Accreditation and certification
To practise as a sonographer in Australia or New Zealand, you must complete an accredited course of study which includes a comprehensive clinical training program of around 2200 hours, equivalent to three days per week over two years.
Courses can be undertaken to become a general sonographer or a discipline-specific sonographer, for example a cardiac or vascular sonographer.
Most accredited courses are only offered at a postgraduate level and require another health or science undergraduate qualification.
In Australia, there is currently one direct entry course to become a sonographer available.
To perform medical ultrasound examinations on behalf of a medical practitioner under Medicare, sonographers need to hold and maintain annual accreditation with the Australian Sonographer Accreditation Registry (ASAR).
Qualified and accredited sonographers are eligible to be included in the Register of Accredited Medical Sonographers held by Medicare. Many employers also require that sonographers maintain ASAR accreditation as a condition of employment.
To become an Accredited Medical Sonographer (AMS), sonographers must complete an ASAR Accredited Course, including the clinical training component. While undertaking an accredited course, students should apply for registration as an Accredited Student Sonographer.
Once a sonographer is accredited, to remain on the Register of Accredited Medical Sonographers they must pay an annual registration fee and complete at least 60 hours of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) every three years.
Further information for Australian medical and student sonographers can be found on the ASAR website, including the process for upgrading from a student to a qualified sonographer or returning to clinical practice after time away, and the requirements for overseas qualified sonographers.
To work in New Zealand, sonographers must be registered with the Medical Radiation Technologists Board (MRTB) and hold a current Annual Practising Certificate (APC).
The MRTB set the conditions that sonographers must meet when applying for an APC.
Issued for up to 12-months, sonographers must renew their APC with the MRTB annually in February and March, for the following year.
Further information for New Zealand sonographers can be found on the MRTB website, as follows:
- Pre-registration: For New Zealand and overseas trained sonographers seeking initial MRTB registration.
- Already registered: For sonographers already registered with the MRTB including information on Annual Practising Certificates, CPD, adding a scope of practice, and ceasing or returning to practise.
- Changes to CPD Cycle: Important update - from 1 January 2023, CPD will be managed within a two-year period known as a biennium.