Frequently Asked Questions
Are these programs accredited?
The Lone Star College-CyFair Diagnostic Medical Sonography Programs are accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP, 25400 US Highway 19 N., Suite 158, Clearwater, FL 33763; 727.210.2350; www.caahep.org) upon the recommendation of the Joint Review Committee on Education in Diagnostic Medical Sonography (JRC-DMS, 6021 University Boulevard, Suite 500, Ellicott City, MD 21043; 443-973-3251; www.jrcdms.org). Lone Star College-CyFair, as part of Lone Star College, is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). The Diagnostic Medical Sonography Programs have been approved by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB).
How is the job market?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of diagnostic medical sonographers is projected to grow 26 percent from 2014 to 2024, much faster than the average for all occupations. As imaging technology evolves, medical facilities will continue to use ultrasound to replace more invasive, costly procedures. Ultrasound is often less expensive than other imaging technologies and is often used as a first-line tool for diagnosis. Third-party payers encourage the use of these noninvasive measures over invasive ones in order to save on costs. As the large baby-boom population ages, the need to diagnose medical conditions—such as blood clots and heart disease—will likely increase.
What is the starting salary and earning potential for this field?
A new graduate seeking employment as a diagnostic medical sonographer in the Greater Houston area can expect to earn nearly $23 per hour. According to the Bureau of Labor Statitics, the median annual wage for diagnostic medical sonographers was $68,970 in May 2015.
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 2404 - Introduction to Anatomy and Physiology
- Humanities/Fine arts elective (Located in Lone Star College 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)
Motor Skills (Gross and Fine)
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, reach, stretch routinely;
- Work in dimly lit areas;
- Stand on their feet for long periods (80%), up to 8-12 hours standing and/or walking;
- Lift/transfer more than 50 lb. routinely; assist patients; lift or turn disabled patients, carry 25 lbs.;
- 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 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 2015-16, the AAS programs cost approximately $8,700 (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.
What are the program outcomes?
|Attrition Rate – 2014 Graduates|
|General Concentration||0% (15 admitted, 15 graduated)|
|Cardiac Concentration||20% (15 admitted, 12 graduated)|
|Vascular Concentration||8% (12 admitted, 11 graduated)|
|Job Placement Rate – 2014 Graduates|
|General Concentration||100% (15 of 15)|
|Cardiac Concentration||83% (10 of 12)|
|Vascular Concentration||100% (11 of 11)|
|Credential Success Rate – 2014 Graduates|
|General Concentration||100% AB and 100% OB|
Program Goals & Minimum Expectations:
- "To prepare competent entry-level general sonographers in the cognitive (knowledge), psychomotor (skills), and affective (behavior) learning domains"
- "To prepare competent entry-level adult cardiac sonographers in the cognitive (knowledge), psychomotor (skills), and affective (behavior) learning domains"
- “To prepare competent entry-level vascular technologists in the cognitive (knowledge), psychomotor (skills), and affective (behavior) learning domains.”