Cardiac Sonography – Associate in Applied Science

A cardiac sonographer (echocardiographer) is the allied health professional who, after an extensive and comprehensive educational process, is qualified to perform an echocardiogram (ultrasound of the heart). The primary role of the cardiac sonographer is to obtain diagnostic recordings and measurements from the ultrasound image of the heart, including hemodynamic information. This individual assumes great responsibility for the performance of this exam. The techniques for obtaining the required images and recordings require great skill. A thorough understanding of cardiac anatomy, physiology, hemodynamics, and pathophysiology is required.

The cardiac sonography program is an online program accredited by the Commission for Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) in the United States. It is a program leading to an Associate in Applied Science degree. The curriculum consists of integrated didactic and clinical coursework with a minimum of 1,136 supervised clinical hours with an approved clinical education affiliate. This program is designed to prepare the student for employment as a cardiac sonographer with positions located in hospitals, medical clinics, and other diagnostic imaging facilities. Upon successful completion, students are eligible to apply to the ARDMS (American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonographers) for board examinations that will award them the RDCS (Registered Diagnostic Cardiac Sonographer) credential.

There are special admission requirements to the sonography programs, and it is the student’s responsibility to understand the requirements and adhere to them. Entry into a program is competitive and based on a “point system.” Point values are based on grades earned in prerequisite coursework and the interview process.

Applications are processed according to the following:
• Applications must be received by the Allied Health Office by August 31.
• Questionnaires will be mailed to eligible applicants.
• Completed questionnaires must be returned by the stated due date.
• Diagnostic Medical Sonography Admission Committee conducts interviews.
• Students are notified by mail of application/interview results.
• Accepted students begin winter semester.

General education prerequisites and related requirement courses must be completed before admission to the program.


Program Requirements

Minimum credits 68
Minimum cumulative GPA 2.0
Minimum grade in all courses 2.0
Minimum grade in BIO 132 OR BIO 253/254, HOC 130 AND MOA 120 3.0
Minimum Jackson College credits 33

GENERAL EDUCATION REQUIREMENTS (21-29 credits)

GEO 1: Write clearly, concisely and intelligibly (3 credits)

Take the following:

Course # Course Name Credits Prerequisites Notes
ENG 131 Writing Experience I 3 ENG 085 and ENG 091

This is an intensive writing course. Narrative and descriptive modes are stressed. Basic research strategies are introduced. An end-of-the-semester portfolio is required.

GEO 2: Speak clearly, concisely and intelligibly (3 credits)

Choose one of the following:

Course # Course Name Credits Prerequisites Notes
COM 231 Communication Fundamentals 3 ENG 085, ENG 091

(FORMERLY SPH 231)

COM 240 Interpersonal Communication 3 ENG 085, ENG 091

(FORMERLY SPH 240) Students will learn to improve communication in one-on-one and small group situations. In this course, students will examine basic verbal and non-verbal elements affecting communication between individuals in family, peer group and work contexts. Specific units of discussion include intrapersonal perspective, conflict resolution, self-disclosure, message generation, intercultural messages and non-verbal communication.

GEO 3: Demonstrate computational skills and mathematical reasoning (4 credits)

Take the following:

Course # Course Name Credits Prerequisites Notes
MAT 131 Intermediate Algebra 4 MAT 039*

(FORMERLY MTH 131) This course emphasizes simplifying expressions, solving equations, and graphing functions, including linear, quadratic, polynomial, rational, radical, exponential and logarithmic. Problem solving and mathematical modeling are integrated throughout. Appropriate technology includes a graphing calculator. The mathematics department recommends the prerequisite not be more than two years old. If the prerequisite is more than two years old the recommendation is the course placement assessment be taken or the prerequisite be retaken to ensure the success of the student.

GEO 4: Demonstrate scientific reasoning (4-8 credits)

Choose one of the following:

Course # Course Name Credits Prerequisites Notes
BIO 132 Human Biology 4 ENG 085* and MAT 020* or higher

Students focus on the structure and function of the human body, the unity and diversity of life, the nature of scientific inquiry, and the principles and processes of evolution as well as contemporary issues that relate to biology. Course includes a laboratory component which focuses on human anatomy.

