Diagnostic Medical Sonography to be Offered at Mesa Campus


Fully programmable, lifelike mannequins blink, breathe and exhibit bodily functions.

PHOENIX, Ariz. – August 25, 2008 – Ultrasound imaging is routinely used on pregnant women to monitor the healthy growth of a fetus. But these patients are in short supply for students training to become diagnostic medical sonographers. That’s why students at Apollo College are practicing diagnostic imaging procedures on fully programmable MedSim Mannequins – eerily lifelike dummies that blink, breathe and exhibit a full range of bodily functions.

Students enrolled in Apollo College’s new Diagnostic Medical Sonography (DMS) certificate program at the school’s Mesa campus, get to practice procedures such as fetal ultrasounds, intravaginal exams, and ultrasounds of the heart, arteries and veins on industry-current mannequins that can be programmed to exhibit a variety of medical symptoms.

The MedSim Mannequins, valued at over $100,000, are an integral training tool in the college’s 16-month DMS program, which begins in early December, 2008. The school also has dedicated classrooms outfitted with audio/visual technology, as well as a scan laboratory with current ultrasound equipment and the MedSim’s ultrasound simulator – the UltraSim®.

“Mannequins train our students to deliver a professional level of care that makes them job-ready the day they graduate,” says Ben Smith, Apollo’s regional program director, Diagnostic Medical Sonography.

Apollo’s DMS program combines both lecture and laboratory for 32 weeks before students are sent to their clinical rotations for another 32 weeks. This format is designed so that students will be competent in basic ultrasound scanning techniques upon graduation. Sonography is the use of sound waves to generate an image for the assessment and diagnosis of various medical conditions. Sonography commonly is 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 use special equipment to direct nonionizing, 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.

Areas of specialization include obstetric and gynecologic sonography, abdominal sonography, neurosonography or breast sonography. Some choose to specialize in vascular sonography or cardiac sonography.

Diagnostic Medical Sonographers held about 46,000 jobs in 2006. More than half of all sonographer jobs were in public and private hospitals. The rest were typically in offices of physicians, medical and diagnostic laboratories, and mobile imaging services. Faster-than-average employment growth and high starting salaries can be benefits of working in this field.(http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes292032.htm)

Employment of DMS professionals is expected to increase by about 19 percent through 2016 – faster than the average for all occupations – as the population ages, increasing the demand for diagnostic imaging and therapeutic technology. Additional job growth is expected as sonography becomes an increasingly attractive alternative to radiologic procedures, as patients seek safer treatment methods.

Candidates seeking admission into the Apollo College DMS program should hold a valid respiratory (RRT), radiography (CRT) or nursing (RN) credential, or have a bachelor’s degree. Upon successful completion of the program, graduates can sit for Ultrasound Physics and Instrumentation, Abdomen and Obstetrics/Gynecology Registry Exams.