Diagnostic Medical Sonography Program
Earn your A.A.S. degree in less than two years, and become a medical sonographer, also known as an ultrasound technologist.
Our Diagnostic Medical Sonography program integrates important foundational knowledge in the sciences and medical imaging with clinical experiences under the supervision of professional sonographers. The program begins with introductory courses in areas like anatomy and physics, dives into how imaging technology works, and leads into real-world lab rotations. By the end of the program, you’ll be ready for certification and know how to perform 50 distinct ultrasound procedures.
- best jobs in Healthcare Support in Money Magazine 2023
- years or less to complete the Medical Sonography degree
- average salary in 2021 according to Money Magazine
Sonography Program Format & Certification
Our Diagnostic Medical Sonography (DMS) Program is a full-time, lock-step, 5-semester program (22 months). After earning this degree and your American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS) credentials, you can find entry-level employment as a sonographer in hospitals, medical offices, and outpatient clinics.
As early as your second semester, you will start your first clinical rotation. Through the course of the program, you will take a total of four clinical rotations at affiliates in California, and will have the chance to put the knowledge learned in the classroom to use. After completing the program, you will be eligible to apply to take the national registry examination from the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) and/or the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers (ARDMS).
What is Diagnostic Medical Sonography?
Diagnostic medical sonography, or ultrasound, is a medical technology using highly sophisticated, computer-based imaging equipment to produce dynamic multidimensional visual images of organs, tissue and blood flow. As a radiation free medical imaging modality, it provides important clinical information for the diagnosis and treatment of patients. General diagnostic medical sonographers specialize in the areas of the abdomen, pelvis, and neck.
Working as an ultrasound technologist is an especially rewarding career in the healthcare industry. Ultrasound technologists work closely with other members of the healthcare team and patients to obtain images to aid in diagnoses.
What can I do as a Diagnostic Medical Sonographer?
Ultrasound technologists typically perform the following job duties:
- Prepare patients for procedures and answering any questions about the procedure
- Clean, check, and maintain sonographic equipment
- Operate equipment to get diagnostic images of areas in the patient’s body
- Record findings and keep track of patients’ records
Where can I work as a Diagnostic Medical Sonographer?
Diagnostic medical sonographers work in a variety of healthcare and administrative settings including:
- Private offices
Why Enroll in a Sonography Program in California?
California is a great place to practice as an Ultrasound Technician. Here’s why:
- It is estimated that in 2019 there were around 6,600 working sonographers in California, the highest employment level in the country.
- Ultrasound techs in California earn the second highest salary in the country. The national mean annual wage for sonographers in 2021 was an impressive $77,740 (Money Magazine)
- Diagnostic Medical Sonographer was ranked #6 on Money Magazine / U.S. News and World Report’s 2019 list of Best Jobs in Healthcare Support and #22 in 100 best jobs.
What You'll Learn in TUC's AAS in Diagnostic Medical Sonography
Our classes are taught by experienced faculty with diversified educational and clinical backgrounds.
In this program, you’ll learn the academic and technical skills needed to apply imaging techniques and carry out sonographic examinations and procedures in a healthcare setting. You will also learn a variety of important healthcare knowledge in areas like ultrasound physics, pathology, and anatomy. During your final two semesters, you will dive into specialized sonography topics like obstetrics, gynecology, and abdominal & superficial structures. If you decide to continue your healthcare education in the future, you’ll already have a solid foundation in the sciences.
Clinical education is an integral part of the Diagnostic Medical Sonography curriculum. Working alongside qualified clinical staff with real patients provides you with the opportunity to develop confidence, become competent in your skills, and accustomed to the healthcare environment in which you will ultimately seek to work.
AAS in Diagnostic Medical Sonography Plan of Study
The AAS in Sonography is an 83-credit full-time cohort-based program and is completed in two years (five semesters).
College Writing I (4 credits)
Extensive practice in expository writing, with emphasis on the composition of a three- to five-page research paper in MLA format.
