Pre-sonography students should prepare well in advance of applying to a Diagnostic Medical Sonography program. The CAAHEP accredited ultrasound technology programs have similar admission requirements, but to even be eligible to apply the student must have completed designated courses and taken assessment tests. The student also has to make decisions before selecting a sonography program, like the type of sonography specialty to pursue. Following are some action steps to take before starting the application process.
Checking Off the Pre-Sonography Student “To-Do” List
Read the sonography program admission planner and make a to-do list.
Each sonography program has prepared an admission and degree planner document that explains program admission requirements that must be met before formally applying. Making a to-do list with the dates that some actions should be completed by is a good way to get organized. A time management planner or time management app can be very helpful. Once admitted, the same plan can be followed for degree planning.
Complete college-level prerequisite courses with the minimum grade or higher
Determine which prerequisite courses still need to be completed. Prerequisite classes include subjects like biology, algebra, physics, and chemistry. For example, the St. Cloud Technical and Community College in Minnesota pre-requisite courses include human anatomy/physiology, college algebra and general physics. If there is a question as to whether a course the student has already completed will meet prerequisite requirements, contact the student admissions office and ask for a determination as to whether the course can be transferred to fulfill requirements.
While Austin Community College in Texas requires the pre-sonography student to take the Accuplacer test, Northeast Wisconsin Technical College, also CAAHEP accredited, will accept scores from Asset, Accuplacer, ACT, Compass and TABE Level A assessment tests. There are time limits on when the tests can be taken before admission, which is usually 5 years.
Determine if additional assessment examinations are required
Northeast Wisconsin Technical College requires that students, planning on applying to the Diagnostic Medical Sonography program, to take the Health Education System, Inc. (HESI) Admissions Assessment exam.
Determine if there are other requirements specific to the program, being thorough in reading the admissions planner
For example, Northeast Wisconsin Technical College requires applicants to complete a 1,000 word essay at the campus Assessment Center or at one of the college’s Regional Learning Centers or other campus sites. Broward College in Florida requires students to complete a Florida Residency Affidavit.
Earn required certifications
Austin Community College requires sonography program applicants to have Certified Nurse Aid certification before applying, unless the student has completed one of the designated programs that require hands-on patient care experience. The programs that qualify include Emergency Medical Technician-Basic, Surgical Technology, Radiologic Technology, Respiratory Therapy, RN, Vocational/Practical Nurse and Paramedic.
Review the different specialties, and make sure there is a high-level of understanding of each one
Understanding the ultrasound specialty options will ensure the student chooses the right sonography program track for career plans. For example, does the student want to specialize in vascular sonography or pediatric sonography? There are some common courses in general sonography in each curriculum, but each track is also customized in terms of required specialty topics and clinical rotations.
Determine the type of degree or certificate desired
A student cannot wisely choose a sonography program without first determining the type of sonography degree to pursue. Does the student want to earn an associate degree or a bachelor’s degree? Perhaps the sonography student wants to earn a diploma or certificate? Each CAAHEP accredited ultrasound technology program offers one or more degree and/or certificate program, but no program offers all options. Another option is attending an online program in sonography.
Get Everything in Order
The pre-sonography student who gets everything in order has a better chance of gaining admission to the desired program. It is important to start the pre-planning process months in advance of the application date to allow for scheduling assessment tests, asking questions of sonography program staff, evaluating transcripts and making a schedule for completing prerequisites.
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