Medical Sonography – Program Detail
The Medical Sonography Program mission is to prepare competent entry level general sonographers in the cognitive (knowledge), psychomotor (skills), and affective (behavior) learning domains.
The primary goal of the Medical Sonography Program is to provide a high quality education in both the didactic and clinical areas with the goal of providing students with a high level of technical competency as well as adequate interpersonal skills. This is achieved through an Associate Degree Program.
After completion of the SON 111 Sonographic Physics Course in the second semester, students will sit for the national certification exam in sonographic physics and instrumentation. The cost for this exam is approximately $200.00.
All students will sit for the Abdominal Sonography and OB/GYN Sonography specialty exams during their last (5th) semester, within 60 days of graduation. The approximate cost of each of these exams is $200.00. Prices of these exams are subject to change after the posting of this notice.
- Retention Rate: 88%
- Job Placement Rate: 100% (includes full-time, part-time and PRN positions)
- Credential Success Rates:
- Ultrasound Physics and Instrumentation: 100% (7 out of 7)
- Abdominal Ultrasound Specialty: 100% (7 out of 7)
- Obstetrical & Gynecological Ultrasound Specialty: 100% (7 out of 7)
- Number of Students Accepted into the A.A.S. Medical Sonography Degree Program: 8
Graduates from this program may find employment in hospitals, outpatient clinics, doctor’s offices, mobile units, educational institutions, sales and applications.
Currently our employment rate for graduates is 100%. Our graduates obtain Full-time, Part-time, and PRN (fill-in) positions at local hospitals and clinics. There are also a large number of excellent job opportunities available for graduates who are willing to relocate to other cities and states. According to the US Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Employment of diagnostic medical sonographers and cardiovascular technologists and technicians, including vascular technologists is projected to grow 39 percent from 2012 to 2022, much faster than the average for all occupations.”
Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, Forsyth Medical Center, High Point Regional Hospital, Wesley Long Hospital, Women’s Hospital of Greensboro, Northern Hospital of Surry County, Morehead Memorial Hospital (Eden), Rowan Regional Hospital (Salisbury), Carolinas Medical Center (CMC) Northeast, Forsyth Imaging Centers, Piedmont Imaging, Cornerstone Imaging Centers (High Point), Hugh Chatham Hospital, Alamance Regional Medical Center, Lexington Memorial Hospital, Copperfield Imaging, Carolina Ultrasound Services & Consulting at Thomasville OB-GYN, Winston-Salem Community Care Center, W.G. (Bill) Hefner VA Medical Center, Wright Imaging Center, Wake Forest Baptist Health Imaging Centers, Rowan Regional Medical Park, Novant Imaging Centers.
Schedule (Subject to change)
The Medical Sonography Program is primarily a daytime program. Classes, labs, and clinical hours are held between the hours of 8am to 5pm on Monday through Friday. However, weekly practice scan labs are held in the evening hours between 6pm to 9pm on Mondays through Thursdays. Students are required to attend at least one practice lab each week to complete scanning homework assignments. Typically, students are in clinical two to three days a week from 8am to 5pm (depending on the semester) and attend classes on the remaining days for up to 6 hours each day. Overall, students are in class, labs, or clinical for 28 to 32 hours a week, depending on the semester and course load.
Students must study and prepare for classes up to 20+ hours a week outside of the classroom to be successful in their coursework. When you consider the hours spent in classes, labs, clinical, and outside class preparation, then taking on a full-time program of this nature will feel very similar to working a full-time job. For this reason, we strongly discourage students from working while enrolled in this program. Most students who attempt to work while enrolled in this program end up dropping out or failing out during the second semester. Our accreditation committee requires us to maintain an 80% graduation rate, which means that if more than one students drops or fails out, then our continued accreditation status may be affected. For this reason, we ask that only serious-minded individuals who are willing to invest a large amount of time and effort, apply for admission to this program. We want to make all potential applicants aware of how challenging this program is before they apply.
All students who are accepted into the Medical Sonography Program will be required to attend a sonography bootcamp, which will be held during the first week of August during the daytime hours. Specific dates and times will be emailed to students after acceptance into the program. The purpose of the bootcamp is to prepare students for the upcoming sonography courses, to discuss program policies and procedures, and to provide some hands-on scanning experience.
- How long is the waiting list for the medical sonography program?
There is no waiting list for our programs. Applicants are chosen by a selective entry process, which is based on a point system. The applicants with the highest number of selective entry points will be selected into the program. This process is renewed every year. This means that all applicants must compete again with selective entry points. See the Admissions Requirements (MAR) Packet for the scores of the students who were accepted into the program last year.
