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Fetal Echocardiography Boards! Taking...Studying... Passing... how does it work?!

Fetal echocardiographer.... That was the title I had wanted to add to my resume for years. In 2018, I finally did! This has become one of my greatest accomplishments in my professional career.


First of all-- lets talk about the great study materials that are out there.

I recommend this conference thru ESP Ultrasound.

Historically, this conference was offered in person in the spring on the East Coast and in the fall on the West Coast.

  • This conference is currently being given as a webinar

For my specific year (2018) I was able to attend the FE conference in August in Las Vegas, NV and then schedule my FE board exam for October. I have seen previously that the Spring FE conference is during the time of the Spring FE testing session. So for those of you wanting to study a longer time you may want to attend the Spring Conference then apply to take the FE exam in the fall testing window. Conversely, you could also attend the Fall Conference and then schedule to take the FE exam in the spring testing window.

Julia Drose is the presenter at this conference. Her syllabus is well composed and easy to follow. You receive a workbook as part of the seminar. This workbook is laid out very simplistically. With great pictures and case examples. The flow of this seminar combined with the workbook makes it easy to follow along, take notes, and ask questions.

Julia Drose has her own Fetal Echocardiography book- I have seen it and it looks like a great resource. *I am an Amazon affiliate and receive a small stipend if you use my link to purchase your materials


Another great book for Fetal Echocardiography is by Dr. Abuhamad. I have not worked in an office that doesn't have this book somewhere! It is well written and the images are fantastic.

Here's the link:


This book is Dr. Abuhamad's latest edition

Here's the link:


This is a great review for the FE test question portion. If you are a shitty test taker... ahem... have test anxiety... ahem... struggle to take tests. This is a great review for you!

Here's the link:


Now that you know what materials you might need.... lets talk about how you actually take the test! All this information is well laid out on the ARDMS website.

You have to be RDMS or RDCS certified before you can take the Fetal Echocardiography exam. That means you would have already passed your SPI AND a corresponding specialty exam (ie: Ob/Gyn or AE (Adult Echocardiography))

This test is only offered twice per year! So plan ahead! The pediatric echocardiography exam is the same. Result are given 60 DAYS after the testing window closes. That means you do not find out if you passed until 60 days after the testing window closes. So if you took the exam on September 1st or September 30th results are not available until 60 days AFTER September 30th.

These are the 2023 application and testing windows.

Also- be careful about negotiating this into your contract. If you negotiate "one year" to become FE registered and you do not pass the first time, you might not even be able to TAKE the test again before your year is up. This exact thing happened to a sonographer I know and it was devastating. So if your employer wants to put passing the FE registry into the qualifications of a job, maybe you can negotiate 3 test cycles, or something similar to this. Everything is negotiable!

If you do not pass the exam then you have to WAIT for the next cycle to re-take the test. You cannot re-take the test in the same cycle.

You can take the exam under the RDMS or the RDCS credential. This cannot be changed after the FE exam is taken. So for those sonographers that are old-timers like me.... I took my RDMS physics exam in 2001 -- before the SPI was a thing. I was grandfathered in and THANK GOD did not have to take the SPI to sit for the FE exam.

The test it contains 150 multiple- choice questions and is 3 hours long. I honestly used EVERY LAST minute of those 3 hours.

Find information on Hotspot questions here:

Find information on Advanced item type questions here:

The ARDMS also offers a mock test for $35. Here's the link:

What is even on the test?! Here is the basic outline provided by ARDMS.

You can find a more detailed content outline here:

This test is SUPPOSED to be difficult! In 2020 there was a 76% pass rate for 1st time test takers. Overall, 73% of test takers that took the test passed. The year I took it (2018) there was a 65% pass rate for 1st time test takers. Overall, 59% of test takers passed. So the exam is constantly changing. They use the hot spot questions to see what questions are working and what aren't. So this test is in constant fluctuation. That is why it is a windowed test.

Also, there is an "A" test and a "B" test in a 1 year time period.

For example:

---->You take the test in the spring exam window you get the "A" test version

---->You pass! AWESOME! (Insert happy dance!)

---->You fail: You apply to take the test again in the fall... you then get the "B" test version

Happy studying fellow Sonographers!! You got this!!

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