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Certificate DMS Program Overview

Medical Ultrasound

This diagnostic medical sonography certificate program prepares students to become diagnostic medical sonographers (SOC code 29-2032.00). Information on the career can be obtained at

The total cost of tuition and fees, room and board, books and other supplies for the entire certificate program is approximately $23,520 minus financial aid for which a student may qualify. 16 students completed the program in the spring of 2010. The on-time completion rate for these students was 100%, meaning all completed the program within the 18 month normal completion time.

Program Accreditation

The certificate program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) 1361 Park Street, Clearwater, Florida 33756. Phone number is 727-210-2350. Information on program accreditation can be found at

In 2013, the program received the maximum ten year accreditation award indicating compliance with all standards and consistency achieving program outcomes.

Program accreditation encompasses an in-depth review of the following, but not limited to, program’s curriculum, clinical education, satisfaction of student, graduate, and employer, national and certification exam rates. The Joint Review Committee on Education in Diagnostic Medical Sonography (JRC-DMS) is the committee for accreditation that establishes the accreditation standards and guidelines in conjunction with CAAHEP. Information on the standards and guidelines can be located at The process requires several steps; review of the submitted self-study, on-site review by a team of two qualified individuals, review by the JRC-DMS Board of Directors and then a recommendation is forwarded to CAAHEP for their review. Final accreditation decision is from CAAHEP.

Programmatic accreditation by CAAHEP is the best educational pathway for graduates to be eligible to apply for national certification examinations. For information on educational pathways for eligibility to apply for national certification examinations, please visit and

It is essential for all individuals interested in pursuing a career in sonography that you meet at least one of the educational pathways. As you explore sonography program, feel free to contact the certification organization and inquire what the eligibility pathways are and if the program aligns with the requirements. For Misericordia University, CAAHEP accreditation is the pathway that allows the graduates to apply for national certification examinations through the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonographers or the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists.

In addition, if a future goal includes a bachelor degree or masters degree, you will want to seek information regarding the portability of the sonography course credits from that educational facility to transfer to another institute to receive credit for work that has been completed.

DMS Class of 2013


Example of Medical Sonography

Looking for a challenging and rewarding professional career?
Look no further!

 Beginning to look for a sonography (ultrasound) program

Misericordia University offers an 18-month certificate program in Diagnostic Medical Sonography (DMS), more commonly referred to as ultrasound. The certificate program is designed for adult or non-traditional learners offering convenient and predictable scheduling with alternating weekend classes and a weekday clinical education component. Classes enter in late August each year.

Beginning to look for a sonography (ultrasound) program:

          It is important to research sonography programs to determine which program will provide you with the best education. It is important to attend a CAAHEP accredited program to allow you to apply for national certification exams. Information you want to seek is the experience of the faculty, number of clinical hours in the program, national examination pass rates and employment rates. The Society of Diagnostic Medical Sonography (SDMS) provides a list of suggested questions to ask a program in your decision making process. SDMS Questionnaire 2012 to see Misericordia University's responses to these questions, plus some additional important questions to ask.

Attractive Design of the Program

Across the 18 months, the program integrates classroom learning with simulated lab experiences and clinical education. The on-campus courses are scheduled in an every other weekend format (Saturday and Sunday) for each of the semesters. The first semester, the students attend our on-campus simulated lab to average approximately 3 hours per week. Simulated lab is available during the week in both daytime and evening hours to accommodate a variety of work schedules. This activity prepares the student to transition into the clinical setting as an active participant in the real healthcare environment.

Between weekend classes, Internet communication and group discussion occurs frequently to reinforce lecture and discuss sonographic topics. During January and February, the students are placed in their clinical site for 1 day and 2 days per week, respectively, then in late February or early March, students begin their 32 hours of clinical per week and classes every other weekend, not to exceed 40 hours per week for 1 year. The typical schedule for clinical attendance is Monday through Thursday from 7:00-3:30 or 7:30-4:00. Occasionally a clinical site may request alternative scheduling to maximize the student’s education.

Students attend both class and clinical during the summer to provide continuity of education. Vacation dates are provided to the class of students at beginning of spring semester.

What is Sonography?

Diagnostic Medical Sonography is a diagnostic imaging modality that uses high frequency sound waves to evaluate anatomical structures found within the body. Sonographic examinations include abdominal, obstetrical, gynecological, neonatal, vascular and cardiac. Sonographers (ultrasound technician or technologist) perform their work in various medical settings including hospitals, outpatient imaging centers and physician offices. As a sonographer, you will experience an exciting and challenging profession that is greatly respected by the physicians that interpret the examinations. It is a profession of continual learning with the rapid advances in technology.