- What courses are required prior to entry into the program?
See the admissions requirements MAR packet.
- Why do the requirements for entry into the program change from one year to the next?
In order to maintain our accreditation with CAAHEP, we must remain in compliance with their standards. These standards change as we continually seek to provide the highest quality of education possible. Whenever CAAHEP changes a standard the college must make changes in their programs in order to maintain accreditation. Sometimes this requires us to add a new course to the curriculum and sometimes it requires us to either change or drop other courses. In some cases it requires us to revise the requirements for entry into a program. The program must also comply with standards set forth by the State of North Carolina.
- Do I need to get certified in CPR prior to acceptance into the program?
No. Only those applicants who are initially accepted into the program are required to get CPR certification.
- Once accepted into the program, what type of CPR will I need to get?
You will need to get certified in Basic CPR at the healthcare provider level.
- I have taken all of the related general education courses in the curriculum. Is there anything else that I can do to increase my chances of being accepted into the program?
See the admissions requirements MAR packet for all sources of selective entry points. It includes additional methods of obtaining points.
- If I have transfer credits for the required Math and English courses do I still have to take the placement exams?
No. If you have college transfer credits for the English and math courses then you do not have to take the placement exams. Only the applicants who do not have transfer credits for these courses are required to take the placement exams.
- I need to know if the college will accept transfer credit for a course that I took at another college. Who can I contact regarding transfer credits?
Please call the records office at 336.734.7474 and speak with the college transfer technician regarding questions about transfer credits.
- Do the programs only start in the fall?
Yes, all of the sonography programs at Forsyth Tech begin Fall semester each year. The Medical Sonography Program is considered a Daytime program. We do not offer an Evening or Weekend program.
- When are applications due?
The end of March is the deadline to have the application along with all necessary documentation. Check with the admissions department for the exact date. Applications that are not completed and/or lack transcripts or any other required documentation will not be considered for the upcoming fall semester. So be sure to get everything completed and turned prior to the March deadline.
- I have applied to the college. Is there a separate application process for the sonography programs?
The applicant needs only to complete one application per year. Only one major may be declared at a time. If a student desires to change majors (or programs) then a new application should be completed. Applications should be updated annually in order to be considered for the program. Students applying to the sonography programs will first be accepted as a pre-medical sonography student. The student may then begin taking classes to earn points to be selected into the sonography program.
- How many students are ranked by admissions each year?
- How many students are accepted into the program each fall?
- Why can’t more students be taken into the program? With the number of applicants for the program it seems like the college should take in more students?
Medical Sonography is a unique learning experience that requires one-on-one instructor training with the students. With the current number of faculty and the time needed with each student we cannot accept any more students. We can only have one student at most of our clinical sites due to our accreditation requirements and we have a limited number of clinical sites. We have clinical sites spread out over five counties now, extending as far as Concord and Eden, NC . Only facilities that meet the standards of our accrediting body may be used as clinical sites for our program.Each modality has its unique limitations. Sonograms can take up to an hour to perform with a student whereas most x-rays and some CT scans may take only 10-15 minutes to perform. There is also a higher volume of patients in x-ray and CT, which is accommodating for larger classes of students. Patient loads in Ultrasound are much lower because they take much more time to perform. This limits the number of potential patients that students can scan in a typical day and thus limits the number of students that we can send to each clinical site.
- What are the prerequisites for applying for the program(s)?
Prior to acceptance
- See the admissions requirements MAR packet for details.
- CPR Certification at the healthcare provider level.
- Completion of Medical form including required vaccinations.
- Proof of successful completion of a CNA1 course or licensure
- When I am accepted into the program, will I get to choose the hospitals where I wish to do my clinical rotations?
No. The sonography program must provide an equitable clinical experience for all of its students. Some hospitals provide exposure to exams that others do not, so we must rotate students to various sites in order to ensure that all students get a well-rounded clinical training experience. This will require driving to long distance sites during some semesters. We currently use sites in five different counties, so students entering this program will need good, dependable transportation. The college does not provide transportation to or from clinical sites. We cannot take requests from students regarding preferences for clinical site rotations. We must operate strictly according to accreditation guidelines and this requires us to send students through a carefully planned out, pre-designated rotation.
- What is the Salary Range for Sonographers?
The approximate average starting salary is $44,000 – $48,000 annually with a national average of approximately $52,490 (see this news article) According to the US Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics:In May 2012, the median annual wage for diagnostic medical sonographers was $65,860. For information on careers and current salaries in the medical sonography profession, visit the following link: https://forsythtech.emsicc.com/.
