Diagnostic Medical Sonography

Ms. April Sutherland, Program Director

256.352.8318

april.sutherland@wallacestate.edu

Associate in Applied Science Degree (6 semesters)

At a Glance

Sonography (ultrasound) is a dynamic profession that has grown significantly over the past several years. Sonography is a diagnostic medical procedure that uses high frequency sound waves (ultrasound) to produce images of organs, tissues, or blood flow inside the body. This type of procedure is often referred to as a sonogram or ultrasound scan. 

Sonography can be used to examine many parts of the body, such as the abdomen, breasts, female reproductive system, prostate, heart, and blood vessels. It is also used to guide fine-needle tissue biopsy to assist in taking a sample of cells from an organ for lab testing (for example, a test for breast cancer). Unlike x-ray, there is no ionizing radiation used to perform a sonogram.

With rapidly developing technologies and increased use of diagnostic sonographic procedures, growth in this profession is projected to continue in the future with employment opportunities for qualified sonographers in a variety of settings nationwide. Sonographers can choose to work in clinics, hospitals, private practice physician offices, public health facilities, laboratories, and other medical settings performing examinations in their areas of specialization. 

Program Description

Purpose and Goal of General Option: To prepare competent entry-level general sonographers in the cognitive (knowledge), psychomotor (skills), and affective (behavior) learning domains.

Purpose and Goal of Cardiovascular Option: To prepare competent entry-level cardiac and vascular sonographers in the cognitive (knowledge), psychomotor (skills), and affective (behavior) learning domains.

The Associate in Applied Science degree awarded at program completion is a six-semester, competency-based curriculum that includes practical experience in regional health institutions. The sonography program at Wallace State Community College is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (www.caahep.org) upon the recommendation of the Joint Review Committee on Education in Diagnostic Medical Sonography. By attending a program accredited by CAAHEP, you will be able to apply to take the national certification examinations offered by the ARDMS/ARRT upon graduation from the program.  By successfully completing the certification exams, you will be awarded the credential RDMS, RT(S), RDCS, RVT, RCS, and/or RVS.

Admission Requirements

  1. Unconditional admission to the college – College application must be submitted by the program application deadline of June 1.
  2. Student must be in good standing with the college.
  3. Receipt of complete program applications accepted between March 1 and June 1 for fall entry. Applications received after the deadline will be considered on a space available basis. 
  4. The online application is located at www.wallacestate.edu. Online application instructions are under the Application to Program tab. Upon completion of the online application, all applicants are required to submit a Verification Sheet with all necessary documentation attached. The Verification Sheet, along with full instructions, can be found on Page 3 of the Online Application Instructions. 
  5. Official transcripts from each college attended must be provided to the Admissions Office and all unofficial transcripts must be attached to the program application Verification Sheet and submitted by the deadline of June 1.
  6. Student must meet the essential functions and technical standards required for the program as documented on the required WSCC physical form at www.wallacestate.edu-see Physical Form Essential Functions. 
  7. A minimum of 19 ACT composite score (National or Residual) is required for admission consideration. Proof of score must be submitted with the application Verification Sheet.
  8. Documented evidence of a minimum of four (4) hours of observation in an ultrasound department with a registered sonographer.
  9. Proof of active/current AHA Approved CPR certification for Healthcare Providers (or BLS) must also be provided with the application (cognitive hands-on – Online CPR courses not accepted).
  10. Attain a minimum GPA of 2.5 or greater on a 4.0 scale with a grade of “C” or better on all general required pre-sonography courses. GPA calculated for program selection will be on the general required pre-sonography courses only. Math/Sciences courses (MTH 100, BIO 201, physics) must have been completed within seven years of the date of expected entry into the DMS program.
  11. Candidates must be able to meet all Technical Standards required of the program. Those Standards are as follows:
    1. Lift more than 50 pounds routinely 
    2. Push and pull routinely 
    3. Bend and stoop routinely 
    4. Have full use of both hands, wrists, and shoulders 
    5. Distinguish audible sounds 
    6. Adequately view sonograms, including color distinctions 
    7. Work standing on their feet 80% of the time 
    8. Interact compassionately and effectively with the sick or injured 
    9. Assist patients on and off examining tables
    10. Communicate effectively with patients and other health care professionals 
    11. Organize and accurately perform the individual steps in a task in the proper sequence 

