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Diagnostic Medical Sonography

Become a  Diagnostic Medical Sonographer

A Medical Sonographer is a highly skilled healthcare professional specializing in the use of ultrasound technology to create images of internal body structures.

Sonographers are more than technical operators; they also assume the critical role of diagnosticians. To effectively fulfill this diagnostic responsibility, sonographers must possess an in-depth comprehension of anatomy, physiology, and pathology.

This knowledge combined with extensive hands-on clinical experience empowers them to discern and evaluate ultrasound images in real-time to reach a probable diagnosis by applying their clinical judgement. 

Diagnostic Medical Sonography (DMS) remains an exciting career path ideally suited for individuals prepared to thrive in a challenging yet rewarding healthcare environment.

About the Program

The DMS program has established an exceptional standing in both the local community and throughout California, renowned for its delivery of exceptionally skilled technologists.

The program consists of 18 consecutive months of rigorous instruction, encompassing lectures, practical scanning exercises within our on-campus laboratory, and closely supervised clinical training at affiliated hospitals.

After the successful completion of these 18 months, students attain an A.S. degree.

Our program has established partnerships with several prestigious Bay Area hospitals. Over the duration of the program, our students actively participate in rotations at these renowned healthcare institutions. This broad spectrum of exposure equips them with specialized expertise in areas such as Abdomen, Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Vascular Sonography ensuring they are well-prepared to excel in the ARDMS national registry examination.

Our program takes pride in its exceptional track record, exemplified by a 100% pass rate in ARDMS registry exam, and a 100% success rate in job placements.

Degree & Program Types

View list below for programs offered at Foothill. Then select program map for a possible schedule that fulfills program and college requirements.

For program requirements and full course listings, view degrees and certificates information.

Associate in Science


Additional Information

Program Mission and Goals

The Diagnostic Medical Sonography Program of Foothill College is dedicated to the integration of didactic, laboratory, and clinical objectives with emphasis on the clinical aspect of Diagnostic Medical Sonography. These objectives are designed to prepare competent entry-level sonographers in the cognitive (knowledge), psychomotor (skills), and affective (behavior) learning domains for the abdominal-extended and obstetrics and gynecology sonography concentrations. The program strives to strengthen its role as a principal community resource by providing this program as well as continuing education to meet individual and collective needs.

The program goals include:

  1. Graduation of competent entry-level, board eligible sonographers.
  2. To develop the student's communication and critical thinking skills in order to function as a competent and diligent member of the health care team.
  3. To develop technical skills to provide for comprehensive quality care to individuals from a diverse socioeconomic, educational, and or cultural background.
  4. To graduate health care professionals who are respectful of others as well as practice the principles of ethics including autonomy, beneficence, nonmaleficence, veracity, justice, fidelity, and recognize his/her responsibilities under the law.
  5. To develop the student's awareness and commitment toward understanding and implementing the Code of Conduct & Code of Ethics as described by the Society of Diagnostic Medical Sonography.
  6. To convey the importance of striving for continued improvement through education and active participation in this profession.

Student Learning Outcomes

The program's goals align with the institution's mission and focus on student learning outcomes (SLOs) that meet college and state requirements. These SLOs are integrated into the accreditation process, with each course having its own specific SLOs. The primary program learning outcomes (PLOs) include:

  1. Students demonstrate essential knowledge, technical skills, analytical skills, interpersonal skills, and diagnostic abilities within the scope of practice for diagnostic medical sonography.
  2. Students demonstrate essential knowledge and values related to professional demeanor, including the implementation of confidentiality and privacy in the practice of diagnostic medical sonography

Program Scope

Diagnostic Medical Sonographer is a professional qualified by professional credentialing, academic, and clinical experience to provide diagnostic patient care services using ultrasound and related diagnostic procedures.

The scope of practice includes those procedures, acts and processes permitted by law, for which the individual has received education and clinical experience, has demonstrated competency, and has completed the appropriate credentialing which is the standards of practice.