BIO 253 and 254 Human Anatomy and Physiology I & II 8

Human Anatomy and Physiology I
This is the first course of a two-semester course sequence in which students study the anatomy and physiology of the human body. The course includes introductions to basic chemistry, biology and histology and extends to the survey of the integumentary, skeletal, muscular and nervous systems. This course includes a laboratory component in which students are responsible for performing dissections and making original observations on dissected material. The laboratory experience culminates with the use of a plastinated human specimen for observation. A strong background in biology and/or chemistry is highly recommended.

Human Anatomy and Physiology II
This is the second course of a two-semester course sequence in which students study the anatomy and physiology of the human body. The course includes the autonomic nervous system, sensory, motor, and integrative systems, special senses, endocrine system, cardiovascular systems, lymphatic system and immunity, respiratory systems, digestive system, metabolism and nutrition, urinary system and reproductive systems. This course includes a laboratory component in which students are responsible for performing dissections and making original observations on dissected material. The laboratory experience culminates with the use of a plastinated human specimen for observation. Because physiological processes are based on the principles of chemistry, prior chemistry coursework is strongly recommended for this course.

GEO 5: Understand human behavior and social systems, and the principles which govern them (4 credits)

Take the following:

Course # Course Name Credits Prerequisites Notes
PSY 140 Introduction to Psychology 4 ENG 085* and ENG 090*

Overview of the field of psychology, including learning, development, emotion, motivation, personality, abnormal behavior and psychotherapy.

GEO 6: Understand aesthetic experience and artistic creativity (3 credits)

Choose one of the following:

Course # Course Name Credits Prerequisites Notes
ART 111 Art History: Prehistoric to 1400 3 ENG 085, ENG 091

This course is a survey of art history and aesthetics covering art and architecture from prehistoric times to 1400.

ART 112 Art History: Renaissance to Present 3 ENG 085*

This course is a survey of art history and aesthetics covering art from the Renaissance through the 20th century.

ENG 210 Introduction to Film 3 ENG 085* and ENG 131

Students are introduced to film as a visual art and to basic film terms and techniques, such as composition, movement, editing and sound. Readings in film history, genre, theory and criticism. Includes JC Winter Film Series.

ENG 236 Women In a Changing Society 3 ENG 085* and ENG 131

(SAME AS SOC 236) Inquiry into historical and changing roles of women, looking at causes of these changes and their effects on women and society through literature, sociology, biology and history.

ENG 246 Short Story & Novel 3 ENG 085* and ENG 131

Students are introduced to traditional and contemporary fictional genres. This course emphasizes understanding, appreciation and the critical analysis of narrative art. Selections for study are chosen from English and American literature as well as world literature in translation.

ENG 247 Poetry & Drama 3 ENG 085* and ENG 131

Students are introduced to lyric and dramatic genres. This course emphasizes understanding, appreciation and enjoyment of poetry and theatre as language performances and literary forms. Selections for study are chosen from English and American literature as well as world literature in translation.

ENG 249 African-American Literature 3 ENG 085* and ENG 131

Survey of the literature of African-American writers. Emphasis is on the major writers in narrative, poetry, fiction, essay and drama.

ENG 252 Shakespeare 3 ENG 085* and ENG 131

Students read representative plays and are introduced to the Elizabethan world. Course emphasizes developing understanding, appreciation and critical analysis skills.

ENG 254 Children’s Literature 3 ENG 085* and ENG 131

Students survey the various genres of children’s literature from a critical point of view. Course emphasizes developing student competency in oral reading and presentation of children’s literature.

ENG 255 American Literature-19th Century 3 ENG 085* and ENG 131

Students examine the development of a distinctive American literature and culture during the 19th century. Students read selections from many writers, with emphasis on major figures such as Hawthorne, Melville, Thoreau, Emerson, Poe, Dickinson, Whitman, Douglass and Jacobs.

ENG 256 American Literature-20th Century 3 ENG 085* and ENG 131

Students examine the literature and culture of America from 1890 to the present, with emphasis on the development of organic and post-modern writing in narrative, poetic and critical modes.

HUM 131 Cultural Connections 3 ENG 085 and ENG 091

This interdisciplinary course examines contemporary issues, their human and technological components, and their historical precedents through art, music, literature and philosophy.

MUS 131 Understanding Music 3 ENG 085*

Lecture and directed listening on the elements, forms and historic chronology of Western music.

THR 116 Introduction to Theatre 3 ENG 085*

Survey of Western theatre and drama. Appreciation of theatre through understanding of historical development and societal function. Theatre architecture, production, costuming and acting styles, and the artists who create them.

