Associate of Applied Science Degree

Certificate of Completion - Important information about the educational debt, earnings, and completion rates of students who attend this program can be found on the following https://dacc.nmsu.edu/gainfulemployment/.

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, pediatric sonography, 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, Ruidoso, and Silver City, New Mexico, as well as 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. Once accepted into the Diagnostic Medical Sonography program the curriculum for certificate and associate degree pathways is identical .

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 been awarded continuing accreditation status by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). Students who satisfy program requirements are 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 beyond graduation is required to maintain credentials earned by the ARDMS and ARRT; and for maintaining state licensure in New Mexico.

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.

Special Admissions Criteria for Certificate Track

This is a limited-entry program accepting students only in the fall semester. Criteria and factors used in evaluating applicants include the following:

  • Completion of either
    • (a) an associate degree in an allied health program which is medically related and involves human-patient care (proof of current certification in ones' allied health area is required), OR
    • (b) a bachelor's degree in a related field that includes at least one semester of anatomy & physiology.
  • Overall GPA of 3.0 or higher
  • College-level course in algebra (MATH 121G College Algebra or equivalent)
  • College-level course in general physics or radiographic physics or introductory physics for the health sciences or equivalent.

Course Fees

In addition to tuition, a fee of $175 is charged for each of the following courses: DMS 170, DMS 180, DMS 270, DMS 280.

DMS 170Clinical Practicum I2
DMS 180Clinical Practicum II5
DMS 270Clinical Practicum III5
DMS 280Clinical Practicum IV5

DMS 100. Introduction to Clinical Practicum

1 Credit

Introduction to working in the medical environment. Includes preparation for clinical internship and observation hours in the ultrasound department. Restricted to: DMS majors. Restricted to Community Colleges campuses only.

DMS 101. Introduction Sonography/Patient Care

2 Credits

Introduction to the careers in sonography, terminology, medical ethics, scanning planes, applications of ultrasound, professional standards and patient care. May be repeated up to 2 credits. Restricted to: DMS majors. Restricted to Community Colleges campuses only.

DMS 116. Introduction to Vascular Technology

2 Credits

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

DMS 116 L. Vascular Technology I Lab

1 Credit

Includes protocol development, scanning techniques, recognition of anatomical relationships and the normal ultrasound appearance of the carotid arteries and peripheral vasculature utilizing real-time sonographic equipment including Doppler. Restricted to: DMS majors. Restricted to Community Colleges campuses only.

DMS 130. Pelvic Sonography

1 Credit

Includes the anatomy, sectional anatomy and normal physiology of the pelvic structures; including the uterus, ovaries, prostate, pelvic muscles, lower GI, appendix and vessels as well as scanning techniques, sonographic appearance and Doppler evaluation of the pelvis. Restricted to: DMS majors. Restricted to Community Colleges campuses only.

DMS 130 L. Pelvic Sonography Lab

1 Credit

Includes protocol development, scanning techniques, recognition of anatomical relationships and the normal ultrasound appearance of the pelvic structures including the uterus, ovaries, prostate, lower gastrointestinal system, appendix and pelvic muscles utilizing real-time sonographic equipment including Doppler. Restricted to: DMS majors. Restricted to Community Colleges campuses only.

DMS 140. Abdominal Sonography

3 Credits

Includes the anatomy, sectional anatomy and normal physiology of prevertebral vessels, liver, biliary system, pancreas, upper gastrointestinal system, kidneys, adrenals, and spleen as well as scanning techniques, sonographic appearance and Doppler evaluation of the deep abdominal organs. Restricted to: DMS majors. Restricted to Community Colleges campuses only.

DMS 140 L. Abdominal Sonography Lab

1 Credit

Includes protocol development, scanning techniques, recognition of anatomical relationships and the normal ultrasound appearance of prevertebral vessels, liver, biliary system, pancreas, upper gastrointestinal system, kidneys and spleen utilizing real-time sonographic equipment including Doppler. Restricted to: DMS majors. Restricted to Community Colleges campuses only.

DMS 150. Sonographic Principles and Instrumentation I

1 Credit

Includes the fundamental properties and mathematical relationships between variables of wave parameters, acoustic variables, attenuation, pulsed wave operation, transducers, system operation, Doppler, and artifacts utilizing real-time sonographic equipment. Restricted to: DMS majors. Restricted to Community Colleges campuses only.

DMS 160. 1st Trimester Obstetric Sonography

1 Credit

Includes the embryology, anatomy, sectional anatomy, normal physiology, biometrics, assessment, and sonographic appearance of the 1st trimester fetus, placenta, uterus and adnexa as well as scanning techniques according to recognized protocols. Restricted to: DMS majors. Restricted to Community Colleges campuses only.

DMS 165. 2nd/3rd Trimester Obstetric Sonography

1 Credit

Includes the anatomy, sectional anatomy, normal physiology, biometrics, assessment, and sonographic appearance of the 2nd and 3rd trimester fetus, placenta, uterus, and adnexa as well as scanning techniques according to recognized protocols. Restricted to: DMS majors. Restricted to Community Colleges campuses only.

DMS 170. Clinical Practicum I

2 Credits (8-10P)

Development of technical and professional aspects of diagnostic ultrasound in a hospital or clinical setting at the developmental level. Ongoing reinforcement and broadening of knowledge base related to hospital procedures and policies. Continued observation, assistance and performance of patient care and sonographic duties under direct supervision. Restricted to: DMS majors. Restricted to Community Colleges campuses only.

DMS 180. Clinical Practicum II

5 Credits

Development of technical and professional aspects of diagnostic ultrasound in a hospital or clinical setting at the beginner level. Ongoing reinforcement and broadening of knowledge base related to hospital procedures and policies. Continue observation, assistance and performance of patient care and sonographic duties under direct supervision. Restricted to: DMS majors. Restricted to Community Colleges campuses only.

DMS 201. Sonographic Procedures Lab

1 Credit

Advances scanning skills, system optimization, anatomic recognition of abdominal and pelvic structures utilizing real-time sonographic equipment including Doppler. Includes sonographic evaluation of the first trimester pregnancy and normal fetus. Restricted to: DMS majors. Restricted to Community Colleges campuses only.

DMS 216. Vascular Technology II

2 Credits

Includes the pathology and pathophysiology of the vascular system, scanning techniques, clinical presentation, ultrasound appearance and Doppler evaluation seen with pathological conditions of the carotid arteries, deep and peripheral vascular systems. Restricted to: DMS majors. Restricted to Community Colleges campuses only.

DMS 216 L. Vascular Technology II Lab

1 Credit

Includes progressive development of skills following recognized protocols, scanning techniques, recognition of anatomical relationships with differentiation of normal and abnormal ultrasound appearance of the carotid arteries, deep and peripheral vascular systems utilizing real-time sonographic equipment including Doppler. Restricted to: DMS majors. Restricted to Community Colleges campuses only.

DMS 226. Sonographic Case Studies I

1 Credit

Includes integration of didactic knowledge, clinical presentation, laboratory values, sonographic appearance and related medical imaging of a variety of pathological conditions through a variety of case analysis and presentations. Restricted to: DMS majors. Restricted to Community Colleges campuses only.

DMS 227. Sonographic Case Studies II

1 Credit

Continuation of DMS 226, integration of didactic knowledge, clinical presentation, laboratory values, sonographic appearance and related medical imaging of a variety of pathological conditions through a variety of case analysis and presentations. Restricted to: DMS majors. Restricted to Community Colleges campuses only.

DMS 230. Gynecologic Pathology

2 Credits

Includes the pathology and pathophysiology of the female reproductive system, scanning techniques, clinical presentation, ultrasound appearance and Doppler evaluation seen with pathological conditions of the uterus, ovaries, and adnexa. Restricted to: DMS majors. Restricted to Community Colleges campuses only.

