Diagnostic Medical Sonography Frequently Asked Questions

What is Diagnostic Medical Sonography?

Diagnostic Medical Sonography (Ultrasound) is one of many imaging modalities used in medicine to diagnose pathology and improve patient care.  Diagnostic ultrasound involves the use of low intensity, high frequency sound waves to provide information about human anatomy and pathology.

What is the role of a Sonographer?

Sonographers are medical detectives. They use their ultrasound training, technical skills, and understanding of the human body and its systems to decide if structures are normal or abnormal and adapt their investigation as they find clues throughout an examination.  This information is then used by physicians to determine the necessary treatment or next steps for the patient.

The quality of an ultrasound exam is very dependent on the skills of the sonographer who completed the scan.  If they are not a great detective who takes in all the evidence and finds all the clues, then it is difficult to solve the case.  As well, no two cases are ever the same, so a sonographer’s day is never dull.

What type of person will make an excellent Sonographer?

An excellent sonographer works well with a variety of people. A sonographer uses people skills to calm worried patients, easing anxiety and making people believe they are in competent hands.  A sonographer can read and interpret doctor instructions.

A sonographer must be able to demonstrate compassion and interpersonal skills, technical skills and eye-hand coordination, be a keen learner and detail-oriented, and possess physical and mental strength.

What is the Sonography Program like at Delgado?

The Sonography Program has high standards that must be met to produce a qualified sonographer to enter into the workforce.  Students must be prepared in anatomy & physiology, mathematics and physical science to complete this intensive and comprehensive CAAHEP accredited program.

How long is the Sonography Program?

The actual length of the Diagnostic Medical Sonography Program is a 16 month (Full-Time) Post-Associate Certificate program which provides students with both didactic and practicum education.

What type of Degree will I receive?

Once all program requirements are completed, the student will earn a Post-Associate Certificate.

Do I need an Associate Degree to apply for the Sonography Program?

No. Currently, you do not need an Associate Degree to apply to the program, although, it is strongly recommended by the Sonography Admission Selection Committee.

Will my program courses transfer to a BS program at another college?

Certain Colleges / Universities will accept transferred sonography courses for their BS program.  Please contact the Allied Health Admissions Office for more information.

What Specialty/Concentration of Sonography is offered at Delgado?

The Diagnostic Medical Sonography Program offers professional training in “Abdominal – Extended” and “OB/GYN” Sonography Concentrations.  The Program provides didactic and practicum instruction in Abdomen, Obstetrics, Gynecology and Physics & Instrumentation.

Is the Sonography Program Accredited?

YES.  The Delgado Community College Diagnostic Medical Sonography (DMS) program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP), 1361 Park Street, Clearwater, FL 33756, Phone: 727-210-2350, Fax: 727- 210-2354. www.caahep.org. CAAHEP accredits programs upon the recommendation of the Joint Review Committee on Education in Diagnostic Medical Sonography (JRC-DMS) , 6021 University Boulevard, Suite 500, Ellicott City, MD 21043; Phone: (443) 973- 3251; Fax: (866) 738-3444; Email and web site: mail@jrcdms.org; www.jrcdms.org/

The Diagnostic Medical Sonography Program had been accredited since 2004.

What does CAAHEP accreditation mean to applicants and students?

DCC Diagnostic Medical Sonography Program CAAHEP accreditation means that the Program submitted a national, peer-review inspection of the processes and outcomes of the Program.  Applicants are assured that the DCC Diagnostic Medical Sonography Program provides a proven format for Sonographer education.  Students are assured that the education they are receiving will prepare them for work as a professional Sonographer and will prepare them for successful completion of the national registry exams conducted by the ARDMS.  Graduates of the DMS Program are eligible to sit for the ARDMS national registry examinations in Obstetrics-Gynecology, Abdomen and Physics & Instrumentation.

How may I obtain additional information about the program or its requirements?

During regular DCC business hours you may call the Allied Health Admission Office and request to speak with an advisor. The phone number is (504) 671-6201. Questions pertaining to Transcripts can be sent to the Allied Health Admissions Advisor at bdavis@dcc.edu.

How do you apply for admission to the Diagnostic Medical Sonography Program?

Delgado Community College is an open admissions college; however, acceptance into the DMS Post-Associate Program is by selection. The Admissions Committee for the DMS Program reviews and evaluates each application on an impartial basis.  Meeting the minimum requirements does not guarantee admission into the program.  Students wishing to apply for admission to the DMS Program must submit a completed DMS application to the Division of Allied Health NO LATER THAN MAY 1. Persons accepted into the DMS Program will be required to meet the technical standards of the Sonography profession which are available for review on the Diagnostic Medical Sonography Webpage on the dcc.edu website.

When should you apply for admission to the DMSU Program?

To be eligible to apply for admission to the DMSU program students must:

1. Fulfill one of the following criteria:

  • Be a graduate of a 2-year accredited allied health occupation program such as registered nurse, radiologic technologist, respiratory therapist, occupational therapist, medical technologist, etc. OR
  • Have at least 60 credit hours of previous coursework which MUST include the following pre-requisite courses:
Course Number Course Title Credits
ENGL 101 English Composition I 3
ENGL 102 English Composition II 3
MATH 120 Contemporary Math 3
MATH 120 or MATH 203 College Algebra or Introductory Figures 3
HESC 111 Medical Terminology 3
PHYS 101 Elementary Physics 3
BIOL 251* Anatomy and Physiology I 3
BIOL 253* Anatomy and Physiology I Lab 1
BIOL 252 Anatomy and Physiology II 3
BIOL 254 Anatomy and Physiology II Lab 1

2. Possess a cumulative grade point average of at least 2.5 including all colleges attended.

* Note: Science courses over 7 years old may require repetition. Check with the Allied Health Admissions Office.

