Diagnostic Medical Sonography

Associate of Applied Science Degree

Certificate of Completion

Sonography is an allied health specialty that uses high-frequency sound waves (ultrasound) to image many structures in the body. Sonographers function as members of the healthcare team by providing and evaluating high quality images that aid physicians in the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. Sonographers are highly motivated, independent, critical thinkers who enjoy one-on-one patient interaction.

Employment opportunities are available in a variety of settings, such as hospitals, physicians’ offices, and veterinarian practices. There are also opportunities in sales, education, management, research, marketing, and product development. Because job prospects in the Las Cruces–El Paso area occasionally are limited, it may be necessary to conduct a wider job search.

Training involves a combination of academic courses and a clinical internship in the ultrasound department of area hospitals and clinics where students will gain hands-on training under the supervision of registered diagnostic medical sonographers and will work alongside physicians and other health-care professionals. Coursework covers abdominal and OB-Gyn ultrasound, neurosonography, acoustic physics and instrumentation, and introductory vascular technology. Students will participate in lab activities and learn to write case reports and journal article reviews. The clinical sites include facilities in Las Cruces, Alamogordo, and Silver City, New Mexico, as well as in El Paso, Texas.

The Diagnostic Medical Sonography program offers a certificate track for students who already possess an associate degree in a medically related, allied healthcare program or a bachelor’s degree in a related field. The associate degree track is designed for those who do not meet the entrance requirements for the certificate-track program.

Students in the Diagnostic Medical Sonography program are required to complete and pass a variety of background/screening measures that include a security background check, FBI fingerprinting and/or drug screening, in order to participate in the clinical education portion of the program. Past criminal violations may prevent a student from completing the program and gaining employment in the field.

The DACC Diagnostic Medical Sonography program has achieved continuing accreditation status by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). Graduates of the program are immediately qualified to apply for national certification examinations in the specialty areas of Abdominal and OB/GYN Sonography. These examinations are administered by the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS) and/or the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT). Licensing requirements vary by state; New Mexico requires sonographers to obtain a state license. Continuing education is required by the ARDMS, ARRT and state licensure.

Information on requirements, forms, and deadlines for applications are available on our website at https://dacc.nmsu.edu/dms/. You can also find information at the Health Sciences Division Office (room DAHL 190), or by calling (575) 527-7730.

Required Physical and Cognitive Skills

Sonography students must be able to do the following:

  1. Read, write and communicate effectively in English.
  2. Possess emotional and physical health sufficient to meet the demands of the profession.
  3. Position, move, and lift patients in wheelchairs and stretchers.
  4. Maintain prolonged arm positions necessary for scanning.
  5. Position and move ultrasound equipment on wheels (up to 500 lbs.)
  6. Effectively operate sonographic equipment.
  7. Evaluate sonograms, acquiring appropriate diagnostic information.
  8. Integrate diagnostic sonograms, laboratory results, patient histories and medical records, and adapt sonographic examinations as necessary.
  9. Use independent judgment to acquire the optimal diagnostic sonographic information in each examination performed.
  10. Evaluate, synthesize, and communicate diagnostic information to be used by the attending physician.
  11. Communicate effectively with the patient and healthcare team, recognizing the special nature of sonographic exams and patients’ needs.
  12. Establish and maintain effective working relationships with the public and healthcare team.
  13. Follow established departmental procedures.
  14. Work efficiently and cope with emergency situations.

Course Fees

In addition to tuition, a fee of $175 is charged for each of the following courses:

DMS 120Clinical Internship I4
DMS 122Clinical Internship II4
DMS 124Clinical Internship III8
DMS 126Clinical Internship IV8

DMS 101. Introduction to Sonography

2 Credits

Introduction to the principles of ultrasound, terminology, scanning planes and applications of ultrasound. Includes observation in an ultrasound facility. All DMS courses are restricted to students who have been accepted into the Diagnostic Medical Sonography Program. Restricted to: Community Colleges only. Restricted to DMS majors.

Corequisite(s): DMS 112, DMS 113.

DMS 110. Ultrasound Physics

4 Credits

Properties of sound and its use in diagnostic imaging; technical components involved in ultrasound imaging; how to use ultrasound equipment during lab sessions; the bioeffects of high-frequency sound; and artifacts created during imaging. Restricted to: DMS majors. Restricted to Dona Ana campus only.