GEO 7: Understand and respect the diversity and interdependence of the world’s peoples and cultures (3 credits)

Program courses meet this requirement

RELATED REQUIREMENTS (14 credits)

Take the following:

Course # Course Name Credits Prerequisites Notes
DMS 100 Introduction to Diagnostic Imaging 3

Students are introduced to the radiologic sciences. Modalities discussed include X-rays, nuclear medicine, ultrasound, computerized tomgraphy (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and photon emission tomography (PET). Students learn indications for a variety of diagnostic studies, how they are evaluated and interpreted,correlations of multiple studies, and how to prepare the patient for the study.

DMS 104 Introduction to Sonographic Instrumentation 3 ENG 085* and MAT 131* or higher, plus signed DMS fact sheet (EQV-DMSFS)

In this course students will learn the history and basic principles of static and real-time ultrasound machines. The instrumentation of A-mode and its conversion into the real time B-mode scanners will be explored. Laboratory assignments reinforce learning activities.

HOC 130 Introduction to Health Occupations 3

This course will provide the student with an overview of the health care field. Information that is covered serves as a solid foundation for all students in health sciences or health occupations, regardless of the particular health care profession they are interested in pursuing. Topics include: careers in health care, legal and ethical responsibilities, professionalism, interactions between and reaction of patients in normal and altered states, patient and personal safety and cultural diversity.

MOA 120 Medical Terminology 3 ENG 085*

A programmed learning word building system approach is used to teach basic medical terminology word roots, prefixes, suffixes, language origins, plural formation and grammar rules are studied. Emphasis is placed on word building, definitions, spelling, usage, pronunciation and acceptable medical abbreviations.

PHY 145 Introduction to Basic Physics 2 ENG 085 and MAT 020 or higher.

This course addresses the basic principles of classical physics specifically for the sonography program with a minimal amount of mathematics. The topics covered include motion, mechanics, energy, properties of matter, waves, heat, electricity and magnetism.

CORE REQUIREMENTS (33 credits)

Take the following:

Course # Course Name Credits Prerequisites Notes
DMS 140 Sonographic Orientation & Technique 3

In this course students learn the principles of application of ultrasound as it pertains to echocardiographic exam. Topics of study include: windows and views, anatomy and physiology of the heart and great vessels, Doppler techniques, nomenclature of cardiac structures per ASE guidelines, LV assessment and function, as well as clinical indications for the echo. These studies are for preparation of applying correct techniques in the acquisition of sonographic cardiac images.

DMS 141 Adult Echo I 4

In this course students learn fundamentals of cardiac pressures, cardiac cycle, and the cardiac conduction system. Studies include: cardiac valves – normal and abnormal conditions, flow abnormalities, and physiological complications from these conditions. These studies are for preparation of applying correct techniques in the acquisition of sonographic cardiac images.

DMS 142 Echo Clinical I 2

In this course students receive 168 hours of supervised clinical experience in an approved clinical education center. This course provides hands-on experience in basic cardiac imaging, patient care, and application of knowledge and skills acquired in DMS 140 and DMS 141. Successful completion of professional and technical scanning proficiencies is required to remain in the program. This course is the first in a series of three clinical courses that prepare the student for the final objective of performing and evaluating the adult echocardiogram.

DMS 144 Cardiovascular Principles 3 DMS 140 and DMS 141

This course is a study of cardiac anatomy and physiology, cardiac hemodynamics, principles of Doppler, and ECG interpretation. Problem solving, evaluation, and echo interpretation will be emphasized in this course. This course contains materials and instruction that will prepare the student in meeting the program’s final objective of independent performance and evaluation of the complete adult echocardiogram.

DMS 148 Echo Clinical II 7

In this course students receive 512 hours of supervised clinical experience in an approved clinical education center. This course provides hands-on experience in intermediate level cardiac imaging and use of cardiovascular equations. Successful completion of scanning proficiencies is required to remain in the program. This course is the second in a series of three clinical courses that has the final objective of independent performance and evaluation of the adult echocardiogram.

DMS 206 Sonographic Instrumentation 4

Students explore the mechanics of A-mode, B-mode, M-mode, Doppler, and real time equipment. Accessory equipment such as cameras, transducers, phased, annular and linear arrays, and all types of hard copy documentation instruments are investigated. Multiple methods of preventative maintenance and quality control are presented. Laboratory reinforces learning activities.

