Student on Sonography Machine

What You'll Learn

Oregon Tech diagnostic medical sonography (DMS, or ultrasound) students use leading ultrasound equipment to direct high frequency sound waves into areas of the patient's body. Sonographers operate the equipment, which collects reflected echoes and forms an image that may be videotaped, transmitted, or photographed for interpretation and diagnosis by a physician.

Viewing the screen during the scan, sonographers look for subtle visual cues that contrast healthy areas with unhealthy ones. They decide whether the images are satisfactory for diagnostic purposes and select which ones to store and show to the physician. Sonographers take measurements, calculate values, and analyze the results in preliminary findings for the physicians.

An Oregon Tech degree in Diagnostic Medical Sonography will prepare you to use diagnostic medical ultrasound equipment to direct high frequency sound waves into areas of a patient's body to generate an image for the assessment and diagnosis of various medical conditions. Sonography is commonly associated with obstetrics and the use of ultrasound imaging during pregnancy, but this technology has many other applications in the diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions throughout the body.

Diagnostic medical sonographers may specialize in obstetric and gynecologic sonography (images of the female reproductive system), abdominal sonography (images of the liver, kidneys, gallbladder, spleen, and pancreas), neurosonography (images of the brain and other parts of the nervous system), breast Sonography, or additional areas of specialization. 

  • Obstetric and gynecologic sonographers specialize in the imaging of the female reproductive system. Included in the discipline is one of the more well-known uses of sonography: examining the fetus of a pregnant woman to track the baby's growth and health.
  • Abdominal sonographers inspect a patient's abdominal cavity to help diagnose and treat conditions primarily involving the gallbladder, bile ducts, kidneys, liver, pancreas, spleen, and male reproductive system. Abdominal sonographers also are able to scan parts of the chest, although studies of the heart using sonography usually are done by echocardiographers.
  • Breast sonographers use sonography to study diseases of the breasts. Sonography aids mammography in the detection of breast cancer. Breast sonography also is used to track tumors, monitor blood supply conditions, and assist in the accurate biopsy of breast tissue. Breast sonographers use high-frequency transducers made exclusively to study breast tissue (Bureau of Labor and Statistics, 2010).

Oregon Tech Offers

  • Full time clinical externship during the student's senior year.
  • Extensive on-campus, in-lab scanning utilizing leading-edge technology.
  • Engaged faculty involved in student’s hands-on imaging/learning opportunities during on-campus courses.
  • Professionalism within practice is embedded into coursework so graduates are better prepared to be successful healthcare professionals.

Students in DMS develop strong technical and communication skills through small class and lab sizes. Creating close relationships with peers and professors allows students to form effective study sessions, leading to 100% pass rate on the ARDMS (American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography) certification board exams for the past 10 years.

Bachelor of Science
Bachelor of Science


Accreditation

CAAHEP

The Diagnostic Medical Imaging (DMS) program is accredited by CAAHEP (Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Educational Programs www.caahep.org.

ARDMS

Oregon Institute of Technology is regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU). Oregon Tech graduates have a high pass rate board certification American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers (ARDMS) board exams. Additionally, the Diagnostic Medical Imaging (DMS) program is accredited by CAAHEP (Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Educational Programs http://www.ardms.org/

Outcomes

Oregon Tech gives students relevant experiences, a lot of one-on-one professor-student education, and industry experience to be competitive in this high demand field. Oregon Tech graduates have excellent opportunities for employment in hospitals, clinics, private practice and state and federal agencies. By 2024 this field will employ 24% more people than currently in the workforce, which is much faster than average growth. (bls.gov, June 2017)

Physical Demands of a Sonographer

Sonographers typically work in healthcare facilities that are clean. They usually work at diagnostic imaging machines in darkened rooms, but they also may perform procedures at patients' bedsides. Sonographers may be on their feet for long periods of time and may have to lift or turn disabled patients.

Some sonographers work as contract employees and may travel to several healthcare facilities in an area. Similarly, some sonographers work with mobile imaging service providers and travel to patients and use mobile diagnostic imaging equipment to provide service in areas that otherwise would not have access to such services.

Most full-time sonographers work about 40 hours a week. Some sonographers work overtime. Also, sonographers may have evening and weekend hours when they are on call and must be ready to report to work on short notice (Bureau of Labor and Statistics, 2010).

Physical Demands

  • Sitting < 2 hrs/day
  • Standing 80%
  • Walking 4-6 hours/day
  • Reaching frequently
  • Bending
  • Moderate amount of stooping
  • Moderate amount of crouching
  • Touch/sensation
  • Manual dexterity
  • Grasping ability
  • Pushing ability
  • Visual ability: including ability to view images in dimmed light and ability to see color
  • Hearing ability: subtle voices and in stereo
  • Clear dictation and speech
  • Ability to work long and irregular hours
  • Sonography Students Using Technology
  • Sonography machine being used by students
  • New Sonography Machines at Oregon Tech
97%
Employed
$70,000
Starting Graduate Salary