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Initial Sonography Certification and Registration

Certification and registration is the recognition of an individual who satisfies certain standards within a profession. Employers, state licensing agencies, and federal regulators look at the ARRT credential as an indication that a person has met a recognized national standard for medical imaging, interventional procedures, and radiation therapy professionals.

ARRT has two pathways to Sonography certification and registration. In either case, candidates must meet basic education, ethics, and examination requirements, as outlined in ARRT's "Equation for Excellence," to become eligible. The following sections outline the eligibility requirements for all three areas. Note that there is no such thing as "registry-eligible" as far as the ARRT is concerned. Additional eligibility details can be found in the Primary Pathway Sonography Certification and Registration Handbook and the Post-Primary Pathway Sonography Certification and Registration Handbook. The new post-primary handbook – effective July 1, 2015 – can be found here.

Education Requirements for Sonography Certification and Registration

Primary Pathway

Candidates pursuing primary pathway certification and registration in Sonography must have — within the past three years* — successfully completed a Sonography educational program that is accredited by a mechanism acceptable to the ARRT. Beginning on January 1, 2015, all candidates for primary pathway certification and registration in Sonography must have earned an academic degree before becoming certified and registered. ARRT recognizes only accreditation agencies that are recognized by CHEA and/or USDE. A list of accrediting agencies recognized by ARRT for the academic degree and professional education requirements is available here.

As part of their education, candidates must also demonstrate competency in didactic coursework and an ARRT-specified list of clinical procedures by completing the Sonography Didactic and Clinical Competency Requirements.

* Candidates graduating from an educational program by December 31, 2012, will have five years to establish eligibility for ARRT certification and registration, as opposed to the three years that is available to those who complete their program beginning January 1, 2013.

Post-Primary Pathway

Candidates pursuing post-primary pathway certification and registration in Sonography must be certified and registered with the ARRT in Radiography, Nuclear Medicine Technology (registration through NMTCB is also accepted), Radiation Therapy, or Magnetic Resonance Imaging. Certification in any sonography-related modality through ARDMS is also accepted. In addition, all candidates must document completion of the Sonography Clinical Experience Requirements. To start documenting procedures, log in to My ARRT Info and click "Pursue Post-Primary Certification and Registration."

Beginning January 1, 2016, candidates must also document completion of 16 hours of structured education. Learn more about ARRT’s education requirements.

Ethics Requirements for Sonography Certification and Registration

Every candidate for certification and registration must, according to ARRT governing documents, "be a person of good moral character and must not have engaged in conduct that is inconsistent with the ARRT Rules of Ethics," and they must "agree to comply with the ARRT Rules and Regulations and the ARRT Standards of Ethics." ARRT investigates all potential violations in order to determine eligibility.

Issues addressed by the Rules of Ethics include convictions, criminal procedures, or military court martials as described below:

  • Felony;
  • Misdemeanor;
  • Criminal procedures resulting in a plea of guilty or nolo contendere (no contest), a verdict of guilty, withheld or deferred adjudication, suspended or stay of sentence, or pre-trial diversion.

Juvenile convictions processed in juvenile court and minor traffic citations not involving drugs or alcohol do not need to be reported.

Additionally, candidates for certification and registration are required to disclose whether they have ever had any license, registration, or certification subjected to discipline by a regulatory authority or certification board (other than ARRT), as well as any honor code violations that may have occurred while they attended school.

Candidates becoming certified and registered through the primary pathway may complete a pre-application to determine their ethics eligibility prior to enrolling in or during their educational program.

Read all about ARRT’s ethics requirements.

Examination Requirements for Sonography Certification and Registration

After having met the education and ethics requirements, candidates for Sonography certification and registration must pass ARRT’s Sonography examination, which assesses the knowledge and cognitive skills underlying the intelligent performance of the tasks typically required of staff technologists practicing at entry-level within the discipline. Applications for candidates who have completed an educational program in order to obtain eligibility obtained through individual program directors. Applications for candidates who are already certified and registered in a supporting category and want to take the exam as a post-primary candidate may be submitted online by logging into My ARRT Info. If you don’t have access to My ARRT Info, please contact the Initial Certification Department at (651) 687-0048, ext. 8560. When completing their applications, candidates should keep a few things in mind:

  • Candidates for primary certification and registration may mail their application up to three months prior to their anticipated graduation date.
  • All photos, signatures, and dates of signatures on an application form must occur within the six months before the date the application is received at the ARRT office.
  • Be sure to include the correct application fee.

The Sonography Content Specifications provide an outline of the topics covered in the exam. Since ARRT uses many references to build its exams, it does not provide specific lists of study materials or textbooks, nor does it recommend or endorse any review programs, mock registries, or study guides.

Individuals who are determined eligible by ARRT will receive, via the USPS, a Candidate Status Report (CSR) that details eligibility status and provides information on scheduling an exam appointment within the 90-day window. The CSR also addresses how to change an exam window or appointment, and how to prove identity at the test center.

Find out more about ARRT’s exams, including details about exam format and exam length, test centers, and how to request testing accommodations.

Candidates are allowed three attempts to pass an exam, and they must complete the three attempts within a three-year period that begins with the initial ARRT examination window start date.

Beyond Initial Certification and Registration

ARRT offers an easy way to publicly recognize a technologist's accomplishments and promote a facility's commitment to quality — a news release template that can be accessed easily, customized personally, and distributed locally. Find out how easy it is to announce a newly earned certification and registration.

Once you become certified and registered, the credential needs to be maintained. R.T.s must agree to comply with the ARRT Rules and Regulations and ARRT Standards of Ethics each year, meet the Continuing Education Requirements every two years, as well as complete the Continuing Qualifications Requirements (CQR) every 10 years.

Learn more about what happens after initial certification and registration.

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