Diagnostic Medical Sonography FAQ’s

Jackson College has compiled this information to assist you as you are preparing for the Diagnostic Medical Sonography Programs in General Sonography.

  • Who is a Sonographer?
    • A professional who works directly with patients in performing sonographic diagnostic procedures.
    • A professional who performs diagnostic procedures/tests (tests that are non-invasive, without puncturing or performing incisions on a patient).
    • A professional who provides physicians with medical diagnostic information on the structure and function of the area of the body in question.
  • What is the nature of a sonographer’s work and what do they do?

    Sonographers are medical professional who operate ultrasonic imaging devices to produce diagnostic images and scans, videos or 3D volumes of anatomy and diagnostic data. Sonography requires specialized education and skills to view, analyze and modify the scan to optimize the information in the image. Because of the high levels of decisional latitude and diagnostic responsibility sonographers perform diagnostic tests such as ultrasounds and imaging.

  • Where do sonographers work? Where are job opportunities available?
    • Many opportunities are available throughout the United States for experienced and qualified individuals.
    • Clinics, mobile health services, physician’s offices, and hospitals have open positions.
    • Medical industry companies also offer work in research and development, sales and marketing, which provide opportunities for international travel.
  • How much money could I make in this line of work?

    Diagnostic medical sonographers and cardiovascular technologists and technicians, including vascular technologists can earn wages between $60,570 to $77,740.

    For more career information, please visit the U.S. Bureau of Labor & Statistics.

  • Is sonography right for me?

    Ask yourself the following questions:

    • Do you like science?
    • Do you like math?
    • Do you like to figure things out on your own?
    • Do you like to work independently?
    • Do you like to interact with other people?
    • Do you like to use technology?
    • Do you like to be challenged with new ideas?

    If you answered yes to any of those questions, then maybe Sonography is right for you!

  • How do I learn the skills to become a sonographer? What methods are used to teach students?
    • Accredited schools that offer Associate or Bachelor Degrees require you to participate in lecture, lab, clinical and didactic settings.
    • Normal course work includes a minimum of one year of didactic lectures and class work, followed by an internship in the different diagnostic procedure settings.
    • Be careful choosing your school. CAAHEP accredited programs may be required for certification. Jackson College Sonography programs are accredited and listed on CAAHEP. For more information, go towww.caahep.org or the website for ARDMS at www.ardms.org.
  • How many hours a week must I attend clinical?

    Each Sonography program is different. You can expect to be in the clinical setting 24-32 hours a week for nearly a year.

  • Can I go to clinical at night or on weekends?

    Not typically. Accreditation requires students to be placed in the best learning situations. This is typically Monday through Friday 8 am to 5 pm when the majority of the staff and patients are scheduled. Students may also be expected to rotate to other shifts for different experiences.

  • Can I work while going through this program?

    While we cannot control what you do in your own time, we strongly recommend that you do not try to work while going through the program. Some of our programs require a minimum 40 hours per week commitment, which does not account for studying time or commuting time to and from clinical assignments. It is estimated that an average of 50-60 hours of dedication is need to be successful in these programs. Adding work requirements in addition to these 50-60 hours has typically caused poor outcomes. The programs are a full time commitment. Currently, there are no part-time options.

  • How much does the DMS program cost?

    The cost of the program depends on which program you choose, where you live and how many credits, if any, you transfer to Jackson College. You will first need to know which program you are interested in.

    Tuition and fees are subject to change at any time. Program cost information will be updated at the beginning of each academic year. To get the most up to date information, please visit the tuition & fees web page.

  • What are the benefits in completing a job shadow in the field of sonography?

    Job shadowing gives the candidate an opportunity to see if the medical field is a good fit for them, and this is something that student wants to devote their time and education toward this field. Sometimes when a student volunteers or job shadows they see firsthand what the hospital environment is like before investing in the field of DMS.

  • How do I know if courses taken at other colleges will transfer to Jackson College to fulfill prerequisite requirements?

    Your official college transcripts must be mailed directly from each of your prior universities to the Registrar’s office at: Jackson College 2111 Emmons Rd Jackson, MI 49201.

  • What makes the sonography programs at Jackson College different from others?

    Jackson College is one of the longest CAAHEP accredited programs in the United States. Jackson College offers the DMS programs in a distance learning, online format while physics is taught both face to face and online to serve different students’ learning styles. JC offered the first CAAHEP accredited DMS program in the U.S.

  • What does “accredited program” mean to a DMS graduate?

    Any student (other than a Bachelor degree or RT(R) who graduates from a “non accredited” DMS program must work or volunteer for an additional year before they are eligible to take the national registry boards (ARDMS). Also, some hospitals will only hire a sonography graduate from a CAAHEP accredited program.