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Diagnostic Medical Sonography


Example of Medical Sonography

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Misericordia University offers an 18-month certificate Program in Diagnostic Medical Sonography (DMS), more commonly referred to as ultrasound. The certificate program is designed for adult or non-traditional learners offering convenient and predictable scheduling with alternating weekend classes and a weekday clinical education component. Classes enter in September each year.

Class of 2009
Sonography Graduates

Class of 2009

In March of 2009, 11 students received their certificate of completion in Diagnostic Medical Sonography. Academic Achievement Award recipients were Julee Pershing and Michael Modeski.

Attractive Design of the Program

The first six months of the program, students are required to attend classes on campus. Classes are held in an every other weekend (Saturday and Sunday) format and a minimal number of clinical hours. To prepare the student to enter their clinical education site, simulated lab is available during the week in both daytime and evening hours to accommodate a variety of work schedules. Between weekend classes, Internet communication and group discussion occurs frequently to reinforce lecture and discuss sonographic topics. During January and February, the students are placed in their clinical site for 1 day and 2 days per week, respectively, then in March, students begin their 32 hours of clinical per week and classes every other weekend, not to exceed 40 hours per week for 1 year. Preferable schedule is Monday through Thursday attendance, but accommodations for a Monday-Friday 6.5 hours per day can be considered if you are employed for an evening shift.

What is Sonography?

Diagnostic Medical Sonography is a diagnostic imaging modality that uses high frequency sound waves to evaluate anatomical structures found within the body. Sonographic examinations include abdominal, obstetrical, gynecological, neonatal, vascular and cardiac. Sonographers perform their work in various medical settings including hospitals, outpatient imaging centers and physician offices. As a sonographer, you will experience an exciting and challenging profession that is greatly respected by the physicians that interpret the examinations. It is a profession of continual learning with the rapid advances in technology.

Goals of the Program

The primary goals of the program are to prepare the student to become a well-rounded, fully competent sonographer in the areas of abdominal and OB/GYN sonography and become nationally certified in these areas. This is accomplished through a specially designed curriculum of high quality didactic courses, simulated lab and clinical experience in a clinical education site. These components are required to be taken in a specific sequence to correlate the lecture material with hands-on scanning.

National examinations are given by the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonography. Upon completion of the program, the students will be eligible to sit for the Ultrasound Physics examination, Abdominal specialty and Obstetrics and Gynecology specialty examinations. To earn the credential of Registered Diagnostic Medical Sonographer (RDMS) the ultrasound physics examination and at least one of the specialty exams must be successfully completed.

Admission Criteria

To be considered for entrance into the sonography program, applicants must meet one of the following three pathways:

  1. Graduate of an accredited allied health program (minimum of two years) and completion of pre-requisites listed in Pathway #3 with a minimum grade of C.


  2. Graduate of a Bachelor degree program, and completion of prerequisites listed in Pathway #3 with a minimum grade of C.


  3. Completion of prerequisites at the College or post secondary level with a ‘C’ or higher to include the following:
Human Anatomy and Physiology I & II Ethics
Physics Math or Algebra
English (Oral or written communication) Patient Care
Medical Terminology

Note: Sonography Patient Care and Medical Terminology can be taken as corequisites in the first session of the program.

In addition, for those wishing to pursue a degree, the College offers a dual profession with a Bachelor of Science in Medical Imaging and a Certificate in Diagnostic Medical Sonography which can be completed in a little less than 5 academic years.


What if I do not have some or all of the prerequisites?


Misericordia University offers the pre-requisites in various formats to accommodate the variety of an individual’s schedule. Courses can be taken in the traditional day-time format, evening, weekend, on-line or off campus through our Expressway offerings or a combination of times. Expressway offerings are at a discounted tuition rate. Prerequisites can be completed in 1 year attending on a part-time basis. A sample of the schedule could be:


Fall Semester Spring Semester Summer
Anatomy & Physiology I
BIO 121 or BIO 211
Anatomy & Physiology II
BIO 122 or BIO 212
General Physics
PHY 107
MTH 120 or 115
PHL 102 or 223
ENG 103 or BUS 107

Medical Terminology ( MI 106) is offered on-line in the fall semester and Sonography Patient Care ( DMS) is offered in a weekend format just prior to the start of the program each August. These courses can be taken as a prerequisite or corequisite.

Call the Center for Adult Education for more information on prerequisite courses and a schedule that will accommodate you.

Clinical Education Sites

The program has affiliation agreements with numerous clinical sites, both hospitals and outpatient imaging centers, for students to gain the skills required to master the art of scanning and creating quality images. Every attempt is made to place students within a 30-45 minute drive from their geographical area, however there may be times that it may be difficult and students are given notification during the interview and acceptance process.

