Home / Ultrasound Technician / Ultrasound Tech Training / The Basics of Ultrasound Technician Certification

The Basics of Ultrasound Technician Certification

Ultrasound Technician CertificationUltrasound technicians play an important role within the medical field. This is because they are responsible for producing diagnostic images of patients’ body structures that allow physicians to diagnose an array of medical conditions.


The daily responsibilities vary somewhat by specialty, but there are some common tasks such as sterilizing equipment, noting patients’ medical histories, explaining the process to patients, moving patients into the correct position, taking measurements, and evaluating preliminary results.

Is Ultrasound Technician Certification Required?

No, it is not mandatory in most states. However, many employers will only hire those who have certification. There are several organizations that grant credentials, and the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS) is one of the most widely recognized. Their Sonography Principles and Instrumentation (SPI) exam is administered along with a specialty exam, and test takers who pass earn their Registered Diagnostic Medical Sonographer (RDMS) credential. According to the ARDMS, the SPI exam assesses ones abilities, knowledge, and skills in the areas of clinical safety, physical principles, pulsed echo instrumentation, and quality assurance. This exam meets the requirements for the RDMS, RDCS, and RVT credentials (also offered by the ARDMS) described below

Registered Diagnostic Medical Sonography (RDMS) – This is for ultrasound technicians who want to obtain certification in the areas of the abdomen, breast, obstetrics and gynecology, neurosonology, or fetal echocardiography sonography.

Registered Diagnostic Cardiac Sonographer (RDCS) – This credential is for those who want certification in the area of cardiac sonograms.

Registered Vascular Technologist (RVT) – This is for ultrasound technicians who wish to become certified in vascular sonography – the system of blood vessels flowing throughout the body.

Registered Musculoskeletal (RMSK) This is a newer credential and musculoskeletal sonography involves taking ultrasounds of the joints and soft tissues such as tendons.

The SPI exam consists of 120 multiple-choice questions and specialty exams have 170 multiple-choice questions. Here are samples for the SPI test:

  • What is the term for concentration of matter?
  • The area where velocity is the highest is?
  • What type of artifact causes ultrasound reflection to be placed at an incorrect depth?
  • The width of the beam is dependent on?
  • Sound waves are?
  • The frequency closest to the lower limit of US is?
  • The effects on soft tissue on US are called?
  • An ultrasound machine’s ability to produce information that is of diagnostic quality is termed?
  • Positive decibels show that the intensity is?
  • The typical frame rate of an ultrasound system is?
  • Acoustic speckle is an artifact produced by what?
  • Mirror image artifact manifests the associated anatomic structure how?
  • The contrast of the display is affected by?
  • What determines the Pulse Repetition Frequency?
  • Rounding artifact is mainly due to what?
  • For reverberation artifact to occur, what conditions have to be met?
  • Doppler Ghosting is the result of what?
  • What is the formula for Axial resolution?
  • Spectral analysis is done by?
  • What is comet artifact’s fundamental mechanism of formation?
  • The term Hyper-echoic in relation to a sonographic image means?
  • At the focus, the ultrasound beam is?
  • When the ultrasound machine has a low frame rate…
  • What denotes the distance for a wave to complete a cycle?

Study Materials

The ARDMS does not offer study materials for exams other than practice tests, but other societies do. You can find materials at the following:

  • American Institute of Ultrasound Medicine
  • American Society of Echocadiography
  • Society of Diagnostic Medical Sonography
  • Society for Vascular Ultrasound

Benefits of Certification

When you achieve certification you:

  • Increase your job opportunities
  • Show employers and patients you are committed to excellence in the sonography field
  • Gain credibility in the field

If you would like to learn more about certification, or becoming an ultrasound technician in general, please contact us.