Frequently Asked Questions
How is the job market?
Demand for Diagnostic Medical Sonographers is extremely strong in and around the Houston and Gulf Coast Region. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of diagnostic medical sonographers is expected to grow faster than the average for all occupations through 2010 as the population grows and ages, thus increasing the demand for diagnostic imaging. Sonographic technology is expected to advance rapidly in the next decade with many new ultrasound procedures, thus producing a higher demand for sonographers.
What is the starting salary and earning potential for this field?
A new graduate seeking employment as a diagnostic medical sonographer can expect to earn nearly $20 per hour. Per the Society of Diagnostic Medical Sonography website, the median salary for sonographers is $78,520 per year.
How can I get started?
Students interested in diagnostic medical sonography should have a high school diploma or an equivalent, and must be at college level in Math, Reading, and Writing. Prior medical experience, training, or licensure is helpful to applicants. Students must complete the following courses prior to submission of an application:
- ENGL 1301 - Comp & Rhetoric I
- MATH 1314 - College Algebra
- PHYS 1410 - Elementary Physics
- BIOL 2401 - Human A&P I
- BIOL 2402 - Human A&P II
- Humanities/Fine arts elective (Located in Lone Star College System catalog)
- SOCI 1301 - Intro to Sociology
How will I be trained in Sonography at Lone Star College-CyFair?
- Hands-on experience in local medical facilities.
- Hands-on training in state-of-the-art campus laboratory.
- Interactive lectures, discussions and coursework.
What are the technical standards for this profession?
Aptitude for Science
Manual Dexterity (full use of hands, wrists, and shoulders)
Visual (adequately view sonograms and color distinctions)
Hearing (distinguish audible sounds)
Students must be able to carry out all assigned duties required of a practicing sonographer, such as:
- Move heavy equipment on wheels (up to approximately 500 lbs.), transport patients by wheelchair & stretcher; push, pull, bend, stoop routinely
- Work in dimly lit areas
- Stand on their feet for long periods (80%)
- Lift more than 50 lb. routinely; assist patients; lift or turn disabled patients
- Interact compassionately with patients
- Work stationary diagnostic imaging machines, and also may perform some procedures at patients' bedsides
- Maintain prolonged arm positions necessary for scanning
- Adhere to privacy regulations (HIPAA)
- Be available to work on short notice (on-call), nights & weekends (for employer)
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook; Society of Diagnostic Medical Sonography
What can I expect to do with this certificate/degree?
In your role as a sonographer you will:
- Perform diagnostic medical exams
- Assist physicians and other healthcare professionals in carrying out a patient’s treatment plan.
- Observe patients conditions and assess symptoms.
- Care for people of all ages from new born to the elderly in a variety of settings.
Can I work while taking classes?
While taking sonography courses, students are encouraged to limit employment to no more than 20 hours per week. Sonography students on average devote 40 hours a week to their studies.
What kind of financial aid can I apply for?
The Lone Star College System website contains many valuable links to sources of financial aid on-line by looking under the category Prospective Students. Students can apply for state and national grants and loans by completing the FAFSA form on-line (www.fafsa.ed.gov), or pick up a hard copy in the financial aid office. Financial aid advisors are available to assist students with financial aid applications. Also, scholarships for students entering the health professions are often available through many hospitals and medical corporations.
Why should I attend Lone Star College-CyFair?
Lone Star College-CyFair is one of the few colleges that has the ability to provide a unique Sonography Program that differs in state of the art facilities and instruction. The instructors are dedicated to helping students succeed on the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonography exam. Superior instruction and collaborative learning is the standard with local medical facilities.
What is the cost of the programs?
For 2014-15, the AAS programs cost approximately $6,500 (in-district).
How long does it take to complete the program?
Once accepted, the AAS is 4 consecutive semesters.
How many students are admitted each year?
Each AAS program can accept up to 15 students yearly, dependent upon clinical site availability.