DMS 240 Adult Echo II 4 DMS 140, DMS 141 and DMS 144

In this course students will focus on the abnormal heart. Valvular disease, coronary artery disease, diseases of the myocardium, cardiac masses and tumors, pericardial disease and diseases of the aorta are some of the topics to be covered. Students will also learn the various appearances of congenital heart disease in the adult heart. This advanced course contains materials and instruction that will assist the student in meeting the final objective of independent performance and evaluation of the complete adult echocardiogram.

DMS 244 Echo Clinical II 6 DMS 142 and DMS 148

In this course students receive 464 hours of supervised clinical experience in an echo lab at an approved medical facility. This course provides hands-on experience at an advanced level of cardiac imaging and use of cardiovascular equations. Interpretation skills will apply. Successful completion of scanning proficiencies is required to graduate from the program. This clinical course is the final course in a sequence of three, and the final objective to be met is successful, independent performance and evaluation of the complete adult echocardiogram.

Sample Course Map

The following is a sample course map for informational purposes and will not suit every student’s situation. A detailed, individualized course map will be created when a student meets with their Student Success Navigator.

SEMESTER 1

Course # Course Name Credits Prerequisites Notes
BIO 132 Human Biology 4 ENG 085* and MAT 020* or higher

Students focus on the structure and function of the human body, the unity and diversity of life, the nature of scientific inquiry, and the principles and processes of evolution as well as contemporary issues that relate to biology. Course includes a laboratory component which focuses on human anatomy.

ENG 131 Writing Experience I 3 ENG 085 and ENG 091

This is an intensive writing course. Narrative and descriptive modes are stressed. Basic research strategies are introduced. An end-of-the-semester portfolio is required.

HOC 130 Introduction to Health Occupations 3

This course will provide the student with an overview of the health care field. Information that is covered serves as a solid foundation for all students in health sciences or health occupations, regardless of the particular health care profession they are interested in pursuing. Topics include: careers in health care, legal and ethical responsibilities, professionalism, interactions between and reaction of patients in normal and altered states, patient and personal safety and cultural diversity.

PHY 145 Introduction to Basic Physics 2 ENG 085 and MAT 020 or higher.

This course addresses the basic principles of classical physics specifically for the sonography program with a minimal amount of mathematics. The topics covered include motion, mechanics, energy, properties of matter, waves, heat, electricity and magnetism.

SEM 140 Seminar in Life Pathways 3

Seminar in Life Pathways is a gateway course to Jackson College. This course is designed to help all students develop the skills, inner qualities and external behaviors needed to take charge of their academic and career success. Students will be guided through an extensive process in making career choices and selecting an academic program of study at Jackson College and beyond. With the exception of second-admit programs, SEM 140 is required of all students.

SEMESTER 2

Course # Course Name Credits Prerequisites Notes
DMS 100 Introduction to Diagnostic Imaging 3

Students are introduced to the radiologic sciences. Modalities discussed include X-rays, nuclear medicine, ultrasound, computerized tomgraphy (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and photon emission tomography (PET). Students learn indications for a variety of diagnostic studies, how they are evaluated and interpreted,correlations of multiple studies, and how to prepare the patient for the study.

MAT 131 Intermediate Algebra 4 MAT 039*

(FORMERLY MTH 131) This course emphasizes simplifying expressions, solving equations, and graphing functions, including linear, quadratic, polynomial, rational, radical, exponential and logarithmic. Problem solving and mathematical modeling are integrated throughout. Appropriate technology includes a graphing calculator. The mathematics department recommends the prerequisite not be more than two years old. If the prerequisite is more than two years old the recommendation is the course placement assessment be taken or the prerequisite be retaken to ensure the success of the student.

PSY 140 Introduction to Psychology 4 ENG 085* and ENG 090*

Overview of the field of psychology, including learning, development, emotion, motivation, personality, abnormal behavior and psychotherapy.

SEMESTER 3

Course # Course Name Credits Prerequisites Notes
COM 231 Communication Fundamentals 3 ENG 085, ENG 091

(FORMERLY SPH 231)

DMS 104 Introduction to Sonographic Instrumentation 3 ENG 085* and MAT 131* or higher, plus signed DMS fact sheet (EQV-DMSFS)

In this course students will learn the history and basic principles of static and real-time ultrasound machines. The instrumentation of A-mode and its conversion into the real time B-mode scanners will be explored. Laboratory assignments reinforce learning activities.