Clinical Education Requirements

All students must submit the following documentation prior to beginning the clinical education component:

Criminal Background Check

Health Physical to include documentation of updated immunizations, Tuberculin test and Hepatitis B vaccination (form provided)

CPR certification for health care providers through the American Heart Association

Proof of Medical Insurance Coverage

HIPAA education

Individual clinical sites may require additional documentation, such as child abuse background check or drug screening. Clinical education requirements are at the expense of the student.

Technical Standards

The practice of Diagnostic Medical Sonography requires a variety of physical, mental and emotional tasks. To ensure the safety of the patient and the success of the student, the applicant must be able to perform the following:

Push and pull routinely
Lift more than 50 pounds routinely
Work with arms extended 90 degrees to the axis of the body
Have full use of wrists and hands
Work standing on feet 60% of time
Performs procedures on patients with health problems
Assist patients on and off examination tables, to and from wheelchairs and stretchers
Move sonographic equipment for bedside examinations
Possess sufficient verbal and written skills to effectively communicate in English with patients and staff
Ability to see and hear the patient to monitor patient comfort, vital signs and ensure safety
Ability to differentiate shades of gray, black and white
Ability to distinguish between colors of red, blue and green to assess sonographic images for directionality of blood flow
Organize and accurately perform the individual steps of a sonographic examination in proper sequence
Emotional stability and maturity

A statement attesting to the ability to perform technical standards must be completed .

Application Process


For consideration, students must complete an application for admission and two letters of reference. Forms are provided in the application packet. An official transcript of all high school, college and/or accredited Allied Health Program is to be sent to the Adult Education office.

Applicants are encouraged to submit their application in the fall of the year before their desire to enter. For example, for applicants interested in entering in September 2009 recommend to submit applications in the fall of 2008. Each January, interested applicants are invited to attend an open information session and will have an interview. Applicants not attending the open information session will be required to make an appointment with the Program Director for an interview. First round of accepted applicants occurs in January or February for the class entering in that September. Applications will continue to be accepted until the class is filled.

Misericordia University does not discriminate on the basis of race, age, color, disability, religion, gender, nationality, marital status, sexual orientation or ethnic origin in the administration of its educational policies, admission policies, scholarship and loan programs, athletic, or other College administered programs.


Program Faculty and Staff

The Program Director , Sheryl E. Goss, MS, RT, RDMS, RDCS, RVT has more than twenty-five years of experience in the profession. She has performed a variety of sonographic studies to include general sonography, vascular and both adult and pediatric echocardiography as well as supervised a busy department for several years of her career. She remains actively involved in both local and national professional groups and professional accreditation organizations.

Clinical Coordinator, Karen Klimas, BS, RT, RDMS has 15 years experience in the profession. She has worked in both the hospital and outpatient settings with most recent concentration in the OB/GYN specialty. She is a member of both local and national professional societies.

Program Accreditation

Left to right are diagnostic medical sonography program participants Paul Schramm; Shaila Chowdhury; and Jamie Ross; Karen Klimas, clinical coordinator; Sheryl Goss, program director; and Dr. Elaine Halesey, professor and Medical Imaging department chairperson.

The program is accredited by The Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) which is the primary accrediting body symbolizing quality of both the academic and clinical education. The accreditation process is a peer review process through the Joint Review Committee on Education in Diagnostic Medical Sonography (JRCDMS).

Primary accreditation of a program is accomplished with a two-step process. The first step is responding to the requirements of the accrediting body through submission of a written document detailing the historical development of the program; program content; evaluation mechanisms used to achieve the established goals of the program; and assessing the outcomes of the program.

The second step is to bring a team of two sonographic professionals to interview key program personnel at clinical education sites to verify the initial documentation that was submitted. Participating in the accreditation process is voluntary to identify areas of strength and to make improvements in a program based on this peer review process.

Being an accredited program demonstrates the program meets or exceeds the standards of education and provides the pathway for graduates to be eligible to apply for national certification exams.

Graduation and Certification

Upon successful completion of the program, the student will receive a certificate of completion and will be eligible and required to sit for national examinations through the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS) with specialties in abdominal and OB/GYN. Visit the ARDMS Web site for further information.

For additional information on the program or an application,
please contact Larree Brown, in Adult Education at

For specific questions related to eligibility, contact Sheryl Goss at:
or Email


The program was initiated through an Allied Health Projects Grant by the Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration, Bureau of Health Professions. Through this funding, the program designed a simulated lab for students to utilize throughout the program to assist in developing and mastering their hands-on scanning skills.

The program is also funded through a sonography scholarship fund established by the family of the late Dr. Thomas E. Baker, cardiologist.


Where can I find information on the profession of sonography?


There are several websites that can be helpful. Recommendations are the Society of Diagnostic Medical Sonography at or the American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine at