ARDMS Certification Guide


Comprehensive guide to ARDMS certification

Though ARDMS certification is not required for employment, but several diagnostic medical sonographers prefer the ultrasound certification. Moreover, in the future, several territories might ask all the sonographers to hold the licensure.

You can obtain the certification from the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS) certification agency that administers the certification exam and offers diagnostic, medical, vascular, and cardiac sonography credentials.

As of now, greater than 70,000 people have started applying for ARDMS certification. This is a well-recognized sonographic certification globally and is ideal for all the people in the sonographic field. Also, ARDMS is the type of sonographic certification that is considered in all medical fields.

In the article, you will get to know every single detail about American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS) certification and some much-needed FAQs.


American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS) is a non-profit organization launched in 1975 that provides certification in vascular, cardiac, and general diagnostic medical sonography. The people who had obtained the certification from the national agencies such as ARDMS get the professional standard accredited by the medical field.

Since the department does not verify the daily job performance of these individuals who obtained the certification. It is usually categorized into three major groups. The first one is the board of directors that evaluates the organization’s policy, experts’ staff that manages programs and assists candidates, and examination task force managers that regulate the exams.

It is the non-organization that are recognized by several reputed organization, which includes international organization for standardization(IOS), American national standards Institute(ANSI) and the national commission for certifying agency(NCCA). However, NOCA is an element of the National Organization for Competency Assurance (NCCA) that creates a top-quality standard for certifying organizations.

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Credentials provided

All the credit credentials of ARDMS are provided in five several types of certifications, and all the certifications are dependent on the type of expertise you have. In some you will only require to give major exam, whereas in others, you will require to clear both a general exam with a major exam in some of the situation. Five different types of credentials are given below:

  • Registered Diagnostic Medical Sonographer (RDMS)

This type of credentials is offered to those looking to obtain certifications in breast, obstetrics, abdomen and gynecology, fetal echocardiography, or neurosonology sonography. Although neurosonology specialization was terminated several years ago in 2015, after that it was replaced with the pediatric sonography specialization.

  • Registered Diagnostic Cardiac Sonographer (RDCS)

Register diagnostic cardiac sonographer certification is offered to those who look for certification in cardiac sonograms, including adult, fetal, and pediatric.

  • Registered Vascular Technologist (RVT)

This credential is offered to individuals seeking vascular sonography certification with expertise in the system of blood vessels found throughout the body.

  • Registered Musculoskeletal 

This credential is recently added in the ARDMS, which includes performing an ultrasound of joints and soft tissues such as tendons and muscles.

  • Registered Physician in Vascular Interpretation (RPVI)

This credential is only provided to the top level of medical experts. It is the top level of standard having expertise in performing ultrasound to diagnosing and treating vascular diseases.

Needed examinations

The examination required for the ARDMS certifications might vary depending on the desired credential and the specialization that you wish to obtain.

Credential Obtained Required Examination Major exams
You will obtain RPVI (Registered Physician in Vascular Interpretation) credential You will require to give the PVI (Physician’s Vascular Interpretation Exam)
You will get the credentials RVT (Registered Vascular Technologist) You will require to give the SPI (Sonography Principles & Instrumentation Examination)


Vascular Technology (VT)
You will earn RMSK (Registered in Musculoskeletal) credentials You need to give the MSK (Musculoskeletal Sonography Exam)
RDCS (Registered Diagnostic Cardiac Sonographer) SPI (Sonography Principles & Instrumentation Examination) Fetal Echocardiography (FE)Pediatric Echocardiography(PE)

Adult Echocardiography(AE)

You will earn RDMS (Registered Diagnostic Medical Sonographer)          credentials SPI (Sonography Principles & Instrumentation) is the exam that you need to give Abdomen (AB)

Fetal Echocardiography (FE)

Neurosonology (NE)

Pediatric Sonography (PS)

Obstetrics and Gynecology (OBGYN)

Breast (BR)

  • Requirements of the examination

Giving the ARDMS certification exam depends on the credentials and education you obtained from the recognized institution. The most common requirement for giving the general sonography principles and institution exam is that you should be the part of single two-year allied health education program where your primary focus will be caring for the patient. However, the person must be having a minimum of 12 months of experience in clinical ultrasound or vascular.

  • How you can prepare for the exam

In order to prepare you for the online ARDMS exams, the candidates should first create an environment similar to their examination environment. Preparing for exams like choosing the answer using the mouse or keyboard, Seeing all the questions by scrolling through the mouse, keeping track of the time and checking how much time you can invest on a particular answer, highlighting important questions for revising it twice and at last investing rest of the time in reviewing all the answers. Once candidates complete their exam, they will obtain the report card of the exam. The cost of all the ten exams offered by ARDMS is $25.00.

About test Center Locations

After your application gets approved for the examination, you will be assigned a date, and you will have to appear in the exam within 90 days. After that, you will have to enroll and take the exam in any nearest 3000 Pearson VUE test center worldwide.

On the day of the exam

Before you sit for the exam, you will need to show the valid signature ID. The ID that you will present before the exam should be a non-expired government ID consisting of your signature; the signature should match with your name given in the application.

In case you did not show your ID, your entry to the examination centre will be eliminated. If this happens, you will be marked as absent, and your exam will be canceled. Also, your fee will not be refunded.

Documents that need to be presented at the test center

You will require to present any of the acceptable ID while appearing for an examination:

Acceptable forms of ID are listed below:

  • A valid Passport
  • Valid Driving License of the applicant
  • A valid Military ID which includes spouse and dependents
  • Identification card
  • Alien registration card (green card, permanent resident, Visa)
  • Government Issued: Local language ID (not in Roman characters) – accepted only if issues from the country

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The ID that you bring to the examination should meet the following criteria:

  • Should have the same first and last time as given in the record of ARDMS
  • The IDs that you bring should be original and not a photocopy
  • Ensure that the ID should be valid and must not have passed the expiry date
  • The ID should be issued by the government agency.
  • The acceptable ID should have a recent photograph of you that helps in identifying you.
  • The most important thing you should include your signature.

What is the five-year rule?

The applying candidates must clear the sonographic principle and instrumentation (SPI) exam along with the major exam within five years, irrespective of the sequence. Those applicants who cannot pass both the exams within the given period will require to reappear in the exam in which they initially passed.

Always remember, this five-year rule doesn’t apply to those candidates who apply for the additional expertise under that credentials which they already acquired. For example, suppose you have obtained the RDMS credential with Abdomen (AB), and now you are seeking to go for another RDMS specialty (OB/GYN, BR, FE, PS), then in such a situation, the five-year rule will not apply on you.

Moreover, if you obtained the RDMS credentials through initial UPI physics examination and Abdomen (AB) or (through any other RDMS) and in this way you cleared SPI exams. In this case, you will require to clear any of the RDCS or RVT to fulfill the SPI exam requirements of the five-year rule. If you seek to add an additional RDMS specialization after clearing the SPI exam, then it will not fulfill the requirement of the five-year rule because if you do this, you will add an additional specialization to the credentials that you already obtained.

The five-year rule is the same as the calendar year that starts from first January and ends on 31st December. The five-year rules start when the candidate passes their first examination and have to pass the second examination within five years. For example, suppose the candidate clears the first exam on 7 June 2011, he/she will require to clear their second examination before the end of 31 December 2016.

What are the application and examination resources?

Because of the Coronavirus pandemic, all our staff is working from home. So if any of the candidates is applying for the application and they do not want that their application review to get delay, then at this time, it is suggested not to mail or fax any application documents. To submit your application document, you should first sign in to your ARDMS account and upload your documents. For more information related to an RDMS account, you can refer to ARDMS COVID-19 page.

What is the Application Process?

After you are fully prepared to apply for the ARDMS examination, follow the below-given steps:

  • You will first be required to sign in to your my ARDMS account and select the option to apply online in the Application Center.
  • After that, you will need to fill the online application form and complete the application process by submitting the payment. If you are applying for the application for the first time, then first you will be required to select the requirements in the requirement chart under which you wish to apply.
  • While filling the application form, you will need to confirm that you have read and understood every detail acknowledge the following:
  • Confidentiality Agreement*
  • The ARDMS Application Agreement
  • The ARDMS Compliance Policies
  • Always remember to properly understand the Confidentiality agreement.

In the agreement, you will be given two options to select from; the first option will be “I Agree”, and the second will be “I Do Not Agree”. So if you agree to the terms of the agreement, then select the option, I agree to proceed with the application process, and if you choose, I do not agree this means that you did not agree to the terms and condition, if you choose this, your application will not proceed to the next application process.

  • Prepare all the required documents needed for the application process.
  • In order to get the receipt, you will require uploading all the supporting documents in the MY ARDMS account within 21 days after applying online. The time taken to review your application will be five days.

For any further details to choose the specialty exam that you require to apply under, you need to visit the get certified option at the ARDMS ( website. Once your given information is reviewed by the officials, you will either get an examination confirmation letter (ECL) through mail or if they require any additional documentation they will ask to submit additional documents. After receiving the examination confirmation letter, you can contact the Pearson VUE to assign you an examination date within your given eligibility period. You can find the eligibility time in the examination confirmation letter. In case you are not eligible to apply then, your application will be partially given back to you which is less than USD 100, and also, the original document that you submitted will be returned to you through the mail.
Certification Process

  • After you are approved, scheduled the exam date and appear in the examination.
  • You will receive the credential of the desired examination once ARDMS verifies your passing score. Till the time you can proceed to:
  • You can check your credential related information in the directory of candidates.
  • You can print a status Verification letter by visiting MY ARDMS.
  • You can take the printout of the temporary ID card if given in my ARDMS account.
  • After the exam, in just 4 to 6 week, you will get a welcome package along with your certificate and information related to your new credential. In addition to this, you will also get a digital batch, or you can say a digital version of your earned credentials which you can show to your friends and celebrate your success.
  • Failure to present one acceptable ID will prevent your admission to the test center. If this happens, you will be marked absent, and you will forfeit the entire examination fee and seat.


Some frequently asked questions related to American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS) will help you in clearing further queries related to certification.

How one should become Ardms certified?

The only way through which you can obtain the ARDMS certification is by giving the examination. Before you enroll for the certification exam, ensure that you meet the mentioned requirements.

How long it takes to get Ardms certification?

You can obtain certification by clearing the two or four-year program. In addition, you can obtain the credentials offered by ARDMS by clearing the ARDMS sonography assessments.

How Much Does the Exam Cost?

After May 2019, candidates need to pay the processing fee of $100 along with the examination fees. SPI exam costs $225 and the cost of every specialization exam, including RDCS, RDMS, and RVT credentials, costs $250.05.


We hope the above-given information related to the ARDMS certification helped you decided about the real meaning of ARDMS and its importance in the medical community.