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Diagnostic Medical Sonography

Sonography or ultrasonography is the use of sound waves to generate an image for the assessment and diagnosis of various medical conditions. The sonographer plays an important role on the medical team as technical assistant to the sonologist (or radiologist), a physician who has specialized in the use of sound waves for diagnosis and treatment. Sonographers may work under direct or indirect supervision of these physicians. A certified sonographer is qualified to work in hospitals, doctors' offices, public health projects, industrial medical clinics, veterans' and military hospitals.

Program Details

The Diagnostic Medical Sonography Program is designed to prepare competent entry-level general, vascular, or cardiac (echocardiographic) sonographers by providing didactic and laboratory instruction as well as clinical site experiences through rotations at participating hospitals and medical affiliates.This curriculum is designed to prepare students for a career as a health science professional who produces diagnostic images of the human body using special equipment to direct high frequency sound waves into different anatomic structures in a patient's body. The sonographer is a central member of the healthcare team and assists the radiologist in gathering diagnostic data for interpretation. NOVA's program emphasizes didactic and 'hands-on' practice of sonographic techniques in a well-equipped scanning laboratory at the Medical Education Campus in Springfield, Virginia. Clinical experience is acquired at numerous area hospitals and private medical affiliates.

Students in the Diagnostic Medical Sonography degree program are prepared as competent entry-level General (Abdomen/Small Parts/OB/Gyn), Vascular or Echocardiographers (Adult Echo) in the cognitive (knowledge), psychomotor (skills), and affective (behavior) learning domains. Students select their specific DMS domain (General, Vascular, Echocardiography) and upon successful completion of the degree requirements, the program graduates are eligible for professional certification by the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS) in the following areas: General (RDMS), cardiac (RDCS), and vascular (RVT).

Program Accreditation

The Diagnostic Medical Sonography General Program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) upon the recommendation of the Joint Review Committee on Education in Diagnostic Medical Sonography (JRC-DMS). Additional information on the DMS program accreditation status and the standards and guidelines may be obtained online at www.caahep.org or by submitting a request to: CAAHEP, 9355 113th St. N, #7709, Seminole, FL 33775. Requests for information can be sent to: JRC-DMS, 6021 University Boulevard, Suite 500, Ellicott City, MD 21043.

The Vascular and Echocardiography specializations are not accredited yet. The DMS program has submitted a self-study report to CAAHEP and is awaiting an evaluation site visit to request accreditation for the Vascular and Echo specializations.

It is highly advised that prospective DMS students take the full 15-week semesters of BIO 141 and BIO 142 for their prerequisite courses. Students who have taken the 8- or 10-week sessions have demonstrated a high degree of difficulty with DMS 207 and DMS 217. Diagnostic Medical Sonography requires a superior level of working knowledge in the field of cross-sectional anatomy. The preparation for the sectional anatomy classes, DMS 207 and DMS 217, directly impacts student success in the DMS program. The DMS program requires that students must have a 79.5% or higher in all DMS classes to progress to the next semester.

Fall 2022 Applications for Diagnostic Medical Sonography: TEAS testing will be required for the Fall 2022 application cycle. The Medical Education Campus Testing Center will reopen on August 2, 2021. Sign-ups for TEAS testing will resume when the MEC Testing Center reopens. Refer to the Take TEAS Test step for more information on TEAS.

Information Session

Please note that the information presented in the DMS video is only valid for the 2022 application.

DMS Prospective Student Workshops

  • All interested students are welcome.
  • Must attend at least 1 workshop within 12 months of application date
  • To register, email NOVASONO@nvcc.edu with your name, email, student ID (if you have one), and the date of the Workshop you want to attend.

Available Workshops:

  • Wednesday, June 9, 2021
    5:00 to 7:00 p.m., Online Zoom
  • Tuesday, September 21, 2021
    5:00 to 7:00 p.m., Online Zoom
  • Tuesday, November 16, 2021
    5:00 to 7:00 p.m., Online Zoom

How to Be Eligible to Apply in 2022

  • Attend mandatory DMS Prospective Student Workshop
  • Have minimum 2.5 cumulative GPA
  • Complete or transfer SDV 101 Orientation to Healthcare or SDV 100; must have B or better grade
  • Complete or transfer ENG 111 or higher; must have B or better grade
  • Complete or transfer BIO 141; must have B or better grade and be within 5 years
  • Complete or transfer BIO 142; must have B or better grade and be within 5 years
  • Complete or transfer PHY 101 or higher; must have B or better grade and be within 5 years
  • Complete or transfer MTH 154 or higher; must have B or better grade
  • Complete English, Reading, Math & Science sections of TEAS; minimum score of 50
  • Echo and Vascular programs only: a previous bachelor's degree in any field
  • Sonography Brochure
  • Sonography Cost Sheet

Competitive Admission Criteria:

  • Final grades in BIO 141, BIO 142, MTH 154, and PHY 101
  • Highest scores of all attempts on TEAS
  • Meeting the minimum application requirements does not guarantee acceptance

Applications with B- or C grades in the prerequisites, and applications with pending grades or pending transfer credit after the deadline will not be considered.

Transfer Opportunites

Transfer is not the primary purpose of an A.A.S. program, but NOVA has articulation agreements that facilitate the transfer of this and other career-oriented programs to selected senior institutions. Students interested in transfer should contact a counselor or their academic advisor early in their program.

Credit for Prior Learning

Northern Virginia Community College accepts industry-standard certifications, credentials and/or professional courses for credit. Broadly, licenses, credentials and/or certifications must be current and valid for consideration. For more information regarding the status of the certification and its eligibility for credit, please see an advisor or faculty members in the discipline area that awards CPL credit.

The most current information can be found here for CPL: Certifications and Credentials.

Career Prospects

A career in Diagnostic Medical Sonography offers the individual a rewarding professional career as well as a competitive salary.

Please refer to these sources for additional information:

Get Started

Want to get started with this program? Speak with an adviser to start shaping your educational journey at NOVA.

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