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Diagnostic Medical Sonography

 FAQ about DMS Program

Prospective Students

 

Welcome to the FAQ about DMS Program page. This page is designed to answer the most commonly asked questions prospective students have about the DMS Program. At Montgomery College we strive to provide a comprehensive and thorough education to ready our sonographers of the future for this progressive medical imaging modality. The DMS Program is not a traditional program, it encompasses blended learning, the deliberate connection of educational technology with face-to-face instruction/scanning to enhance and personalize a deep and meaningful curriculum.

Need more answers? Click here to go to the Inside Scoop Main Page.Students are also strongly encouraged to attend a DMS Information Session to discuss any questions or concerns with a faculty member.

 

Question 1:  What is an Associates of Applied Science in Diagnostic Medical Sonography (DMS)? 

Question 2:  What is the application process for the DMS program? 

Question 3:  Are there prerequisite courses for the DMS program? 

Question 4:  What coursework will I have to take to fulfill the General Education Course Requirements for DMS Degree? Can I take these courses prior to admission into the DMS program? 

Question 5:  Does admission take place once or twice a year? How many students are accepted into the program each year? 

Question 6:  What are clinical rotations? Are they required for the DMS program? 

Question 7:  Will I be able to choose my clinical sites? 

Question 8:  Can I work while attending the DMS program? How much time does this program take? 

Question 9:  Will I be a registered sonographer upon graduation? 

Question 10:  When do I qualify to sit for my registry exams? 

Question 11:  Can I take the Board exams more than once if I do not pass? 

Question 12:  What percentage of students successfully complete the DMS program at MC? 

Question 13:  What percentage of students eventually pass their board exams? 

Question 14:  Will the college help students find jobs after graduation? 

Question 15:  Are there any health related side effects for sonographers or students? 

Question 16:  After I complete the program, can I return and learn another specialty concentration? 

Question 17:  I took my anatomy, physiology, physics, and biology 5 years ago. Does Montgomery College accept my old credits?

Question 18:  I am a parent with kids. Can I determine my start and end time at my clinical site?

Question 19:  If I encounter an emergency in my personal life, can I postpone my exam(s) or retake my course?




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1. What is an Associates of Applied Science in Diagnostic Medical Sonography?

 

 An Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S) is an undergraduate academic college degree awarded by and education institution upon completion of a course of study lasting two years of technical training for the degree. That means you'll be taking your subject interest classes and upon successfully completing the requirements will be able to work toward being fully trained in your field at the end of your two-year program. That means, upon successful completion of the two-year DMS program, a student will earn an Associates of Applied Science (A.A.S.) and will be eligible to take board exams offered through the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers (ARDMS).  Additionally, if the DMS graduate should decide to pursue higher education, Montgomery College has obtained many Guaranteed Admission Agreements with four-year universities so that an DMS graduate can transfer into Bachelor of Science Degree programs.  Click on these links to find out more about the  MC-GW transfer opportunity http://smhs.gwu.edu/academics/health-sciences-programs/guaranteed-admission-agreements or  other college transfer opportunities http://cms.montgomerycollege.edu/EDU/Plain.aspx?id=49246 for MCDMS graduates.

 

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2. What is the application process for the DMS program?

 

    Students interested in applying for the DMS program must submit the following information to the Admissions Office/Takoma Park Campus PRIOR to March 1st.


        *  Montgomery College Application and a one time fee (unless you have previously attended Montgomery College).

       * Health Science Application (PDF)  is used for applying to the  Diagnostic Medical Sonography Program  

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3. Are there prerequisite courses for the DMS program?

 

Yes, in order to be considered for admission, there are prerequisites in English, Math, Biology, Anatomy & Physiology, and Physics that must be successfully completed prior to applying to the program. For specifics on the admission process and pre-reqs, see the DMS application on the Health Sciences Admissions page: https://www.montgomerycollege.edu/admissions-registration/health-sciences/index.html

and DMS Admission FAQ's about Admissions to the program.

 

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4. What coursework will I have to take to fulfill the General Education Course Requirements for DMS Degree? Can I take these courses prior to admission into the DMS program?

 

Students in the Montgomery College DMS program must complete 33 credit hours of general education and other required coursework. Some of these courses (e.g. BIOL 212) have prerequisites that must be completed prior to taking them. Students are expected to complete these courses in addition to the credit hours required of the DMS curriculum.

 

Though students are not required to have completed all the general education courses and other required coursework prior to applying to the DMS program, it is highly recommended that students successfully complete as many of these courses before starting the program. 

 

For a suggested course sequence for the DMS program, click on the DMS Admissions tab on the left hand tool bar and scroll down to the bottom of the page.

 

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5. Does admission take place once or twice a year for the DMS program? How many students are accepted into the program each year?