DMS 240. Abdominal Pathology I

2 Credits

Includes the pathology and pathophysiology of abdominal structures of the prevertebral vessels, liver, biliary system, pancreas, spleen and gastrointestinal system; scanning techniques, ultrasound appearance, clinical presentation and Doppler evaluation seen with pathological conditions. Restricted to: DMS majors. Restricted to Community Colleges campuses only.

DMS 245. Abdominal Pathology II

2 Credits

Includes the pathology and pathophysiology of abdominal structures of the genitourinary system, spleen, retroperitoneum, adrenal glands, abdominal wall and prostate; scanning techniques, ultrasound appearance, clinical presentation and Doppler evaluation seen with pathological conditions. Restricted to: DMS majors. Restricted to Community Colleges campuses only.

DMS 248. Pediatric Sonography

2 Credits

Includes the anatomy of the brain, skull, spine, hips, and normal developmental changes as well as pathology and pathophysiology of specific conditions that affect the premature infant, newborn and pediatric population across a variety of body systems. Restricted to: DMS majors. Restricted to Community Colleges campuses only.

DMS 250. Sonographic Principles and Instrumentation II

3 Credits

Includes properties of sound and its use in diagnostic imaging, artifacts, system operation, Doppler, basic hemodynamics, image optimization, bio effects, quality assurance, and new technologies in ultrasound imaging. Restricted to: DMS majors. Restricted to Community Colleges campuses only.

DMS 255. Vascular Physics

2 Credits

Includes a review of sound properties and its use in diagnostic imaging, artifacts, system operation, Doppler, image optimization, bio effects, quality assurance, and in-depth application of fluid properties and hemodynamics in vascular ultrasound imaging. Restricted to: DMS majors. Restricted to Community Colleges campuses only.

DMS 260. High Risk Obstetric Sonography

3 Credits

Includes congenital malformations of the developing fetus, high risk pregnancies, multiple gestation, maternal conditions and invasive procedures. Restricted to: DMS majors. Restricted to Community Colleges campuses only.

DMS 270. Clinical Practicum III

5 Credits

Continued development of technical and professional aspects of diagnostic ultrasound in a hospital or clinical setting at an intermediate level. Ongoing reinforcement and broadening of knowledge base related to hospital procedures and policies. Continued observation, assistance and performance of patient care and sonographic duties under limited supervision. Restricted to: DMS majors. Restricted to Community Colleges campuses only.

DMS 280. Clinical Practicum IV

5 Credits

Application of technical and professional aspects of diagnostic ultrasound in a hospital or clinical setting at a proficient level. Ongoing reinforcement and broadening of knowledge base related to hospital procedures and policies. Continued observation, assistance and performance of patient care and sonographic duties under limited supervision. Restricted to: DMS majors. Restricted to Community Colleges campuses only.

DMS 290. Small Parts & Superficial Structures

2 Credits

Includes anatomy, pathology and pathophysiology, protocol development, scanning techniques, recognition of anatomical structures and the normal and pathological ultrasound appearance of the breast, thyroid, neck, scrotum, non-cardiac chest and musculoskeletal ultrasound. Restricted to: DMS majors. Restricted to Community Colleges campuses only.

DMS 291. Registry Preparation: OB/GYN

1 Credit

Registry preparation mock examinations over materials covered in Obstetric and Gynecological ultrasound. Students must pass this course with a 74% or better OR pass national certification in OB/GYN Sonography. Restricted to: DMS majors. Restricted to Community Colleges campuses only.

DMS 292. Registry Preparation: Abdomen

1 Credit

Registry preparation mock examinations over materials covered in abdominal ultrasound including small parts and superficial structures. Students must pass this course with a 74% or better OR pass ARDMS national certification exam in Abdominal Sonography. Restricted to: DMS majors. Restricted to Community Colleges campuses only.

DMS 293. Registry Preparation: Vascular

1 Credit

Registry preparation mock examinations over materials covered in vascular ultrasound. Students must pass this course with a 74% or better OR pass national certification in Vascular Technology. Restricted to: DMS majors. Restricted to Community Colleges campuses only.

Name: Darla Matthew, Program Director

Office Location: DAHL 190

Phone: (575) 528-7047

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