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. Sonographers are highly skilled professionals who operate equipment that collects reflected echoes and forms an image that may be videotaped, transmitted, or photographed for interpretation and diagnosis by a physician. There are several areas of specialization in the field of sonography: Abdomen, Obstetrics/Gynecology, Echocardiography, Vascular Technology, Neurosonology, and Ophthalmology.
The DMS Program provides students with 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 of sonography. These responsibilities include independent decision making and critical thinking which are vital in assisting physicians in their diagnoses.
The Sonography Program is offered at the Polk State College Airside Center in Lakeland. Classes are scheduled Monday through Friday, during both day and evening hours.
According to the Occupational Outlook Handbook from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of sonographers is expected to increase by approximately 18 per cent through 2016. As a population grows and ages, there is an increase in the demand for diagnostic imaging and therapeutic technology. The national earning range for sonographers is approximately 43,500 to 84,000 (May 2008). These earnings range for location, experience, place of work and various shift assignments. Sonographers are employed in hospitals, private physician’s offices, and diagnostic imaging centers.
The Sonography Program is nationally accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP), 1361 Park Street, Clearwater, FL 33756; telephone, (727)210-2350; email address, www.caahep.org.
Graduates of the program are eligible to take the national board exams administered by the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonographers (ARDMS) for the Registered Diagnostic Medical Sonographer (RDMS) credential.
The following are the minimum requirements for admission to the Diagnostic Medical Sonography Program:
- Acceptance to Polk State College as a credit student with all required admission documents received by the Registrar’s Office.
- Completion of any required developmental education courses.
- Obtainment of an overall GPA of 2.0 or higher at the time of admission.
- Completion of all prerequisite courses with a grade of C or higher.
- Completion of the following prerequisite courses prior to admission into the program:
ENC 1101 - College Composition I
MAC 1105 - College Algebra
BSC 2085C - Human Anatomy and Physiology I
PHY 2001C - Basic Concepts of Physics
Please note that prerequisites to a program and courses that can be taken prior to admission to a program can change and students not yet admitted to the program may be required to take additional or alternate prerequisites prior to admission to the program.
Additional Program Requirements
Admission requirements to be completed after admission 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 to the non-committance of specific criminal acts.
- Completion of a Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) background check.
The Program Director provides information regarding the completion of these additional admission requirements with the letter of acceptance.
Students seeking admission into the DMS Program must receive a program application from Student Services at any college location or online at www.polk.edu/dms. Applications must be submitted by August 31 of each year for a January start date. Failure to submit the required documentation by the deadline prevents the student from starting in the upcoming class.
A selection committee meets during September for an 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, prior healthcare experience related to the field of study, and established residency in Polk, Highlands, or Hardee County. Letters of acceptance are mailed before the end of September.
The College reserves the right to make changes in the admission criteria as circumstances require. Every reasonable effort is made to communicate changes in the program to potential students.
The cost of the program is approximately $9,000.00. This cost estimate includes course fees, books, uniforms, and national registry fees.
Following the completion of all requirements for graduation from the Diagnostic Medical Sonography Program, graduates are eligible to sit for the national registry exam administered by the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers. After successful completion of this exam, graduates earn the credential of Registered Diagnostic Medical Sonographer (RDMS).