Biomedical Ethics (3 credits)
This course is designed to provide a fundamental background in ethics. With both the historical and philosophical basis ethical behavior will be discussed. Ethical issues and dilemmas found in clinical practice will be examined. Legal terminology, concepts and principles will be presented. The ASRT scope of practice, misconduct, malpractice, and other legal and professional standards will be discussed.
Introductory Physics (3 credits)
The Course is designed to provide an introductory survey to basic physics. This course will include discussions in the following subject areas; the structure of matter, electricity, magnetism and electromagnetism.
College Mathematics (4 credits)
Algebraic topics including linear equations and inequalities, systems of equations, quadratic equations, all including word problems. Exponents and radicals, operations with polynomials, factoring, and graphing.
Human Anatomy and Physiology I / Lab (4 credits)
This course is designed for pre-professional students (i.e., OTA, PTA and Medical Coding) as an introduction to a basic understanding of the structural organization of the human body starting with the tissues, integumentary, skeletal, muscular, digestive and nervous systems. The course will focus on the cellular organization and on the tissue and organ level of each system. In laboratory exercises, students study and learn structures from various available anatomical models. Not for science majors.
Medical Terminology (2 credits)
This course is designed to provide each student with an understanding of medical terminology. An introduction to the origins of medical terminology will also be assessed. Word building will be introduced, and abbreviation and symbols will be discussed.
Sonography Physics and Instrumentation (3 credits)
This course is designed to present the basic concepts and principles of ultrasound physics as a foundation for understanding image interpretation. The student should learn the wave theory of sound and how it travels through various media. They should gain knowledge of the principles of how piezoelectricity converts sound energy to electrical energy in ultrasound transducers. They should gain mastery of instrumentation of the equipment and understand how the use of gain compensates for attenuation. They should acquire an understanding of harmonics, different types of resolution, basic fluid hemodynamics, color-flow Doppler, spectral analysis, power Doppler, harmonics, artifacts, and m-mode.
Anatomy and Physiology for Sonography I (4 credits)
This is a course that will explore the structures of the human anatomy in all planes with particular emphasis on the cross-sectional mode. The organs and system relationship are examined, particularly the abdomen, thorax, cranium, pelvis, reproductive system, and retroperitoneum. Fetal cross-sectional anatomy will also be presented.
Fundamentals of Ultrasound (3 credits)
This course introduces the student to the field of sonography. Course work also includes information concerning medical ethics and legal issues affecting the patient, student, and clinical site. The course provides the student with an overview of diagnostic sonography, its history and development. Emphasis is placed on patient care techniques and issues related to sonography.
Intro to Vascular Imaging and Doppler (3 credits)
This course is designed to provide the student with the basic principles and uses of Doppler ultrasound. The course will include basic vascular imaging techniques and procedures, including basic arterial and venous studies with a focus on carotid artery and basic venous exams to rule out deep vein thrombosis. Students will correlate the physical principles of Doppler and the procedures utilized in imaging departments. Normal and abnormal tissue patterns are included within the discussions.
PClinical Practicum I (1 credit)
An introductive course to Sonography scanning, procedures, and protocols. The student will begin with observation and progress in assisting with and performing procedures. This course will cover general Sonography procedures of the abdomen, thyroid, scrotum, breast, MSK, non-cardiac chest, and major vasculature structures of the abdomen, and small parts. The student will attend a clinical rotation for 24 hours per week. Hours and days are subject to change.
Intro to Vascular Lab (2 credits)
This “hands-on” scanning laboratory course is designed to complement the Vascular Ultrasound material. It will also cover interrogation of the arterial and venous circulation of the upper and lower extremities, as well as abdominal vasculature.
Vascular Imaging I (3 credits)
This course is designed to provide the student with content on the use of Duplex Doppler Ultrasound for examination of the vasculature of the human body. The course provides a history of treatment of vascular conditions and includes the extra-cranial circulation of the brain, including the carotid arteries. It will also cover the arterial and venous circulation of the upper and lower extremities. Normal and abnormal tissue patterns are included within the discussions.
