Written by Judith Buckland

IAC’s New Sonographer Credentialing Requirement

Echo and Vascular Labs – Are you ready for the new sonographer credentialing requirements?


As you may be aware in January 2017 the latest changes to the Echo and Vascular accreditation standards as set forth by the Intersocietal Accreditation Commission become effective.  We have discussed the changes to the Quality Improvement Program in recent blogs.  In this blog we will cover the changes to the sonographer credentialing and training requirements.

All technical staff must be credentialed by January 2017.

The latest standards state that by January 31, 2017, all echo and vascular technical staff must have obtained an appropriate credential.  This applies to all accredited facilitates in order to remain compliant with IAC Standards.  We have received many phone calls and questions regarding how to handle this requirement.  “Does IAC really expect everyone to be credentialed?”  “What happens to our sonographers that are not credentialed?”

To answer this I think it’s important to review the history of IACs position on technical staff requirements. As far back as 2010, the Intersocietal Accreditation Commission recommended that all staff members acquire an appropriate credential within two years of completing their experience and training pathway.  The 2010 Standards stated that “By 2014, the laboratory must have a process in place to ensure that all sonographers become credentialed.”  This was followed up in 2015 with new standards that stated “The facility must have a process in place to ensure that all sonographers become credentialed.  Finally, by January 31, 2017, all technical staff (echocardiography, vascular) must have obtained an appropriate credential.”

This was not something that caught our industry off guard.  IAC started as early back as 2010 to create a pathway to credentialing.  So to answer the questions asked by many labs of whether or not sonographers really do have to be credentialed by January of 2017 to remain compliant within an accredited facility….the answer is YES!  In regards to how you handle this….  that is up to each and every facility to decide best practices for enforcing a requirement we have all known about for many years.  We recommend having the echo and vascular departments reach out to their human resource departments, managers and administrators. This way, you can discuss the best process for your individual facility.

The only exceptions

There are two exceptions to the required credentialing requirements to accommodate new graduates and sonographers that are cross training.  Without these accommodations it would be impossible for new grads and sonographers cross training to meet the clinical requirements required in order to sit for their credentialing exam.

These individuals are only allowed to work under appropriate supervision of a credentialed sonographer and must be listed on the IAC accreditation application as provisional technical staff.

  • New graduates

A new graduate of an ultrasound program (cardiac, vascular) has one year to obtain their credentials. Thus, new graduates must obtain this within one year from their date of graduation.

  • Working to fulfill clinical experience to sit a credentialing exam

Individuals who are cross-training in echocardiography or vascular and working to fulfill clinical experience prerequisites for a credentialing examination must obtain an appropriate credential within two years from the start date of training.

Credentialing Rocks!

On a personal note, I am passionate about raising the standards of diagnostic imaging.  I am relieved to have some additional external factor motivating credentialing.  Credentialing helps our industry to be taken seriously by other healthcare professionals. In addition, it helps advance our knowledge and expertise.

We truly love what we do and enjoy sharing this with sonographers nationwide with all levels of knowledge. From the novice sonographer to the experienced lead sonographer there is always something to learn. We are happy to develop clinical development programs for your facility. CardioServ always include education and clinical development with our accreditation services.

accreditationcredentialingechocardiographyIAC Standardsintersocietal accreditation commissionsonographervascular

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Question. We are strictly a Pediatric Echo Lab, we have some sonographers that are credentialed in Adult echo but not Pediatric echo. How or would this apply in this situation? Thanks for your thoughts
Thomas Wright
For Vein Labs that only do venous ultrasound RPhs should be all the accreditation that is required of sonographers by IAC. It makes no sense and would terribly unfair to require registered venous sonographers who dont do arterial studies to be registered for arterial exams.
Great comment! IAC recognizes many forms of acceptable vascular credentials to meet the 2017 credentialing requirements. Below is a list which also includes credentialing for sonographers that perform only specific vascular testing. - RVT - RVS - RT(S) - RDMS (AB) if you perform visceral vascular only - ASN if you perform extracranial and intracranial testing only - RPhS if you perform venous testing only
Dana Parker
This requirement is needed to insure the quality of the care provided to the public who rely on our work.
Cheryl pack
I did not go to school for echo that was 28 years ago. THERE was no schools in Georgia at the time. I was trained on the job a went to some courses over the years. I have taken the exam 4 times it is difficult when your job does not pay for exam refresher courses an you have to come out of pocket an pay for the 350.00 exam. I'M taking it again in a couple of weeks but if I don't pass it I will be out of a job that I have been at for 10 years an have worked hard at my profession. I am the best tech at my facility per the docs an I am the only one there not registered. WHAT a shame there it no provisions to grandfather anyone in that is in this situation. Thank you all for listening. God Bless
We have a tech in our office in the same situation. She has been a tech for 20 years. She is probably one of the best Cardiac Sonographers around. She was a M.D. in her former country before coming to the U.S. She put herself through Echo school because she could not use her M.D. training here. We agree, there should be a Grandfather Clause for these such cases.
Is RCS with CCI for echo acceptable ?
Acceptable echo credentials include: RDCS, RCS and the Canadian registry CRCS.
I am almost a year out of school and have unable to find work due to not being able to take my boards or ARRT due to the module I was in and guidelines we had to follow. I would either have to work full time for a year which has been impossible because every interview I've been on, no one wants to hire a new grad without boards or I need my bachelor in order to start taking boards. Is there anything you can suggest?
We have a non registered tech since 2014 in an accredited lab. How do we report this abuse?
There is a set process for reporting any issues to the Intersocietal Accreditation Commission. You can find the instructions on their website. Go to Echo - contact us - scroll down to Report a Complaint - you will be provided instructions.

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