- Is the Medical Sonography Program offered online?
While some of the general education courses required by the program may be taken online, the program itself is not an online program. All sonography major courses (courses with an SON prefix) must be taken in the traditional face-to-face classroom setting.
- Is a degree in radiologic technology required to be admitted into this program?
No. No degrees are required for admission into the Medical Sonography Program.
- How long does it take to get into the program after applying?
The length of time that it takes for a student to be admitted depends on how long it takes him or her to complete all of the general education courses (and additional point items) listed on the selective entry point summary sheets (in the MAR packet). Completion of all seven general education courses does not guarantee admission into the program. The grades earned in those courses play a large factor into calculating your selective entry point score, but it is your final selective entry score that determines admission. Students may apply at any time during the admissions process, but will only be accepted into the program after satisfying all admissions requirements as outlined in the MAR packet.
- Are there any summer courses in this program?
The program begins in August of each year and runs for five full semesters (including one summer semester).
- I have finished all of my general education courses, except for one. I will be taking it during spring semester. Will I receive points for that course towards admissions if I am having my MAR review that spring?
It depends. If it is a 4-week course or an 8-week course, then you might be able complete it before the deadline for the MAR review. However, if it is a full16-week course then the answer is no. At the time of the MAR review, only COMPLETED courses will carry selective admissions points.
- Why can’t students be accepted after the March deadline?
We accept our fall class in the spring of each year, because students must complete additional requirements such as completion of a drug screening, criminal background check, college and program orientation sessions, and completion of a sonography bootcamp. Accepting students in the spring allows students enough time to complete these additional requirements. Students accepted after the March deadline would not be able to complete the additional requirements in time.
- If I complete all of the general education courses, will I complete the degree sooner?
No. Sonography courses are sequenced such that it requires 5 full semesters to complete the training. Completion of all general education courses reduces the academic load each semester for students so that they can concentrate all their efforts on sonography courses.
- Can I work while enrolled in this program and be successful in my courses?
Students must spend an extensive amount of time studying and preparing for sonography courses. With the hours spend at school and the 20+ hours minimum that you must study each week at home, it is unlikely that you can be successful if you choose to work while enrolled in the program. Full-time healthcare related programs of this nature are highly challenging, and will be very demanding of your time. Our experience has shown that students who work while enrolled end up having to make a very difficult decision at some point during the program, which is to either drop out of the program, or to give up working so that they can find enough time to study adequately to pass the exams. Unfortunately, by the time that this happens, it is already too late as too many exams have been failed to receive a passing grade.Being such a small program with only eight students, we can’t afford to lose students. So, we need only those applicants who can make a strong commitment to work really hard, and the endurance to remain in the program through all five semesters. This requires a huge commitment! So we want to make sure that applicants are aware of this BEFORE applying for admission to this program.
- I noticed that the general education courses are dispersed throughout all five semesters along with the sonography courses. Does this mean that I can just wait and take the general education courses after admission to the program?
Due to the nature of the selective admissions point system, and the fact that the general education courses make up the majority of the selective admissions points, it would be unlikely for an applicant to be admitted into the program without first completing all seven of the general education courses. However, if a student did manage to get admitted when lacking one or more of these courses, then the semester listings of the courses show when the general education courses should be taken in that situation.
- Does the Medical Sonography Program provide job placement?
No. The program does not provide job placement, however our college does have a career counseling center that can assist you in finding a job and improving your chances of being hired. The program also maintains a Medical Sonography Facebook page where available jobs and contact information for applying for those positions are posted.
- I will be moving from out-of-state to attend this program. Does the college offer housing for students?
No. The college does not provide housing for students while enrolled. If you plan on moving to the area to attend the program, it will be your responsibility to find your own housing.
- My CNA certification is from another state outside North Carolina. Will it be accepted?
No. CNA coursework and/or licensure must be completed in the state of North Carolina. Out-of-state licenses (or training) will require re-licensure (or training) by completion of a North Carolina state approved course.
- Where can I look for information about the profession of Medical Sonography?
The Society of Diagnostic Medical Sonography (SDMS) can be found at www.sdms.org.
The American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine (AIUM) can be found at www.aium.org.
- What is the cost for the program?
Check out this link to the tuition and fees page.
- Tamara Beck – Director of Imaging
- Siobhan Murphy – Staff Assistant
- John B. Cassell, BS, RT(R), RDMS, RVT – Program Coordinator
- Tonya Howell, BHS, RDMS – Clinical Education Coordinator and OB.GYN Concentration Coordinator