Sociology of Health Care (3 credits)
An overview of the sociology of medicine, with a focus on the relationships between social conditions, as the context, and health and disease in human populations, as outcomes. Utilizing sociological methods of analysis, the course investigates the history, function and structure of health care institutions, the roles of patients and health care practitioners, as well as social processes and social behaviors that influence the incidence of sickness and health.
Clinical Practicum II (1 credit)
This course is a continuation to the Clinical Practicum I course. The student will still be observing some procedures and progress to assisting with and performing procedures. This course will cover general Sonography procedures of the abdomen, thyroid, scrotum, breast, MSK, non-cardiac chest, and major vasculature structures of the abdomen, and small parts. The student will attend 24 hours of clinical per week. Hours and days are subject to change.
Fundamentals of Computers with Microcomputer Applications (4 credit2)
This course discusses the basic principles of computer literacy. The student is exposed to extensive computer terminology and a thorough discussion of computer theory, including the Internet. In addition, a hands-on computer lab is incorporated into the course. The student will learn Windows operating systems, word processing, spreadsheet, and presentation application software. Outside lab time is required for class assignments. The software will be updated to reflect the constantly changing technologies available.
Anatomy and Physiology for Sonography II (4 credits)
This course is designed to provide the student with a foundation in anatomy for Sonography to include Cross Sectional Anatomy. This course will explore the structure of the human anatomy in all body planes with emphasis on the crosssectional mode. The organs and system relationships are examined, particularly, the abdomen, thorax, cranium, pelvis, reproductive system and retroperitoneum. Fetal cross-sectional anatomy will also be presented.
Obstetrics and Gynecology Sonography Lecture (3 credits)
This course is designed for the student to learn the basic foundation of patient preparation, scanning techniques and protocols for performing gynecologic and obstetric exams. It is also designed to familiarize the student with normal sonographic imaging of the female reproductive system through appropriate usage of transabdominal (TAB) and transvaginal (TVA) probes. Study content should include the normal anatomy of the uterus, vagina, ovaries, and fallopian tubes. In addition, pre-menopausal and post-menopausal sonographic anatomy will be introduced. Various congenital anomalies of the uterus, fallopian tubes and ovaries will also be covered. Normal and abnormal first trimester pregnancies are introduced. The student should learn to recognize abnormal and/or pathologic sonographic patterns of the uterus and adnexa and to correlate the findings with patient history and lab values. Normal and abnormal 2nd and 3rd trimester pregnancy sonography will be covered.
Obstetrics and Gynecology Sonography Lab (4 credits)
This laboratory scanning course is designed to complement the Obstetric and Gynecologic Sonography lecture material. This course includes an emphasis on recognizing normal anatomy and pathology ultrasound scans of organs in the female pelvis.
Abdominal and Superficial Structures I Lecture (3 credits)
Abdominal Sonography is a comprehensive study of abdominal structures with emphasis on specialty organ examinations. Knowledge of the diagnosis, history and physical findings as they pertain to the pathophysiology of abdominal organs and systems is presented. Normal and abnormal tissue patterns are included within the discussions. Students will practice scanning in the lab.
Abdominal and Superficial Structures I Lab (2 credits)
This laboratory scanning course is designed to complement the Abdominal and Superficial Structures I lecture material. This course includes an emphasis on recognizing normal anatomy ultrasound scans of organs in the upper abdomen, such as the liver, kidneys, pancreas, spleen, vasculature.
Clinical Practicum III (1 credit)
This course is a continuation of Clinical Practicum II course. The student is fairly confident with abdominal and small parts procedures at this point in their clinical rotation. The student should perform the required unassisted competencies this rotation as well as the required 2nd set of assisted competencies. This course will cover general Sonography procedures of the abdomen, thyroid, scrotum, breast, MSK, non-cardiac chest, major vasculature structures of the abdomen, small parts, OB/Gynecology, and vascular of the upper and lower extremities. The student will attend 24 hours of clinical per week. Hours and days are subject to change.