Am I required to complete Observation time in a Sonography Department?

NO.  Observation time is recommended but not required.  Observation time in an ultrasound environment is STRONGLY recommended for enhancement of your application.  Any rotation through ultrasound during any previous education is NOT considered volunteered time.  New applicants are recommended to have no more than a maximum 40 observation hours.  Applicants re-applying are recommended to have no more than 25 additional hours of observation.

How can I make myself more competitive in the applicant pool?

The Program is looking for applicants who are making informed decisions about this career and are able to communicate his/her knowledge of the field.  Maximize your academic performance (Overall and Pre-requisite GPA's), select references carefully and demonstrate motivation and maturity during the interview process regarding your decision to pursue a career in sonography.  While applicants are not required to perform observation time in an Ultrasound department in order to apply, any form of observation will strongly enhance your application.

If I am accepted into the Program, what other requirements are necessary?

Acceptance in the DMS Program is provisional based on the student submitting to and passing a Background Check / Drug Test, agree to the Technical Standards of the Sonography Profession, and submit required immunization records.

Which campus is the Sonography Program located?

The Diagnostic Medical Sonography Program is located on the Delgado City Park Campus in the Ochsner Center for Nursing and Allied Health (Building 14).  All courses, including labs, are held on this campus.

Where are the Clinical Education Centers located?

The DMS Program is affiliated with the majority of hospitals in the Metropolitan New Orleans area.  Students are assigned to multiple clinical education centers during the length of the program to obtain required hands-on clinical experience.  The student is responsible for their own transportation.

When are classes held?

Classes and clinical education for the DMS program are held during daytime hours (8:00 am-4:30 pm).  Students are either in class on campus or at the clinical site five days a week (Monday through Friday).

What are the program costs?

For up-to-date tuition costs, please refer to the Student Handbook on the Delgado website. (www.dcc.edu)

In addition to each semester’s tuition and fees, there are additional expenses.  These expenses include, but not limited to: books background check, drug test, TB test, vaccines & titers, physician’s physical, medical insurance, uniforms, travel to clinical education settings and CPR certification.

Does the Sonography Program offer Online courses?


When do classes begin?

Classes begin only once a year in August.

How many students are accepted each year?

The DMS Program maintains a class of 12-14 students each year.

May I work while enrolled in the Program?

Students may work while enrolled in the Program but are advised to minimize the number of hours due to the intensive educational requirements for completing the curriculum.  All students are required to remain current in assignments by maintaining a minimum average in order to progress through the curriculum.  The clinical component of the program shall be educational in nature.  The student shall not be substituted for personnel during the clinical component of the program.

Is there a waiting list for admission into the Sonography Program?

NO.  There is no waiting list for admission to the Delgado Sonography Program.  The applicant pool is evaluated on an annual basis.  Any applicant who is not offered a position and wishes to be reconsidered the following year must re-apply with updated documents.

Does the Program offer job placement?

There is a nationwide demand for highly skilled sonographers.  Employment options may vary upon graduation.  The Program makes no guarantee of specific job placement upon graduation, but the Faculty does assist students and graduates in preparing for and seeking out job opportunities.

What are career opportunities for Sonography? (Professional organizations included)

Many Diagnostic Medical Sonographers spend their careers working in imaging departments at hospitals, clinics and physician offices.  However, there are options for advancement with the right preparation in terms of education and the ability to show required experience.  The sonographer can become a department head or other administrator, specialize in one or more areas of sonography, become a faculty member in an instructional program, or work in private industry.

Sonographers are also employed in equipment manufacturing, sales and consulting. Some sonographers earn additional specific credentials so they can specialize in a certain area of Diagnostic Medical Sonography. However, it is advisable to earn as many ARDMS credentials as possible if planning to go to work for a private company.

It is beneficial to consider all the career options before deciding on the best path. Sonographers should set goals and lay out a clear plan for reaching those goals.

For more Resources, please visit our national accrediting organization www.ARDMS.org and our national society www.SDMS.org

How do you find out if courses you have taken at other schools will transfer to Delgado?

Contact the Allied Health Admissions Office at 504.671.6201.  An advisor will be happy to evaluate your unofficial transcripts from all College/Universities attended.

What kind of course schedule can I expect and prepare for?

The DMS Post-Associate Certificate program begins only in the Fall semester.  Courses, offered during the daytime only, are taken in a specific order and completed in four consecutive semesters.  There is no opportunity to accelerate through the curriculum in less than four semesters even with previous coursework and experience; nor can a student register for courses to fit their personal schedule as they would for other college degrees.  The Program cannot be completed on a part-time basis.

Due to the level of difficulty, intensity, and the required amount of studies, the Program requires a full-time commitment.  Clinical hours and on-campus class hours consist of 36-40 hours per week.  Clinical hours (Field Experience courses) are during the day at the hospitals.  Nearly all students find that concurrent employment is not feasible.

Are uniforms required for the Program?

YES.  Uniforms are required in the clinical setting and on campus while attending class and scan lab.  Students must abide by the Delgado Sonography Program dress code.

Am I required to provide my own transportation to school and to clinical sites?

YES.  Students are responsible for providing their own transportation to and from school and clinical sites. 

What are the core performance standards for a sonographer?

Diagnostic Medical Sonography is a practice discipline with cognitive, sensory, affective, and psychomotor performance requirements. The “Technical Standards” are located on the Program Webpage at www.dcc.edu.

Does the Delgado Sonography Program have Open House events?

The Diagnostic Medical Sonography Program has scheduled Open House events each semester. Visit the DCC Calendar of Events or the Program Webpage for dates and times at www.dcc.edu.