The Fetal Echocardiography (FE) Specialty Examination for RDMS

The American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS) administers the Fetal Echocardiography (FE) specialty examination to certify the continuing competency of ultrasound professionals.

The FE exam consists of 150 multiple-choice questions covering the anatomy, physiology, and sonographic techniques of the fetal heart. Examinees are given three hours to complete the test. Exam takers must successfully pass both the FE exam and the Sonography Principles & Instrumentation (SPI) exam to earn their RDMS credential.

The Fetal Echocardiography specialty exam is graded on a percentage scale, with some topics given a greater percentage in the overall score than others. Topics are based on knowledge of fetal heart development, normal and abnormal anatomy, and standard evaluation views and techniques. The test topics, with percentage importance, are:

  • structural heart anomalies (35-55%)
  • standard sonographic views (10-20%)
  • normal fetal heart anatomy (8-12%)
  • incidence of congenital heart disease (5-10%)
  • dysrhythmias (5-10%)
  • normal fetal heart physiology (4-8%)
  • embryology (1%)
  • indications (1%)
  • acquired pathology (1%)
  • timing of the fetal echocardiographic exam (1%)

There is also a "miscellaneous" category worth 1-5% of the overall score, which includes hydrops fetalis, extracardiac anomalies, and syndromes.

Applying to take the FE exam is a multistep process that includes registering with the ARDMS, paying any exam or renewal fees, and submitting appropriate documentation. Candidates must also pass the Sonography Principles & Instrumentation (SPI) exam within five years of passing the specialty exam to earn the RDMS credential. The two exams can be taken in any order.

To qualify to take the FE and SPI exams, candidates must submit proof of education; verification of clinical experience; transcripts and licenses; and letters from a supervising physician, technologist, or program director. The ARDMS provides extensive, step-by-step guidelines for the application process, including checklists to ensure that the application is complete.

Fetal Echocardiography specialty exam candidates can take advantage of many online test preparation resources, including practice exams, sample questions, content outlines, and study guides. Several print-based publishers also offer study manuals with strategies for test taking.

After completing the Fetal Echocardiography specialty exam at a local test center, examinees will have immediate online access to their test results in the form of a numerical point value between 300 and 700; a result of 555 or higher is a passing grade. Candidates who do not pass the exam must wait a minimum of 72 hours to reapply and 60 days to take the exam again.

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*Disclaimer: The American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography, Inc. (ARDMS) does not endorse this product nor is the ARDMS affiliated in any way with the owner or any content related to this website.

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Last Updated: 02/23/2017


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