Diagnostic Medical Sonography

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Diagnostic Medical Sonography?

  • The Society of Diagnostic Medical Sonography (SDMS) defines sonography as diagnostic medical procedure that uses high frequency sound waves (ultrasound) to produce dynamic visual images of organs, tissues, or blood flow inside the body. This type of procedure is often referred to as a sonogram or ultrasound scan.
  • Sonography can be used to examine many parts of the body, such as the abdomen, breasts, female reproductive system, prostate, heart, and blood vessels. Sonography is increasingly being used in the detection and treatment of heart disease, heart attack, and vascular disease that can lead to stroke.
  • Please watch the SDMS career video for more information.

What is the role of the Diagnostic Medical Sonographer?

  • The SDMS defines a diagnostic medical sonographer as a highly-skilled professional who uses specialized equipment to create images of structures inside the human body that are used by physicians to make a medical diagnosis. The process involves placing a small device called a transducer against the patient's skin near the body area to be imaged. The transducer works like a loudspeaker and microphone because it can transmit sound and receive sound. The transducer sends a stream of high frequency sound waves into the body that bounce off the structures inside. The transducer detects sound waves as they bounce off the internal structures. Different structures in the body reflect these sound waves differently. These sounds are analyzed by a computer to make an image of the structure(s) on a television screen or that can be stored.
  • Sonographers have extensive, direct patient contact that may include performing some invasive procedures. They must be able to interact compassionately and effectively with people who range from healthy to critically ill.

Can I Perform This Occupation?

The technical standards have been established through consideration by faculty and consultation with the following sources: The Vocational Rehabilitation Act; The Americans with Disabilities Act; Guide for Occupational Information; Dictionary of Occupational Titles; and the Occupational Skills Standards Project from the National Health Care Skills Standards Projects.

Please visit Essential Abilities to identify the technical standards appropriate to Diagnostic Medical Sonography.

How do I know if I qualify for the Diagnostic Medical Sonography Program?

Please visit Application and Admission for details on applying to the DMS program.

Is the program accredited?

Yes. The Diagnostic Medical Sonography program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) upon recommendation of the Joint Review Committee on Education in Diagnostic Medical Sonography (JRCDMS). Washburn University is also accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (HLC).

How long is the program and when does it begin?

  • Cardiac = 12 months
  • Vascular = 12 months
  • General = 12 months

The programs begin in August every year. Application deadline is December 1.

What if I want to pursue an additional specialty?

Each student will start out in one specialty.  Students are welcome to pursue whatever other specialty we offer in the program after completion of the first specialty if they choose to do so.  Finding an appropriate clinical site for this additional specialty is still required.

What is the learning format for this program?

This program is online except for the clinical requirements, which are done in various sonography departments.

Where are the Washburn University DMS Clinical Sites?

We have clinical sites spread out throughout the United States, Canada, and a few other locations worldwide. Students may be required to drive significant distances in able to obtain a clinical site placement.

Is there an application fee?

At this time, there is not an application fee for the DMS program.  However there is a fee associated with a Washburn University application.

What is the tuition cost?

Please see our Estimated Program Costs.

How much time should students expect to spend on the online courses?

The clinical portion of this program is 24 hours per week for the entirety of the program. Time spent on coursework varies with how many credit hours are required and the study habits of the student. Course schedules are listed on this website which lists how many credit hours are required each semester.

Does the Washburn University Diagnostic Medical Sonography Program grant a degree?

Students receive a certificate after completion of each specialty in the program.  Many students who wish to pursue a Bachelor’s degree do so at Washburn through our BHS program.

Will I be able to sit for my registry examinations upon completion of the program?

Yes.  You will be able to sit for the ARDMS or CCI.

How many students does the program accept each year?

An average class is between 30 and 35 students each year. This number is subject to change.