 

Admission to the Diagnostic Medical Sonography program takes place only once a year. All admission applications, transcripts, and placement tests must be submitted BEFORE MARCH 1st for admission into the following summer semester.

The DMS Program admits General Sonography, Echocardiography, and Vascular students once a year. Students will be required to choose their specialty concentration before beginning the program. The capacity of Montgomery College for new DMS students is 30 seats per academic year (18 General, 6 Echo, 6 Vascular).

 

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6. What are clinical rotations? Are they required for the DMS program?

 

Clinical rotation prepares students for the challenging responsibilities of the profession and provide opportunity to acquire a working knowledge of the field, provide a clinical educational experience that enables students to be capable of performing routine sonographic procedures and related functions specific to sonography, provide an education experience that promotes effective communication skills, critical thinking abilities and professionalism, and promote the development of core values and ethical standards necessary for the delivery of quality patient-centered care.

Clinical rotations are formal arrangements that provide DMS students with hands-on experience at an ultrasound facility. 

Learning to produce quality ultrasound images takes a lot of practice. The only way to learn is by scanning. Skills Enhancement Lab time provides students with the opportunity to get additional hands-on scanning in lab on-campus. Attendance at Skills Enhancement Lab is optional supervised scanning time -- all students are encouraged to take advantage of the extra one-on-one help with scanning. 

 

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7. Will I be able to choose my clinical sites?

 

Students do not choose clinical sites for their clinical work. One of the most important reasons is that students have to be assigned in clinical sites that have trained, qualified, and registered sonographers in the specialty concentration the student is enrolled in. Each clinical site is under contract with Montgomery College to ensure appropriate clinical policies and procedures are adhered to. No two clinical experiences are the same, however by the end of the program students will have to had unique clinical experiences necessary for them to be eligiable to work in a clinical setting as entry level sonographers. For these and other reasons necessary to maintain the high standard of ultrasound education in the DMS program, Clinical Concentration Coordinators assign clinical rotation assignments.  In addition, not every clinical site offers opportunities to gain experience in each specialty concentration. Students are assigned to clinical sites based on criteria including but not limited to:

        * Student expression of desired concentration of study (General, Echocardiography & Vascular);

        * Diagnostic lab availability (General, Echocardiography & Vascular);

        * Complements the student's individuality (i.e. technical skill level, interpersonal skills)

        * Exposure of student to a variety of clinical settings, i.e. in-patient and out-patient experiences;

        * Variety in clinical instructorship and case volume handled by the site;

        * Student exposure to a variety of ultrasound equipment

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8. Can I continue to work at my job while enrolled in the DMS program? How much time does this program take?

 
There are no policies prohibiting students from working while attending the DMS program. However, due to the challenging curriculum and the demands of the clinical course hours requirement, many students have found working while in the program to be extremely difficult. Nonetheless, some students have successfully completed the program while working part-time.

Students in this program are expected to comply with the requirements of the program set by the Standards and Guidelines of the Accrediting organization. If a student has a lot of commitments outside of school, the student will need to balance his/her priorities to be able to successfully complete the program requirements.

The program will require the student to complete all the program requirements in order to earn an AAS degree in Diagnostic Medical Sonography. As such, by graduation, all general education courses as well as SONO courses must have been successfully completed. 

 

FIRST YEAR - SONO Courses (only)        

Summer 1: SONO 101 - 1 day a week (+ Optional Skills Enhancement Labs) 

Fall 1: SONO 105, SONO 204 & SONO 261 - 3 days a week (+ Optional Skills Enhancement Labs) for a total of 15 weeks  

Spring 1: SONO 205, SONO 262 + (SONO 112 & 123 for General students OR SONO 245 for Echo students OR SONO 246 for Vascular students) 3 days a week (+ Optional Skills Enhancement Labs) for a total of 15 weeks

SECOND YEAR- SONO Courses (only)

Summer 2: SONO 263 - 4 days a week (Clinical)

Fall 2: SONO 264 + (SONO 232 & 243 for General students OR SONO 229 & 248 Echo students OR SONO 256 for Vascular students) 5 days a week (+ Optional Skills Enhancement Labs) for a total of 15 weeks

Winter 2: SONO 265 & SONO 224 - for a total of 4 weeks 

Spring 2 SONO 266 + (SONO 21 for General students) - 4-5 days a week (+ Optional Skills Enhancement Labs) for a total of 15 weeks 

 

    Time Requirements – Outside of DMS face to face class/lab time:

 

1. If you have any of the general education course requirements to complete, then these additional requirements will increase your total in-class. Sonography students suggest that the more general education courses you can finish before you start the program the more time you can commit to your sonography courses.

2. Also, most classes involve a lot of reading/homework and group project work. Sonography students suggest you plan on at least a few hours at school one additional day a week for getting together with classmates to study, work on group projects and for optional scanning during Skills Enhancement scan labs.

3. Learning to produce diagnostic ultrasound images takes a lot of practice. The only way to learn is by scanning. 

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9. Will I be a registered sonographer upon graduation?


During the 2nd summer session of the program, students will sit for the Sonography Principles and Instrumentationl (SPI Board Exam) administered by the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers (ARDMS) . The successful passing of the SPI Board Exam is a pre-requisite to the 2nd Fall Semester in the DMS Program.

During the final semester in the DMS Program students will to sit for Specialty National Board Exam(s) offered through the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers (ARDMS). Depending on which specialty concentration you complete (i.e. general, vascular, or echocardiography), ARDMS offers the following certifications:

 

        * RDMS - Registered Diagnostic Medical Sonographer

        * RDCS - Registered Diagnostic Cardiac Sonographer

        * RVT - Registered Vascular Technologist

    For more information on certification, click here: http://www.ardms.org

 

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10. When do I qualify to sit for my registry exams?

 

Students will to sit for their national board exam before they complete the DMS program.  The National Board Exam is provided by the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonogarphers (ARDMS) and students must qualify with the ARDMS to sit for their national board exam.  During the 2nd summer in the DMS Program students are required so sit for and pass their SPI Board Exam.  Successful passing of the SPI Board Exam is a pre-requisite to continue to the 2nd Fall Semester in the DMS Program.  During the Final Spring Semester in the DMS Program, students are required to site for their Specialty Board Exams before graduation.  

When planning your examination schedule, you should keep in mind that you are required to take both a physics board exam (SPI) and the corresponding specialty area exam(s) within a 1 year span. For a list of additional considerations and ARDMS requirements for registry applicants, click here ARDMS  Overview of Applicant Process.

 

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11. Can I take the Board exams more than once if I do not pass?

 

Yes, according to the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers (ARDMS) candidates who are unsuccessful in passing an examination and wish to reexamine can reapply. However, there is a mandatory 90-day waiting period after the date of the previous examination before a new examination-eligibility period can be scheduled. Students should be aware that individual employers may have their own policies governing Board exam failure.

 

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12. What percentage of students successfully complete the DMS program at MC?

 

The percentage of students who start and complete the DMS program in two years is published on the DMS Program Outcomes on this website. Note: Financial and family obligations are the most common reasons students do not successfully complete the DMS program.

 

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13. What percentage of students eventually pass their board exams?

 

DMS students have a high pass rate on their board exams. The board exam pass rate varies from year to year, however the DMS board exam pass rates have been consistently higher than that of the national average. Please refer to the DMS Program Outcomes on this website for graduate board pass rates.

 

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14. Will the college help students find jobs after graduation?

 

The college does not have a job placement service for DMS students. However, the DMS program does help with resume building, Registry Review courses for board exams, and job posting from employers. There is a nationwide need for qualified sonographers. Please refer to the DMS Program Outcomes link on this website for job placement ratess.

 

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15. Are there any health related side effects for sonographers or students?

 

Widespread clinical use of diagnostic ultrasound for many years has not revealed harmful effects with prudent use of ultrasound. Studies in humans have revealed no direct link between the correct use of diagnostic ultrasound and any adverse outcome. Although the possibility exists that biological effects may be identified in the future, current information indicates that the benefits to patients far outweigh the risks.

    Visit http://www.aium.org/patient/pamphlets/safety.asp for more information.

 

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16. After I complete the program, can I return and learn another concentration?

 

Sonographers who are currently registered in one specialty concentration may return to the DMS Program at Montgomery College to earn an additional specialty concentration. For more information on the DMS specialty concentrations offered at Montgomery College, visit the DMS Specialty Concentration link. 


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17. I took my anatomy, physiology, physics, and biology 5 years ago. Does Montgomery College accept my old credits?

   

Anatomy and Physiology credits can not be older than 5 years.  All other college credits do not have an expiration date. To determine which college credits will transfer to Montgomery College, you must send official transcripts to the Admission and Records Office for review once you have become a Montgomery College student. To become a MC student you can fill out the MC Online Application.

 

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18. I am a parent with kids. Can I determine my start and end time at my clinical site?


It depends on the clinical site, some clinical sites start a little later, and some start a little earlier. Students are required to set their clinical time with the clinical site. Students are treated like employee's when it comes to clinical time, they must report on time according to their published clinical schedule when they check-in and check-out of clinicals.  


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19. If I encounter an emergency in my personal life, can I postpone my exam(s) or retake my course(s)?


In this situation, students need to address their individual case with the Course Instructor. Any work missed must be made up. The Course Instructor is guided by the college policy on course attendance and course withdrawal.Students who qualify for Disability Support Services(DSS) can complete a intake form with the Disability Support Services Office and speak directly with a DSS counselor.



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