Sonographic Case Studies (3 credits)
This course is designed to educate the student about the components of a case study in ultrasound. The goal of a case study is to accurately describe the details of a patient’s ultrasound examination findings. Students will learn to critically analyze anatomical variants, normal, and pathological sonographic findings in images. The study should begin with the patient history derived from an oral interview and patient chart information including, results of relevant lab tests, imaging exams, and possible surgical procedures. The case study should describe the patient preparation for the exam, positioning on the exam table, and the imaging protocols used by the sonographer.
Advanced Sonographic Imaging (3 credits)
Advanced Sonographic Imaging is a course that is designed to explore specialty techniques in the areas of abdomen, Obstetrics and Gynecology and Vascular Ultrasound. Neurosonography will be stressed to include normal and abnormal sonographic finding.
Sonographic Image Analysis and Pathology (1 credit)
This is a laboratory course and will increase your anatomy and pathology knowledge and Doppler skills of the cerebrovascular, extremities, abdominal vasculature, transcranial, plethysmography, segmental, ABI’s, aortic aneurysms, IVC imaging, venous Doppler evaluation with compression and augmentation, Allen test, Laser vein ablation, radio frequency, invasive vs. non-invasive testing, carotid imaging and evaluation, Raynaud’s testing using hands on technique.
Abdominal and Superficial Structures II Lecture (3 credits)
Review of superficial structures of the kidney and GI Tract with emphasis on specialty organ examinations. Normal and abnormal tissue patterns are included within the discussions. Students will practice scanning in the lab in preparation for objectives required in the clinical area.
Abdominal and Superficial Structures II Lab (2 credits)
This laboratory scanning course is designed to complement the Abdominal and Superficial Structures II lecture material. This course includes an emphasis on recognizing normal anatomy ultrasound scans of organs in the upper abdomen, such as the liver, kidneys, pancreas, spleen, vasculature.
Sonography Exam Review (2 credits)
This course is designed to provide an extensive review to prepare the student to take the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS) examination for those who are focusing on either Abdomen (General), OB/GYN, Echocardiography, or Vascular specialties. Students will be given practice (mock) exams.
Clinical Practicum IV (1 credit)
This course is a continuation of Clinical Practicum III. The student is confident or fairly with abdominal, small parts, OB/Gynecology, and upper and lower extremity vascular procedures at this point in their clinical rotation. The student should perform the required unassisted competencies this rotation, once the student has completed these competencies, they should be able to perform all examinations with ease and confidence. This course will cover general Sonography procedures of the abdomen, thyroid, scrotum, breast, MSK, non-cardiac chest, major vasculature structures of the abdomen, small parts OB/Gynecology, and vascular of the upper and lower extremities. The student will attend 24 hours of clinical per week. Hours and days are subject to change.
Vascular Imaging II (4 credits)
This course is designed to provide the student with content on ultrasound assessment of abdominal vasculature, anatomy and pathology of abdominal vasculature, hepatic vasculature, kidney vasculature and pelvic vasculature. A review on Sonographic characteristics and findings of: deep venous thrombosis (DVT), Pulmonary Embolism, Phlebitis, Chronic venous insufficiency, Varicose veins, Venous Ulcers and Vein mapping.
Seminar in Career Education (0 credits)
Program Learning Outcomes for AAS in Diagnostic Medical Sonography
Students graduating from the AAS in DMS program will be able to:
- Demonstrate clinical procedural proficiency.
- Employ proper patient care technique.
- Demonstrate oral and written communication skills.
- Exhibit the professional ethical standards.
- Exercise effective communication with patients.
Accreditation & Licensure
The program provides the theory, skill, and experience necessary to apply to sit for the exam to become a Registered Diagnostic Medical Sonographer (RDMS).
Touro University California is accredited by WASC. This program is pending approval by WSCUS and will not commence until approval is granted.