HUM 131 Cultural Connections 3 ENG 085 and ENG 091

This interdisciplinary course examines contemporary issues, their human and technological components, and their historical precedents through art, music, literature and philosophy.

MOA 120 Medical Terminology 3 ENG 085*

A programmed learning word building system approach is used to teach basic medical terminology word roots, prefixes, suffixes, language origins, plural formation and grammar rules are studied. Emphasis is placed on word building, definitions, spelling, usage, pronunciation and acceptable medical abbreviations.

SEMESTER 4

Course # Course Name Credits Prerequisites Notes
DMS 140 Sonographic Orientation & Technique 3

In this course students learn the principles of application of ultrasound as it pertains to echocardiographic exam. Topics of study include: windows and views, anatomy and physiology of the heart and great vessels, Doppler techniques, nomenclature of cardiac structures per ASE guidelines, LV assessment and function, as well as clinical indications for the echo. These studies are for preparation of applying correct techniques in the acquisition of sonographic cardiac images.

DMS 141 Adult Echo I 4

In this course students learn fundamentals of cardiac pressures, cardiac cycle, and the cardiac conduction system. Studies include: cardiac valves – normal and abnormal conditions, flow abnormalities, and physiological complications from these conditions. These studies are for preparation of applying correct techniques in the acquisition of sonographic cardiac images.

DMS 142 Echo Clinical I 2

In this course students receive 168 hours of supervised clinical experience in an approved clinical education center. This course provides hands-on experience in basic cardiac imaging, patient care, and application of knowledge and skills acquired in DMS 140 and DMS 141. Successful completion of professional and technical scanning proficiencies is required to remain in the program. This course is the first in a series of three clinical courses that prepare the student for the final objective of performing and evaluating the adult echocardiogram.

DMS 196 Introduction to Cardiac Clinical 5

This course prepares cardiac sonography students for their clinical externship. Students will study and practice the technical as well as personal skills as they relate and are required for the on-site work experience. Students will demonstrate sonographic scanning of their discipline with the expected outcome of a basic level competency. Admission to the cardiac sonography program required to register for this course.

SEMESTER 5

Course # Course Name Credits Prerequisites Notes
DMS 144 Cardiovascular Principles 3 DMS 140 and DMS 141

This course is a study of cardiac anatomy and physiology, cardiac hemodynamics, principles of Doppler, and ECG interpretation. Problem solving, evaluation, and echo interpretation will be emphasized in this course. This course contains materials and instruction that will prepare the student in meeting the program’s final objective of independent performance and evaluation of the complete adult echocardiogram.

DMS 148 Echo Clinical II 7

In this course students receive 512 hours of supervised clinical experience in an approved clinical education center. This course provides hands-on experience in intermediate level cardiac imaging and use of cardiovascular equations. Successful completion of scanning proficiencies is required to remain in the program. This course is the second in a series of three clinical courses that has the final objective of independent performance and evaluation of the adult echocardiogram.

DMS 206 Sonographic Instrumentation 4

Students explore the mechanics of A-mode, B-mode, M-mode, Doppler, and real time equipment. Accessory equipment such as cameras, transducers, phased, annular and linear arrays, and all types of hard copy documentation instruments are investigated. Multiple methods of preventative maintenance and quality control are presented. Laboratory reinforces learning activities.

SEMESTER 6

Course # Course Name Credits Prerequisites Notes
DMS 240 Adult Echo II 4 DMS 140, DMS 141 and DMS 144

In this course students will focus on the abnormal heart. Valvular disease, coronary artery disease, diseases of the myocardium, cardiac masses and tumors, pericardial disease and diseases of the aorta are some of the topics to be covered. Students will also learn the various appearances of congenital heart disease in the adult heart. This advanced course contains materials and instruction that will assist the student in meeting the final objective of independent performance and evaluation of the complete adult echocardiogram.

DMS 244 Echo Clinical II 6 DMS 142 and DMS 148

In this course students receive 464 hours of supervised clinical experience in an echo lab at an approved medical facility. This course provides hands-on experience at an advanced level of cardiac imaging and use of cardiovascular equations. Interpretation skills will apply. Successful completion of scanning proficiencies is required to graduate from the program. This clinical course is the final course in a sequence of three, and the final objective to be met is successful, independent performance and evaluation of the complete adult echocardiogram.