The Diagnostic Medical Sonography (DMS) Program fosters and supports creative and positive learning experiences within an atmosphere of academic excellence and continuous improvement. The goal of the program is to prepare competent entry-level general sonographers in the cognitive (knowledge), psychomotor (skills), and affective (behavior) learning domains.
Diagnostic Medical Sonography is the specific imaging modality that uses special equipment to direct high-frequency sound waves into the patient's body. A sonographer is a highly skilled professional who operates equipment that collects reflected echoes and forms an image that may be recorded, transmitted, or photographed for interpretation and diagnosis by a physician. There are several areas of specialization in the field of sonography: Abdomen, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Echocardiography, Vascular Technology, Neurosonology, and Ophthalmology.
The DMS Program provides an organized curriculum that includes General Education courses in addition to the required core courses. The program emphasizes the responsibilities of the sonographer in promoting high clinical standards within the field. These responsibilities include independent decision making and critical-thinking skills that are vital in assisting physicians in their diagnoses.
The Sonography Program is offered at the Polk State College Airside West Center in Lakeland. Classes are scheduled Monday through Friday. The class schedule varies between semesters, with some classes offered in the evening.
The Sonography Program is nationally accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP), 9255 113th Street, N. #7709, Seminole, FL 33775; telephone: 727.210.2350; website: www.caahep.org.
The minimum requirements for admission to the Diagnostic Medical Sonography Program are:
- The prospective student must gain acceptance to Polk State College as a credit-seeking student with all required admission documents received by the Registrar's Office.
- The student must complete any required Developmental Education courses.
- The student must have an overall GPA of 2.0 or higher at the time of admission to the program.
- The student must complete all the following prerequisite courses (i.e., prior to program admission) with a grade of C or better:
Note: Program prerequisites and admission requirements can change. A student who is not yet admitted to the program may be required to take additional or alternate prerequisites prior to admission.
Additional Program Requirements
The Program Director provides information regarding the completion of additional admission requirements with the letter of acceptance. The following requirements are to be completed after acceptance into the program:
- Submission of a physical examination and essential functions examination.
- Completion of immunizations and communicable disease screenings.
- Completion of a drug screening.
- Certification in CPR (current).
- Submission of a signed Affidavit of Moral Character attesting that the individual has not committed specific criminal acts.
- Completion of a Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) background check.
A student seeking admission may receive a Diagnostic Medical Sonography Program Application from Student Services at any College campus or center, or obtain the application online (www.polk.edu/dms). The application must be submitted by August 31, for the January start date. Failure to submit the required documentation by the deadline prevents the student from starting with the upcoming class.
A selection committee meets during September for evaluation of applications using the following criteria: college grade point average; number of credits completed that apply to the General Education requirements for the AS in Diagnostic Medical Sonography degree; prior healthcare experience related to the field of study; and established residency within Polk, Highlands, or Hardee County. Letters of acceptance are emailed before the end of October.
Note: The College reserves the right to make changes to the admission criteria as circumstances require. Every reasonable effort is made to communicate these changes to potential students.
The cost of the program is approximately $11,000. This cost estimate includes course fees, books, uniforms, and national registry fees.
Potential salary and wage information can be found through the Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook (www.bls.gov/ooh) or via www.salary.com. Salaries vary depending on geographical location, type of facility, and years of experience.
Following the completion of all requirements for graduation from the Diagnostic Medical Sonography Program, the graduate is eligible to sit for the national registry exam administered by the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers (ARDMS). After successful completion of this exam, the graduate earns the Registered Diagnostic Medical Sonographer (RDMS) credential.
Program Learning Outcomes (PLOs):
After successful completion of the program, the graduate is able to:
PLO 1: Demonstrate the professional judgement, ethical standards, and critical-thinking skills expected of an entry-level sonographer.
PLO 2: Demonstrate the ability to effectively utilize oral and written communication.
PLO 3: Apply basic patient-care skills.
PLO 4: Demonstrate correct ergonomics during scanning techniques.
PLO 5: Identify normal and abnormal anatomy in the general concentrations of Abdominal and Obstetrical/Gynecological Sonography.
PLO 6: Apply sonographic principles and instrumentation appropriately.
PLO 7: Describe and discuss the importance of professional development through continuing education.