Selection and Notification

  1. The DMS Program admits a beginning class annually fall semester. 
  2. ALL courses must be complete prior to application deadline of June 1. The only exception is the physics course. It can be completed in the summer prior to admission to the program. Those that have it completed by the application deadline will receive 0.5 points added to their ranking score.  
  3. Applicants that are registered sonographers and applying for reentry, will receive 2 points added to their ranking score.
  4. Candidates are ranked for admission on the basis of ACT scores, weighted GPA of pre-sonography courses (GPA x 9) and completion of admission requirements. In the case of a tie of ranking score, in order to fill our 50 slots (30 general, 20 cardiovascular), the following tie breaker will be used in this order to determine acceptance into the program: Completion of classes, GPA, ACT Composite, ACT Math, ACT Science Reasoning.
  5. Program applications will be reviewed for completion of program admission requirements. Written notification of program acceptance status will be sent to each applicant via information supplied on the program application. 
  6. Following acceptance into the program, students must respond confirming their intent to enroll by using the internet link provided on their letter, by the deadline indicated on the letter. A student who fails to respond will forfeit his/her place in the class.

Program Expectations

Students admitted into the Diagnostic Medical Sonography are expected to comply with the Health Science Program Regulations and Expectations as published in the Programs of Study section of the Wallace State College Catalog.

Required Competencies

Clinical competencies (patient care and interaction, performance of cardiovascular, abdominal, superficial structures, obstetrical and gynecologic sonograms).

Upon Admission

  1. Sonography students are required to submit a completed program physical examination form, including proof of having completed 2 of 3 Hepatitis B vaccinations and proof of immunization or vaccinations for the diseases listed on the form by the deadline noted on their program acceptance letter.
  2. Sonography students must maintain current CPR certification. The appropriate certification is for “Healthcare Providers” (or BLS).
  3. Accident and liability insurance, available through the College, is required. This will be covered through your fees.
  4. Sonography students are required to undergo Background Screening and Drug Testing according to WSCC Health Science Division policy.
  5. Medical insurance is required of all students in the program in order to attend clinicals. This is NOT provided through the school.

Progression

Students selected for admission into the program must maintain a grade of 75% or higher on major required courses. Failure to do so will result in program dismissal.

Readmission

Students who withdraw or are dismissed from the program must apply for re-admission. No preferential consideration is given to prior students for re-admission. Students will be readmitted ONE time only.

Career Path

Before or upon completion of the program, sonography students should take registries and become registered sonographers. Many sonographers opt to advance their career horizons by seeking expertise in other sonographic specialties. There are several areas of specialization in the field of sonography. For additional information concerning a career in sonography go to www.sdms.org.

Additional career advancement opportunities exist in education, administration, research, and in commercial companies as education/application specialists, sales representatives, technical advisors, etc. National median annual earnings of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers were $73,133 according to the SDMS Sonographer Salary & Benefits Survey (2018). Program courses have been accepted for transfer to Athens State and the University of Alabama at Birmingham for the Bachelor Degree in Health Science. Please consult STARS transfer guide for the latest information.

**If the student has a radiographic physics, PHY 112, or other physics course that has been taken within 7 years of admission, this may cover the physics requirement for entry into the program pending program director approval. The radiography physics (RAD 125) is available only in the spring semester for presonography students.  

 

Degrees and Certificates

Classes

DMS 202 : Foundations of Sonography

This course provides the student with concepts of the history and development of sonography in medical imaging, patient care, medical ethics and law, cultural diversity, and medical terminology used in the practice of sonography. Emphasis in theory and lab is placed on patient assessment and considerations of physical and psychological conditions in both routine and emergency situations. Upon completion, students will demonstrate an understanding of concepts, as well as demonstrate/explain patient care procedures appropriate to setting and situation while utilizing medical terminology. This is a CORE course.

Credits

3

Prerequisites

As required by program

DMS 204 : Sonographic Anatomy

This course is a study in gross and sectional anatomy and physiology of the human body and the correlation of that anatomy to sonographic, computed tomography and magnetic resonance images. Upon completion students will be able to identify normal sectional anatomy.

