife Sonography examination.  

Now that you know the credentials offered by ARDMS, please find more information below about how you can start earning ARDMS credentials. 

How do I start earning ARDMS credentials? 

Before you earn credentials from ARDMS, you must do the following:

  1. Review all of the information about the ARDMS credential you would like to obtain and the ARDMS examination for which you will apply. You can find this information in the Get Certified section of
  2. Create an MY ARDMS account and obtain your ARDMS ID number. MY ARDMS is your one-stop-shop for applying for examinations, paying your renewals, and fulfilling your continuing education requirements. 
  3. Apply for and pass the Sonography Principles and Instrumentation (SPI) examination. This is required before applying for ARDMS credential examinations via the Application Center in MY ARDMS. You can take the SPI examination before graduation if your educator is part of the Paperless Application Program.
  4. Choose the ARDMS prerequisite under which you will apply. 
  5. Apply for the examination you would like to take to obtain ARDMS credentials via the Application Center within MY ARDMS. 
  6. Submit any supporting documentation within 21 days of submitting your application.
  7. Once approved, schedule and take examinations.
    NOTE: Did you know you can take select ARDMS examinations from your own home? Click here to learn more!

Note that your ID number does not indicate that you are registered with ARDMS, are eligible to sit for an ARDMS examination or credentialed. Inappropriate use of this number could result in your examination eligibility being revoked.

Although the ARDMS offers practice tests via Application Center in MY ARDMS, we do not offer or recommend sonography books or diagnostic medical sonography books for our examinations – but our sister societies do. Study materials are offered by:

Additional Questions

Thank you for your interest in learning more about pursuing a career in sonography. We hope this information will help you in taking the next step in your career. If you have additional questions, please reach out to our Customer Care Team at (800) 541-9754 option 1 or by contacting us online. If you are ready to take the next step in your career, create your MY ARDMS account and apply for the SPI examination.