To view a short video overviewing sonography, please go to:

Goals of the Program

The primary goals of the program are to prepare the student to become a well-rounded, fully competent sonographer in the areas of abdominal and OB/GYN sonography and become nationally certified in these areas. This is accomplished through a specially designed curriculum of high quality didactic courses, simulated lab and clinical experience in a clinical education site. These components are required to be taken in a specific sequence to correlate the lecture material with hands-on scanning.

National examinations are given by the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonography. Upon completion of the program, the students will be eligible to apply for the Ultrasound Physics examination,  and the Abdominal and Obstetrics/Gynecology specialty examinations. To earn the credential of Registered Diagnostic Medical Sonographer (RDMS) the Single Physics and Instrumentation examination and at least one of the specialty exams must be successfully completed.

The goals of the program are founded on the values attributed to individual students, the diagnostic medical sonography profession and to foster an environment of continual learning. The goals are as follows:

Goal 1: Recognize the needs of the patient are first and foremost and possess the knowledge and skills to attend those needs, while adhering to the SDMS Code of Ethics.

Goal 2: Interact and communicate with the community, medical staff, and fellow colleagues, in a professional and humanistic manner.

Goal 3: Recognize emergency patient conditions and possess the skills to initiate life saving first aid and basic life support procedures.

Goal 4: Apply the knowledge and skills obtained through program education to perform quality diagnostic medical sonography.

Goal 5: Using independent judgment, interpret and evaluate the sonographic images for diagnostic quality.

Goal 6: Demonstrate concern and actions for staying abreast of new developments in the field, as well as further self-development.

Goal 7: Demonstrate critical thinking skills and writing skills.

Goal 8: Apply the knowledge and skills obtained through program education to successfully pass the certification given by the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers (ARDMS).

Goal 9: Apply the principle of ALARA and demonstrate knowledge of tissue interaction and bioeffects.

The achievement of these goals will prepare the graduate to be a competent entry-level general sonographer in the cognitive (knowledge), psychomotor (skills), and affective (behavior) learning domains.

Admission Criteria

To be considered for entrance into the sonography certificate program, applicants must meet one of the following three pathways:

  1. Graduate of an accredited allied health program (minimum of two years) and completion of pre-requisites listed in Pathway #3 with a minimum grade of C.


  2. Graduate of a Bachelor degree program, and completion of prerequisites listed in Pathway #3 with a minimum grade of C.


  3. Completion of prerequisites at the College or post secondary level with a ‘C’ or higher to include the following:
Human Anatomy and Physiology I & II Ethics
Physics Math or Algebra
English (Oral or written communication) Patient Care
Medical Terminology

Note: Sonography Patient Care and Medical Terminology can be taken as corequisites in the first session of the program.

In addition, for those wishing to pursue a degree, the University offers a dual profession with a Bachelor of Science in Medical Imaging and a Certificate in Diagnostic Medical Sonography which can be completed in a little less than 5 academic years.


What if I do not have some or all of the prerequisites?


Misericordia University offers the pre-requisites in various formats to accommodate the variety of an individual’s schedule. Courses can be taken in the traditional day-time format, evening, weekend, on-line or off campus through our Expressway offerings or a combination of times. Prerequisites can be completed in 1 year attending on a part-time basis. A sample of the schedule could be:


Fall Semester Spring Semester Summer
Anatomy & Physiology I
BIO 121 or BIO 211
Anatomy & Physiology II
BIO 122 or BIO 212
General Physics
PHY 117
MTH 120 or 115
PHL 200 or 223
ENG 103, ENG 151 or BUS 107

Medical Terminology (MI 106) is offered on-line in the fall and spring semesters and Sonography Patient Care (DMS) is offered in a weekend format just prior to the start of the program each August. These courses can be taken as a prerequisite or corequisite.

Contact the Chair of the Department by calling 570-674-6790 or email: for more information on prerequisite courses and a schedule that will accommodate you.

Clinical Education Sites

The program has affiliation agreements with numerous clinical sites, both hospitals and outpatient imaging centers, for students to gain the skills required to master the art of scanning and creating quality images. Every attempt is made to place students within a 45-60 minute drive from their geographical area, however there may be times that it may be difficult and students are given notification during the interview and acceptance process. Students must have the financial and time availability to travel up to 1 hour one way, if necessary for clinical placement.  Transportation is the responsibility of the student.