Credits

2

Prerequisites

As required by program

DMS 205 : Abdominal Sonography

This course will provide instruction in a classroom and laboratory setting in order to perform sonographic studies of the abdomen. Classroom components will focus on concepts of normal and relational anatomy, physiology, Doppler principles, sonographic technique and appearance. At course completion the student will be expected to perform a complete abdominal sonogram. This is a CORE course for our General Track.

Credits

4

Prerequisites

As required by program

DMS 206 : Gynecologic Sonography

This course will familiarize the student with the transabdominal and transvaginal protocols of gynecologic scanning and common pathologies of the female reproductive system as seen on ultrasound. Lab values and patient history will be stressed as well as correlation with images from other modalities. The student will be able to perform a transabdominal pelvic sonogram at course completion. This is a CORE course for our General Track.

Credits

4

Prerequisites

As required by program

DMS 207 : Abdominal Pathology

This course will provide the student with a working knowledge of the sonographic appearance and pathophysiology of common diseases abnormalities of the abdomen. Associated history, symptoms, lab values, treatments and appearance on other imaging modalities will be demonstrated. The student will be required to conduct research for presentation. At course completion, students will be able to identify many major pathologies of the abdomen on sonograms. This is a CORE course for our General Track.

Credits

3

Prerequisites

As required by program

DMS 216 : Sonographic Principles & Instrumentation I

This course will provide the student with knowledge of the principles of sound and imaging instrumentation as applied to sonography. The physical nature of sound waves and how those waves interact with mediums and how they can be successfully utilized in diagnostic imaging will be studied. Upon completion the student will be able to produce sonographic images. This is a CORE course.

Credits

3

Prerequisites

As required by program

DMS 217 : Sonographic Principles & Instrumentation II

This lab allows students to perform quality assurance tests and surveys. Students will also investigate statistical applications utilized in medical research. Upon completion the student will be able to develop a quality assurance program. This is a CORE course.

Credits

2

Prerequisites

As required by program

DMS 220 : Obstetrical Sonography I

This course will provide instruction regarding the development and sonographic appearance of the fetal and extra-fetal anatomy throughout the gestation period. Assessment, lab values, and performance for determining gestational age and fetal viability will be studied. At completion, the student will be required to differentiate between normal and abnormal obstetrical studies. This is a CORE course for our General Track.

Credits

3

Prerequisites

As required by program

DMS 221 : Obstetrical Sonography II

This course will provide instruction regarding the sonographic appearance of fetal and extra-fetal anatomy and correlate findings of fetal anomalies and genetic links. Assessment, lab values, and performance for determining gestational age and fetal viability will be studied. At completion, the student will be required to differentiate between normal and abnormal obstetrical studies. This is a CORE course for our General Track.

Credits

3

Prerequisites

As required by program

DMS 225 : Superficial Sonography

This course will review the anatomy and familiarize students with scanning protocols for the thyroid, parathyroid, breast, scrotum, male pelvis and other superficial structures. Common pathologies will be discussed and correlated with other imaging modalities. Upon completion, students will identify protocols appropriate to specific techniques and will perform superficial sonograms. This is a CORE course for our General Track.

Credits

1

Prerequisites

As required by program

DMS 229 : Sonography Preceptorship I

This course provides the sonography student with the opportunity to practice patient care skills and use beginning sonographic skills in a clinical environment. At course completion, the student should be able to provide basic patient care needs for the individual scheduled for a sonogram and create sonographic images pertinent to the current level of didactic training in general and/or cardiovascular sonography specialties. Competencies will be required. This is a CORE course.

Credits

2

Prerequisites

As required by program

DMS 230 : Sonography Preceptorship II

This course provides the student with the opportunity to develop additional sonographic skills in the clinical setting. The student will assist with and perform sonographic exams pertinent to the level of didactic training in general and/or cardiovascular sonography specialties. Competencies will be required. Competencies will be required. This is a CORE course.

Credits

3

Prerequisites

As required by program

DMS 231 : Sonography Preceptorship III

This course provides a continuum in the development of sonographic skills in all general sonographic specialties while in the clinical setting. Students should be able to perform more exams with less assistance from the supervising sonographer. Competencies will be required. This is a CORE course.

Credits

4

Prerequisites

As required by program

DMS 232 : Sonography Preceptorship IV

This course will provide an in-depth practice of all sonographic skills in the clinical setting. Upon completion the student will perform general and/or specialty sonograms with little to no assistance from the supervising sonographer. This is a CORE course.

