Epidemiology Ultrasound education is not mandatory in many graduate medical programs or residency training. Many physicians are unable to competently perform an ultrasound examination, either because they lack the appropriate training or because they do not have access to an adequate number of examinations to master this skill. For general surgery residents, this deficiency is now being addressed by requiring them to take a formal course in clinical ultrasonography.
With the advent of ultrasound, professional organizations began standardizing educational requirements for accreditation. Although it is difficult to find accurate information on the history of medical ultrasound training, one can trace its roots back to the early 1970s when the first board exams in ultrasonography were given.
Current Trends Ultrasound education has rapidly evolved in the past decade to include a wide variety of formalized training models, including in-person workshops, online courses, instructional DVDs, teleseminars, webcasts, and virtual simulators. A PubMed search revealed no articles on formalized ultrasound education; however, there are over 125,000 articles on Internet resources found through Google Scholar (October 25, 2012), highlighting the importance of Internet resources in continuing medical education. Most educational resources are designed for physicians but not for sonographers or other allied health professionals. There is a growing need for both sonographers and physicians to have formal ultrasonography education.
In the United States, there is presently no mandatory training that will allow a student to obtain a license as an ultrasound technician or as a physician. However, the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers (ARDMS) does provide certification in two levels:
(1) For technologists who can perform diagnostic exams
(2) For technologists with advanced skills such as vascular, cardiac, small parts, and pediatric imaging.
Successful candidates must pass a standardized test that has been designed to measure the knowledge and clinical application of ultrasound principles and procedures in human beings. The examination is dynamic and includes didactic, physical, and transducer performance aspects. The test is computer-based; however, the candidate may partially complete it on paper if online testing malfunctions or is not feasible.
Conclusion Ultrasound education has rapidly evolved in the past decade to include a wide variety of formalized training models, including in-person workshops, online courses, instructional DVDs, teleseminars, webcasts, and virtual simulators. For more information about this topic click here.