DMS 112. Abdominal Sonography I

4 Credits (3+3P)

Includes anatomy, physiology, and pathology of the abdominal organ systems; scanning techniques, ultrasound appearance of normal structures, and changes seen with pathologic conditions. Restricted to: DMS majors. Restricted to Community Colleges campuses only.

Corequisite(s): DMS 116,DMS 101,DMS 113.

DMS 113. GYN Sonography

3 Credits (2+2P)

Includes female pelvic anatomy, scanning techniques, pelvic pathology, sonography, and Doppler findings in normal and abnormal exams, introduction to human embryology, and first trimester pregnancy. Restricted to: Community Colleges only. Restricted to DMS majors.

Corequisite(s): DMS 101, DMS 112, DMS 116.

DMS 114. OB Sonography

4 Credits (3+2P)

Includes review of human embryology, normal fetal anatomy, obstetrical scanning techniques, fetal biometry, fetal abnormalities, fetal Doppler, the role of ultrasound in genetic testing and chromosome abnormalities, fetal echocardiography, and congenital heart abnormalities. Restricted to: DMS majors. Restricted to Community Colleges campuses only.

DMS 115. Abdominal Sonography II

3 Credits (2+2P)

Includes anatomy, physiology, and pathology of superficial structures, including female breast, thyroid, and neck structures, male pelvis, and musculoskeletal system; scanning techniques, ultrasound appearance of normal structures, and changes seen with pathologic conditions; abdominal Doppler principles of applications and organ transplant sonography. Restricted to: DMS majors. Restricted to Dona Ana campus only.

DMS 116. Introduction to Vascular Technology

3 Credits (2+2P)

Basic ultrasound physics and principles, peripheral vascular anatomy, hemodynamics, Doppler evaluation, peripheral vascular scanning techniques, physiologic testing and the more common pathologies of the carotid arteries, and the peripheral vascular system. Restricted to: Community Colleges only. Restricted to DMS majors.

Corequisite(s): DMS 101, DMS 112, DMS 113.

DMS 117. Advanced Sonographic Procedures

2 Credits

This course will focus on the anatomy, pathology, laboratory values and sonographic appearances of organ transplants, the musculoskeletal system and the breast. Students will also demonstrate knowledge in age related competency (i.e. neonates, pediatric patients, adolescents, adults, and Obstetric patients) and be able to respond appropriately to parental needs. Restricted to: DMS majors. Restricted to Community Colleges only.

DMS 118. Neurosonography

2 Credits (1+3P)

This course will cover detailed anatomy of neonatal brain and central nervous system. This course includes scanning techniques and indications for performing neurosonograms of the newborn; as well as common pathologies seen in the fetal and newborn brain and central nervous system. Restricted to: DMS majors. Restricted to Community Colleges campuses only.

DMS 120. Clinical Internship I

4 Credits

Provides the practical, hands-on experience required for both the national registry exam and for quality patient care. Students will spend approximately 32 hours per week at their assigned clinical site performing ultrasound exams under the supervision of the clinical staff. Students return to campus periodically to participate in advanced seminars. Six-week course. Restricted to: DMS majors. Restricted to Community Colleges only.

DMS 122. Clinical Internship II

4 Credits

Provides the practical, hands-on experience required for both the national registry exam and for quality patient care. Students will spend approximately 32 hours per week at their assigned clinical site performing ultrasound exams under the supervision of the clinical staff. Students return to campus periodically to participate in advanced seminars. Six-week course. Restricted to: DMS majors. Restricted to Community Colleges only.

DMS 124. Clinical Internship III

8 Credits

Provides the practical, hands-on experience required for both the national registry exam and for quality patient care. Students will spend approximately 32 hours per week at their assigned clinical site performing ultrasound exams under the supervision of the clinical staff. Students return to campus periodically to participate in advanced seminars. Restricted to: DMS majors. Restricted to Dona Ana campus only.

Prerequisite(s): DMS 122 or Consent of Instructor.

DMS 126. Clinical Internship IV

8 Credits

Provides the practical, hands-on experience required both for national certification and for quality patient care. Students will spend approximately 32 hours per week at their assigned clinical site performing ultrasound exams under the supervision of the clinical staff. Students will learn more difficult exams and will work on case reports and course review materials. Restricted to: DMS majors. Restricted to Community Colleges campuses only.

Prerequisite(s): DMS 124 or consent of instructor.

Name: Darla Matthew, Program Director

Office Location: DAHL 190D

Phone: (575) 528-7047

Website: https://dacc.nmsu.edu/dms/