There are only 2 public schools in Arizona with diagnostic medical sonography (DMS) programs; both offer 2 1/2 -year associate's degree programs, but one school also has a 2-year certificate program in diagnostic medical sonography. Some schools also offer advanced diagnostic sonography certificate programs for those with an associate's or bachelor's degree in an allied health field.
Students should be aware that there are certain prerequisites to these programs, including a physical examination, immunization tests and having nurse aid certification. Additionally, drug testing and a criminal background check are required to participate in the program's series of clinical work.
Central Arizona College
Coolidge-based Central Arizona College offers an Associate of Applied Science in Diagnostic Medical Sonography program. This program was created for graduates of an allied health Associate of Applied Science program who also have patient care experience. Students need to fulfill general education prerequisites prior to enrolling in the DMS core curriculum.
Along with in-class and laboratory-based training, students participate in clinical work for professional skills development. Some didactic courses mix online and in-person education. Students are assigned to affiliated health care facilities for clinical rotations. The 63-credit DMS curriculum features courses in physics and instrumentation, imaging pathology, abdominal imaging, obstetric and gynecological imaging, cross-sectional imaging and vascular imaging.
GateWay Community College
GateWay Community College in Phoenix offers a Certificate of Completion in Diagnostic Medical Sonography and an Associate of Applied Science in Diagnostic Medical Sonography. Both programs are accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). Before enrolling in either program, students must complete prerequisite courses that cover composition, algebra, physics, anatomy, physiology and medical terminology. Patient care-related program graduates can bypass the medical terminology prerequisite course.
Students can expect either DMS program to take 2 years to complete. Courses include sectional anatomy, vascular imaging, sonographic instrumentation and principles, gynecological and obstetric procedures, abdominal procedures and DMS pathology. Clinical work is completed at local health care establishments. Elective courses can cover ultrasound anatomy, echocardiography, ultrasound breast imaging and neurosonography. Participants in the associate's degree program must pass additional general education courses.
Although sonographers working in Arizona aren't required to earn state licensure, they may want to consider earning national certification from the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonographers (ARDMS). These two available Arizona DMS programs were designed to help students meet ARDMS certification exam requirements. Sonographers who have earned an ARDMS certification may have a better chance at finding a job than those who haven't.
School Comparison: At a Glance
|School Name||School Type and Setting||Ultrasound Programs Offered||Undergraduate Tuition and Fees (2015-2016)|
|Central Arizona College||2-year; public; rural fringe||Associate of Applied Science in Diagnostic Medical Sonography||$2,460 in-state; $10,740 out-of-state*|
|GateWay Community College||2-year; public; large city|| Certificate of Completion in Diagnostic Medical Sonography,
Associate of Applied Sciences in Diagnostic Medical Sonography
|$2,046 in-state; $7,830 out-of-state*|
Source: *NCES College Navigator