Clinical Education Requirements

Accepted students must submit the following documentation prior to the start of the program:

FBI Background Check

Child Abuse Clearance

Health Physical to include documentation of immunizations, Tuberculin test and Hepatitis B vaccination (form provided)

CPR certification for health care providers through the American Heart Association,Red Cross or an organization approved by the program

Proof of Medical Insurance Coverage

HIPAA education

Individual clinical sites may require additional documentation, such as drug screening which varies in the timeframe of being tested and entering the clinical setting; thus, the clinical coordinator will inform you as to when to have the test done. Clinical education requirements are at the expense of the student.


College of Health Sciences
Clinical Education Policies

(updated May 2012)


Technical Standards/Essential Functions

The practice of Diagnostic Medical Sonography requires a variety of physical, mental and emotional tasks. To ensure the safety of the patient and the success of the student, the applicant must be able to perform the following:

  • Sufficiently observe patients and evaluate sonograms
  • Lift more than 50 pounds routinely
  • Work with arms extended 90 degrees to the axis of the body
  • Push and pull routinely
  • Move portable sonographic equipment for bedside examinations
  • Bend, kneel or squat routinely
  • Work standing on feet 60% of the time
  • Perform procedures on patients with health problems
  • Assist patients on and off examination tables to and from wheelchairs and stretchers
  • Possess sufficient verbal and written skills to effectively communicate in English with patients and staff
  • Visual ability to acquire and assess diagnostic sonographic images
  • Hear well enough to monitor patient comfort, vital signs and safety
  • Organize and accurately perform the individual steps of a sonographic examination in proper sequence
  • Obtain CPR certification through the American Red Cross or American Heart Association for health care providers
  • Work with other students, faculty and patients under stressful conditions, including but not limited to medically or emotionally unstable patients, situations requiring rapid adaptations and the provision of CPR


The enrolled student must obtain Health Clearance through Misericordia University’s Student Health Center. Students must have their physician complete the program’s medical form which requires the physician to assess the student and attest the student’s ability to perform the essential functions listed above. This process is outlined in Misericordia University’s College of Health Sciences policies and procedures, Policy # 8. The policy can be located at and click under sonography certificate program, clinical requirements.

If a student cannot demonstrate the skills and abilities listed above, it is the responsibility of the student to request an appropriate accommodation in either the educational or clinical environment with reasonable notice to the university and clinical site prior to the start date of the certificate program. The University uses independent clinical education sites that may or may not be willing or able to offer the same reasonable accommodations that are made available by the University. For more information regarding requesting reasonable accommodations refer to the current Misericordia University Undergraduate Catalog or contact the Office for Students with Disabilities at (570) 674-6454.


Application Process


For consideration, students must complete an application for admission and two completed reference forms. Applications can be completed on line by going to select Future students and apply now. The certificate program is a part-time undergraduate program. Completed reference forms and official transcripts from high school, all colleges and post-secondary education are to be sent to the Admissions office with attention to Mrs. M. Sheridan at Misericordia University 301 Lake. Street, Dallas, PA 18612.

Applicants are encouraged to submit their application in the fall of the year before their desire to enter. For example, for applicants interested in entering in September 2014 are recommended to submit applications in the fall of 2013.  Applicants unable to attend one of the Open Forum information session will be required to make an appointment with the Chair to be informed of the program requirements. First round of application decisions occurs in late February/early March for the class entering in that August. Applications received after December 15th will be accepted with decisions begin provided to applicants in which there is availability for clinical placement.

Admission criteria used for decisions include post-secondary GPA(s), grades achieved in the program prerequisite courses, number of credits taken in a semester, reference forms and responses to the applicant interview questions.  Minimum GPA for consideration of entrance into the program is 2.5. Program admission is competitive.

Misericordia University does not discriminate on the basis of race, age, color, disability, religion, gender, nationality, marital status, sexual orientation or ethnic origin in the administration of its educational policies, admission policies, scholarship and loan programs, athletic, or other College administered programs.

Graduation and Certification

Upon successful completion of the program, the student will receive a certificate of completion and will be eligible to apply for national examinations through the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS) with specialties in abdominal and OB/GYN. Visit the ARDMS Web site for further information.

For additional information on the program or application process,
please contact Maureen Sheridan, Assistant Director of Admissions-Part-Time and Undergraduate Programs at:
1-866-262-6363 or E-mail:

For specific questions related to eligibility, contact Sheryl Goss at:
570-674-6790 or E-mail:

The program was initiated through an Allied Health Projects Grant by the Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration, Bureau of Health Professions. Through this funding, the program designed a simulated lab for students to utilize throughout the program to assist in developing and mastering their hands-on scanning skills.

The program is also funded through a sonography scholarship fund established by the family of the late Dr. Thomas E. Baker, cardiologist.

Where can I find information on the profession of sonography?

There are several websites that can be helpful. Recommendations are the Society of Diagnostic Medical Sonography at or the American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine at