Diagnostic Medical Sonography



Is the DMS program an online program?

No, the DMS program is not an online program.  All classes are face to face on campus or at clinical facilities.  Instructors often use online course communications through Canvas yet this is an added resource (when used) and not an online course. Attendance on campus to all course sessions (and program meetings) is expected and critical to the success of the DMS students.

When are the DMS courses offered?

To successfully complete the DMS program earning an AS degree in Sonography and become qualified to apply to sit for ARDMS or ARRT board examinations upon graduation, students are required to take and pass (with "C" or better) all DMS courses in sequence at the time they are offered each semester.  It is not possible to participate in the DMS program part time.  The DMS program is a FULL time 2 year commitment and a competitive rigorous course of study. 

Didactic courses on campus are most often scheduled during week day hours yet it is possible according to instructors schedules, some courses could be offered in the evening or on a Saturday. Didactic courses are not scheduled on campus on Sundays.

Clinical courses are scheduled at CRC DMS affiliated medical facilities by the program coordinator and hours vary significantly.  DMS students cannot choose their clinical assignments or schedules.  Clinical hours may be days, evenings and/or weekends including Sundays depending on the clinical experience assignment.  Working outside of the 2 year DMS program is most often, not possible. DMS students must arrange finances in advance and other obligations to dedicate 2 years to study Sonography to become successful in this highly rewarding field. (See DMS Student Handbook)

Does the program include Cardiac and Vascular training?

Not at this time.  The CRC DMS program is a "general program". A general program includes training in Abdominal, OB/ GYN, Superficial structures & Small Parts with an Introduction to routine Vascular scanning including Carotid and Venous studies. After graduation students with specific interest in vascular technology have gone on to also become credentialed as a Vascular Technologist, yet this program is not a full Vascular or Cardiac program at this time.   

Are students qualified to sit for board examinations upon graduation?

Yes, students who successfully complete this DMS program earning an AS degree in Sonography at CRC will qualify to apply to sit fo the ARDMS board examinations - immediately upon graduation. (no extra working hours required)   

Our CRC DMS Students are not  admitted to this program unless they have proper prerequisites to sit for ARDMS board exams to be eligible to apply for Sonography I positions.  

The DMS program program is impacted and the likely hood of admittance without an AS in Allied heath or higher  (means BS or MS in any Science) the likely hood of becoming fully qualified and included in the random lottery selection may be low.  Fully qualified does strictly mean these 3 areas below: 

1) academic degree -  AS in HEALTH related Science  or  BS in any major. (see below what does Allied Health mean)

2) course prerequisites DMS courses  -  all listed must be exact or have approved course waivers forms included in application obtained from counselors.  Counselors will help and send to the program director for all waive or substitutions  for approval.    A copy from the student must be submitted in the application.  The program director and Faculty approval  must be included for all course substitutions.

There are no waivers for work learning experience.  All  27 units of DMS course prerequisites must be  "B" grade or better amd within a 5 year recency.    At times depending on previous work experience it may be possible to request a course accepted for recency beyond 5 years:  example communications, medial language, human disease - pending the students work experience and postilion.  Depending on student work position, not to exceed 7 yrs. past;   The  BIO A/P (very important) , Math, Physics must be within 5 years.

If you have questions; submit your application and add an explanation to follow your letter of intent.

Calling the program director or Division office does not help.  Please give a comprehensive reason or help us review you application with the most information.  Simply attach an additional document behind your interest letter and prepare to provide your professional "work" experience letters from licensed & credential superiors.  Please include the title of your position with start dates (and end) if not still working.

We do not accept working or direct patient care past 7-10 years.  The medical field has changed dramatically and future Sonography students must be prepared.

(Please do not call and ask if a C is is NOT- OK  A "C" grade is a DMS prerequisite course will need to be repeated - most often at another district.  (see CRC rules on repeating courses)  In addition

3) meet requirements for previous "direct patient care".  Direct patient care is defined below yet the bulk or at least over half must be "working - employed - paid" experience.

Do I need to already have an Associates degree to apply?

Yes. This is a strict minimum educational prerequisite required to apply to the DMS program. 

An AS degree in a Health science major or a Bachelors degree in any major (or higher) is required to apply.  ( BS is Sciences is highly recommended)

This is a requirement of the ARDMS to sit for board examinations.  Students are encouraged to seek an Allied Health AS rather than a 'specific program"  i.e. pharmacy, medical assisting, radiology etc unless they intend or are interested in working in these specific careers. Students sure they are seeking DMS should obtain an AS degree in a health science major that includes most or all of their prerequisites (27 of 60 units)

Students who are already working in an Allied Health Profession with an AS degree in an allied health field or a BS in Sciences are more likely to qualify.  The DMS program is not an entry level program to the allied medical careers.  It is designed for students with working experience in healthcare who wish to further or change their area of specialty.

Certificate or Degree ? What is the difference ?

The Associates Degree in Sonography and the certificate of completion both require the same core SONOG courses to complete the DMS program. Many DMS students have previously earned a BS degree or higher in other majors before entering the program.  It is the students choice to petition for the AS degree in Sonography versus the certificate.  Most students have already fulfilled the general education requirements for the AS degree in Sonography at CRC, while others may need additional general education courses at to earn the Associates in Sonography. Please see CRC catalog for graduation requirements and an academic counselor prior to application for more information.               

All DMS students are encouraged to petition for the AS degree in Sonography. The certificate and the degree are both 2 years full time. Working and taking extra courses during the DMS Program may not be possible.

How can I earn 800 hours of direct patient care experience?

A combination of employment in direct patient care and some volunteer hours in a supervised direct patient care activity with a credentialed, licensed, or a registered healthcare provider is required for any volunteer hours. Working in an office or administrative related type activity may not qualify as direct patient care. (see FAQ - says; What is direct patient care?)  Employment and college credit as part of an intern or externship program in direct patient care are considered equally.  Volunteer activity should not be the entire basis of the 800 hours (not more than half) and candidates should demonstrate recent work or college intern/externship experience in the U.S. or Canada.   

What is direct patient care experience?

Direct patient care is defined as: Activities which include some of the examples listed here. Caring for an ill family member is very important yet it is not considered "direct patient care experience" in this context. 

In general it includes activities in a medical patient healthcare environment that reports to a credentialed, licensed, registered healthcare provider caring for a variety of patients, i.e. MD, RN, DO, RT, RDMS, etc. Volunteer hours under the supervision of a healthcare provider who is a close family member or close friend may or may not be considered, when considering volunteer hours. Major medical centers in acute care is preferred and most large medical centers have volunteer programs. All volunteer hours must be documented in the DMS application along with duties and a description of activities performed. When using employment experience, an explanation of duties is not required rather include the title of the position and dates of employment.   

1) patient medical observations 

2) taking vital signs and/or testing 

3) providing first aid under the direction of a healthcare provider.

4) transporting patients in a medical setting. 

5) providing patient comfort; communicating to a supervising healthcare provider.

6) assist in patient education / explanations / translator etc according to medical orders.

Is the program accredited ?

YES, the DMS program at CRC is accredited.  

Do I need 1600 hours of direct patient care experience before I apply?

Yes. Candidates to the DMS program must already possess basic direct patient care skills and experiences.

The Diagnostic Medical Sonography program is NOT an entry level program into the medical profession. The DMS program is designed for allied health care workers who wish to further their career or change to diagnostic medical  imaging with a high degree of patient care responsibility.  Sonography is an operator dependent imaging modality.

For more information on the Sonography profession please visit the following websites:

The American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers (ARDMS)

The Society of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers (SDMS)

The American Institute of Ultrasound in medicine (AUIM)

The American Registry of Radiologic Technologist (ARRT)



Is the DMS program at CRC easy to get admitted ?

CRC is the only northern CA community college that offers a DMS program at this time.  The prerequisite requirements to become eligible are very similar to most all DMS programs across the USA.  Admission is limited to the available number of clinical site placements.

The DMS program is a very competitive and rigorous 2 year full time program.  The program requires a very full commitment yet it is life changing as an exciting career with room for advancement, travel, flexible hours,top compensation, and the ARDMS national credentials allow Sonographers to work in all  US states and Canada.