Diagnostic Medical Sonography Frequently Asked Questions
What is Diagnostic Medical Sonography?
Diagnostic Medical Sonography, often called sonography or ultrasound, is a non-invasive imaging modality that is used to visualize various structures and organs within the body. Most commonly, it is known for its use in pregnancy to monitor the growth and well-being of the fetus, however it can also be used to understand the health of the heart, abdomen, vascular and musculoskeletal systems. A registered technologist, or diagnostic medical sonographer, operates highly specialized equipment that utilizes sound waves to produce images of internal organs, blood vessels, and other structures of interest.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects a 12% growth in the field of diagnostic medical sonography within the next 10 years. Employment of diagnostic medical sonographers is expected to grow faster than the average for all occupations as the population grows and ages, increasing the demand for diagnostic imaging and therapeutic technology.
What is the Program's Mission?
The mission of the Diagnostic Medical Sonography Program is to develop competent, entry-level sonographers who promote excellence and integrity in patient care by demonstrating professional proficiency and currency in skills through a commitment of life-long learning.
What Are the Program Goals?
To prepare competent entry-level general sonographers in the cognitive (knowledge), psychomotor (skills), and affective (behavior) learning domains.
This program is designed to prepare students to:
- Provide sonographic imaging services with a health care setting for a diverse patient population with an awareness of cultural diversity within the community
- Operate sonographic imaging equipment safely, effectively, and efficiently
- Create and evaluate sonographic images
- Apply computation skills to provide safe exposure to patients
- Develop competency in assessing patients and devising ways to image compromised patients
- Provide imaging procedure patient education
- Respect patient confidentiality and follow HIPAA guidelines
- Practice sonography in a manner consistent with ARDMS and SDMS ethical guidelines
- Use effective communication skills when collaborating with multidisciplinary health team members
- Develop interpersonal and communication skills to effectively interact with diverse population groups
- Provide appropriate life-support measures for medical emergencies that may be encountered in a sonographic imaging setting
- Use resources to enhance self-development and professional growth
What is the Program Length?
The duration of the program is 27 consecutive months, with new admission classes beginning each January. The program is offered on a full-time basis; with educational experiences scheduled between the hours of 7 a.m. and 5 p.m.
Students will engage in formal classroom lectures and also gain extensive hands-on education by participating in laboratory exercises before starting their clinical rotations. Within the clinical rotations, students will have the opportunity to apply their understanding of the classroom material by performing a wide variety of ultrasound examination under the supervision of registered sonographers.
What is the Program's Affiliation with Alvernia University?
For the purpose of assisting students in earning an academic degree, Reading Hospital School of Health Sciences has entered into an affiliation agreement with Alvernia University. Through a dual-affiliation agreement, students who enroll in the hospital-based Diagnostic Medical Sonography program at Reading Hospital School of Health Sciences will simultaneously enroll in Alvernia University’s Associate of Sciences in Diagnostic Medical Sonography degree program. Dually enrolled students who successfully complete all aspects of Reading Hospital School of Health Sciences Diagnostic Medical Sonography curriculum are eligible to graduate with two awards, each conferred by their respective institution:
- A certificate of completion in Diagnostic Medical Sonography from Reading Hospital School of Health Sciences; and,
- An Associate of Science in Diagnostic Medical Sonography from Alvernia University
Dually enrolled students must remain aware of the need to meet all requirements of both programs. Reading Hospital School of Health Sciences Diagnostic Medical Sonography program and that offered by Alvernia University, as they are two separate entities.
What Are the Admissions Requirements?
Individuals seeking admission to the program must:
- Be a citizen of the United States or provide documentation of permanent residency or working status.
- Have a high school diploma or other state-authorized examination. The school does not admit students on the ability-to-benefit testing process.
- Have a cumulative GPA of 2.5. Preferred consideration is given to applicants with a 3.0 cumulative GPA or higher. At minimum, applicants must show proof of 16 units and an earned grade of “C” or better in the following high school subjects:
- English: 4 units
- Social Studies: 3 units
- Mathematics: 3 units, including Algebra I
- Science: 3 units, including Physics or Chemistry/Lab (Physics is preferred)
Applicants may be required to validate minimum admission requirements through college-level coursework.
- Successful completion of an interview, which is granted by the Program Director to the best qualified candidates.
- SAT: 500 in each section; ACT composite of 19, essay score of 7 or higher. Exceptions to the SAT/ACT requirement will be considered on an individual basis.
- Satisfactory scores on the pre-admission examination that assesses dexterity and visual sharpness. DMS applicants can only test once in the same admission cycle. The scores are valid for up to two years; however, applicants will be required to take the latest version of the exam regardless of past scores.
- TOEFL paper-based score of 560 or internet-based score of 83 (if applicable).
- Submission of two official School of Health Sciences reference forms. Please note: Applicants must use the official School of Health Sciences reference forms when applying for admission. The reference form for the DMS Program should be completed by a current or past employer, a supervisor, a teacher/instructor, a counselor and/or clergy.
In addition to the minimum requirements, candidates who demonstrate "above average" educational potential will be considered for preferred admission based on a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher, earned "B" or better in college level coursework in Mathematics, Biology, and English or Communications. Additionally, the program will consider recommendations with confidence rating and exemplary demonstration of communication and interpersonal skills during the formal admission interview.
Students must possess certain physical and mental attributes to be able to complete the curriculum. Please review the Essential Functions prior to applying to the program. A student must meet these expectations with or without reasonable accommodation.
A numeric evaluation system is used during the admission process to objectively determine the suitability of each candidate.
What is the Application Deadline for January Admission?
The Diagnostic Medical Sonography Program admits a new class every January. The application deadline for January enrollment is June 1 or when qualified student capacity has been reached.
Where Can I Find More Information?
Reading Hospital School of Health Sciences
Department of Admissions
P.O. Box 16052
Reading, PA 19612-6052