To become an ultrasound technician, you have to complete anywhere from a year to four years of post-graduate education. These months and years of schooling have classes in medical terminology, anatomy and physiology, and more.
All this training (and a fierce certification exam) make every ultrasound tech in the field. But, what happens after that? Do we expect all these concepts to stay fresh inside of their minds for years after their formal training?
We’re trying to create the best, most experienced ultrasound technicians. So, we need to invest in continuing medical education. The medical field is constantly changing, and there’s always new information to take in.
By taking regular ultrasound courses, ultrasound technicians can stay current. They’ll learn new medical information. At the same time, they can refresh their memory of older concepts.
To learn more about how to continue education for ultrasound techs, keep reading.
What Is Continuing Medical Education (CME)?
Continuing medical education, or CME, is the idea of taking extra courses throughout one’s career. Professionals take these classes to ensure that they’re up-to-date. They’re learning new medical advancements and ideas every few years.
Ultrasound technicians take ultrasound courses every year or every few years for CME.
By taking these ultrasound tech courses, professionals can gain more current knowledge in their field. In turn, these techs will be more successful in completing their jobs, especially as they rise in their career tracks.
CME courses come in all forms.
It can occur in person, online, or in a hybrid format. It may last a few hours, a few weeks, or longer.
And, it may cover a variety of subjects. It may have general medical information or specific specialty-related information.
Some CME courses are free and others have a cost. But, sometimes, the workplace may cover these tuition costs to ensure that each professional gets the training that they need.
Maintaining Certification for Ultrasound Technicians
Some CME programs like Registry Review allow ultrasound techs to gain credits. They can use these credits towards maintaining certification.
Every practicing ultrasound tech must have and keep certification to legally practice. And, to keep their certification, they have to continue education through ultrasound courses.
To check for compliance, sonography organizations complete random audits each year. They select a random group of individuals and check their certification status.
Depending on your certification body, your CME requirements will be different. So, you should check your certification body’s website for a CME tracker. They should provide all of the information that you need online.
Your workplace may also have some CME requirements.
Why Should Ultrasound Technicians Take Continuing Medical Education Courses?
To some professionals, CME courses may seem unnecessary. If you know how to do your job well, what’s the point in taking extra classes?
Well, no matter how experienced you are, there’s always more to learn. This is especially because medicine is constantly changing. And, as you progress through your career, you’re bound to take on more responsibility.
CME ultrasound courses can help techs with a variety of tasks and goals:
- They allow ultrasound techs to explore different fields and specialties
- They teach ultrasound techs more about recent discoveries and trends in medicine
- They reveal new technologies and procedures
- They re-excite ultrasound techs about sonography
- They give techs a quick refresh of important information
- They help ultrasound technicians advance further in their careers
Overall, CME courses are meant to help ultrasound technicians learn more and get ahead. Without these courses, technicians would be stuck in the everyday tasks of their job. These courses give them the opportunity to learn and do more with their current expertise.
What Are the Requirements for CME?
As we mentioned, each certifying body has its own requirements for continuing medical education. This means that you need to be updated on what your certifying body requires to maintain your certification.
When it comes to sonography, there are three main certifying bodies:
In general, ARDMS requires each sonographer to complete 30 CME credits every three years. If a sonographer fails to complete these credits, they will lose their certification. And, it’s likely that that individual may lose their employment as well.
To maintain certification with the ARRT, a sonographer has to complete 24 hours of CME credits every two years.
As for those certified through the CCI, they have to complete CME credits based on their level of certification. Those who are at the “Registered” level have to complete 36 hours of continuing medical education every three years. On the other hand, those who are at the “Certified” level have to complete 16 hours of CME courses every three years.
If you’re trying to maintain certification, you need to take the right courses. Each certifying body approves different courses for their CME requirements. In other words, your certification body must approve of the organization that you’re taking courses with.
If the accreditation organization doesn’t approve of your CME courses, the credits may not count. So, you should make sure that you’re taking an approved course before you start. You wouldn’t want to waste your time or your money on a course that won’t even count towards your certification.
Learning More About Continuing Medical Education
Continuing medical education is important for ultrasound technicians and other medical professionals. The medical field is advancing, and – with that – there are new procedures, rules, technologies, and more.
Ultrasound technicians can learn more about their profession by taking CME classes. At the same time, they can explore more about their interests. Plus, they’ll gain more opportunities in the field and have a greater potential to earn raises and promotions.
This is not to mention that certifying bodies require CME courses for sonographers. These organizations require continuing education so that these professionals can maintain their certification.
To learn more about continuing medical education and other important considerations, check out the rest of our blog. We have a variety of interesting subjects for you to learn more about. From learning opportunities like CME courses to career paths like ultrasound technicians, we have plenty to read.