Credits

5

Prerequisites

As required by program

DMS 233 : Sonography Lab I

This course is designed to allow students the opportunity to improve their application of knowledge gained in other courses. Content will vary depending on student needs as determined by the instructor. Content may include General or Cardiovascular sonographic concepts.

Credits

1

Prerequisites

As required by program

DMS 234 : Sonography Lab II

This course is designed to allow students the opportunity to improve their application of knowledge gained in other courses. Content will vary depending on student needs as determined by the instructor. Content may include General or Cardiovascular sonographic concepts.

Credits

1

Prerequisites

As required by program

DMS 235 : Sonography Lab III

This course is designed to allow students the opportunity to improve their application of knowledge gained in other courses. Content will vary depending on student needs as determined by the instructor. Content may include General or Cardiovascular sonographic concepts.

Credits

1

Prerequisites

As required by program

DMS 240 : Sonography Seminar I

This course provides a review for SONOGRAPHY PRINCIPLES AND INSTRUMENTATION Exam. Topics include sonographic principles and instrumentation. Mock registries must be passed with a grade of 75% or better to complete this course. This is a CORE course unless student has demonstrated successful passage of ARDMS SPI registry exam and presented required documentation to program director prior to the first day of class.

Credits

2

Prerequisites

As required by program

DMS 241 : Sonography Seminar II

This course provides a review for the National Registry Exam. Topics include cardiovascular, abdominal, superficial, gynecological, and obstetrical sonography (track determines topics). Mock registries must be passed with a grade of 75% or better to complete this course. This is a CORE course.

Credits

3

Prerequisites

As required by program

DMS 245 : Sonography Case Presentation

This course allows students to share interesting sonographic cases obtained during clinical rotations. Students are required to present cases with sonographic images, reports, patient history and symptoms and correlating reports from other exams/tests performed. The cases become the property of the program for use as future reference material. By the end of the term, students will have developed proficiency and expertise in case presentation.

Credits

1

Prerequisites

As required by program

DMS 250 : Introduction to Advanced Sonography

This course will introduce students to any of the following: pediatric, vascular, cardiac, neurology, interventional, and orthopedic sonography. Advanced technologies in these fields will be researched. At completion, students will identify and describe skills and modalities in sonography.

Credits

3

Prerequisites

As required by program

DMS 261 : Vascular Sonography Techniques

This course will familiarize the student with sonographic anatomy of the peripheral vascular structures of the human body. The student will learn techniques to perform spectral, color and angiographic Doppler of these vessels. Images will be correlated with other imaging modalities (i.e. computed technology, magnetic resonance, and angiography). The student will scan volunteers in order to develop skills in vascular analysis. At course completion student will be able to perform vascular sonograms. This is a CORE course for our Cardiovascular Track.

Credits

3

Prerequisites

As required by program

DMS 263 : Pathology of Vascular Systems

This course will educate the student in common pathologies of the vascular system. Patient symptoms and history will be correlated with abnormalities seen. At completion students will be able to identify common abnormalities of the vascular system on sonograms. This is a CORE course for our Cardiovascular Track.

Credits

3

Prerequisites

As required by program

DMS 271 : Echocardiographic Technology

This course will familiarize the student with sonographic anatomy of the cardiovascular system of the human body. Techniques and protocols for performing a diagnostic study of the cardiovascular system will be presented. The lab will enable the student to practice echocardiographic scanning skills on volunteers in the campus lab. At completion, student will be able to perform basic echocardiograms. This is a CORE course for our Cardiovascular Track.

Credits

3

Prerequisites

As required by program

DMS 273 : Pathology of the Cardiovascular System

This course will educate the student in common pathologies and anomalies of the cardiovascular system. Patient history, lab values and symptomology will be correlated with abnormalities seen. At course completion the student will be able to identify common cardiac abnormalities on echocardiograms. This is a CORE course for our Cardiovascular Track.

Credits

3

Prerequisites

As required by program

DMS 275 : Advanced Echocardiographic Modalities

This course offers a detailed study of the anatomy, physiology, and structural relationships of the human heart and vascular system. Focus is on cardiac and vascular anatomy, hemodynamics and electrophysiology, innervations of the heart, and embryology, as well as cardiac and vascular pathophysiology. This is a CORE course for our Cardiovascular Track.

Credits

3

Prerequisites

As required by program