Standards are designed to reflect behavior and performance levels to perform patient assessments and evaluation using effective communication and analytical skills. Standards include the ability to acquire and analyze data obtained using ultrasound, related diagnostic technologies, and integration of data.

The sonographer provides preliminary reports of findings to the physician in accordance with established procedures. The sonographer will use independent judgment and systematic problem solving methods to produce high quality diagnostic information and optimize patient care and safety. Foothill College offers an exciting opportunity for practicing diagnostic medical sonographers who need formalized education to pass the ARDMS examinations, and for those in recognized American Medical Association Allied Health occupations who wish to specialize in diagnostic medical sonography.

This 18-month certificate and possible Associate of Science degree program consists of didactic and clinical experience. If you work in a recognized health profession, this program provides the opportunity to apply your clinical experience to the program requirements and offers a new and challenging career. This program will prepare you for the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers (ARDMS) exams.

Instruction begins in September and completes 18 months later. All courses are completed in sequence. The preceptorship (clinical) courses require thirty-two hours per week. Didactic and laboratory instruction is in addition to the preceptorship assignment. Students are eligible to take the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS) exams. Successful program completion leads to a Certificate of Achievement and can lead to an Associate in Science degree. The curriculum is presented in six quarters.

Formal academic course work will be presented by experienced practicing sonographers and other health science professionals. Emphasis is placed on abdominal, obstetrics and gynecology, superficial structures and vascular sonography.

Your course work will be further enhanced while you are on clinical assignment where you will receive hands-on experience under the supervision of practicing sonographers.

Career Opportunities

Students typically pursue technical careers in the hospital, clinic, and office. With additional technical experience career positions may include supervisory positions, as a traveler or independent contractor. Most management, corporate, and education positions require four-year college degrees in a related field.

Many career doors are open for you when you become a Registered Diagnostic Medical Sonographer. Employment is available in the hospital, clinic, office, and mobile unit environments. Employment is flexible meeting today's lifestyle needs. Opportunities for full-time, part-time, on-call and per Diem positions are available. With experience you may move into a position as department supervisor, manager, or clinical instructor. Biomedical companies frequently choose sonographers to be technical representatives; companies providing sonography services also need registered sonographers.

Where is Diagnostic Medical Sonography applied?

Sonography is used to assess many areas of the body. Advances in technology continue to expand the areas of use for sonography. It is used as a diagnostic tool in the following areas:

  • Abdomen
  • Brain (Neurosonography)
  • Breast
  • Cardiology
  • Gynecology
  • Male Reproductive System
  • Musculoskeletal
  • Ophthalmology
  • Obstetrics
  • Pediatrics
  • Vascular System
  • Veterinary Practice

Program Accreditation

The Diagnostic Medical Sonography Program has been in operation since 1984.  The Diagnostic Medical Sonography Program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs ( upon the recommendation of the Joint Review Committee on Education in Diagnostic Medical Sonography (JRC-DMS).  The college is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs
9355 - 113th St. N,
Seminole, FL 33775
phone: 727-210-2350
fax: 727-210-2354

Joint Review Commission on Education in Diagnostic Medical Sonography (JRC-DMS)
6021 University Boulevard
Suite 500
Ellicott City, MD 21043
phone: 443-973-3251
fax: 866-738-3444

A diagnostic medical sonography career is for you if you are a health care professional who cares about people and who also enjoys working with highly technical equipment. If this describes you then join us and become a valuable member of the health care professional team known as the Diagnostic Medical Sonographer. 

Application Process

DMS Quick View
Program: Diagnostic Medical Sonography (Ultrasound)
Degree/Cert: AS/Yes
Length: 18 months

Number Accepted: 15–20
Application Window: Oct. 1, 2023– April 14, 2024
Application Deadline: April 14, 2024 at 11:59 p.m.

Next Cohort: Starts Fall 2024
Approx. Cost of Program: $6,500–$7,500
National Lic./Cert.: Yes
State Lic.Cert.: No
Estimated Annual Salary in CA: $78,706–$100,784
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