The Diagnostic Medical Sonography (DMS) Program at UCHealth University of Colorado Hospital (UCH) provides high-quality clinical and didactic education needed to pass the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS) certification exams in physics, obstetrics, gynecological, abdominal and superficial structure ultrasound. This program, located on the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, maintains excellence by emphasizing clinical training and an advanced didactic curriculum.

The Diagnostic Medical Sonography Program at UCH is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (www.caahep.org) upon the recommendation of the Joint Review Committee on Education in Diagnostic Medical Sonography (JRCDMS).

Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs
25400 US Highway 19 N., Suite 158
Clearwater, FL 33763
727-210-2350
www.caahep.org

The Diagnostic Medical Sonography Program at UCH accepts six students each year. Acceptance into the program is very competitive, based on academic and work experiences, GPA, critical thinking abilities, and communication skills. There is no waiting list.

The curriculum includes classroom instruction, laboratory training, and hands-on scanning experience. This is a 12-month program, with each academic year beginning the first week of September and running through the end of August. All instruction is conducted at UCHealth University of Colorado Hospital. The program is considered full-time, Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m, and includes four clinical and one didactic day of instruction each week.

This general sonography program curriculum focuses on ultrasound physics, abdomen and superficial parts, and obstetric and gynecologic ultrasound. Additional curriculum includes, but is not limited to, vascular, pediatric, fetal echocardiography, breast, and musculoskeletal ultrasound.

Graduation requirements for this program include satisfactory completion of required clinical competencies, a grade percentage above 70 percent in all subject areas and tuition payment in full.

Upon successful completion of this program, students are awarded a certificate, which makes them eligible to take the ARDMS certification examinations in OB-GYN, abdomen/superficial structure imaging and ultrasound physics. Passing the ARDMS certification examinations will result in receiving the Registered Diagnostic Medical Sonographer (RDMS) credential. Please refer to the Outcome Summary outlining further information about the program’s success rates.

The DMS Program at UCH does not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, ethnicity, color, sex, national origin, or disability. Any student who meets the physical and academic requirements is eligible to apply for the program.

Housing is the responsibility of the student.

Program contact information:

Emily Downs
Department of Radiology
University of Colorado Hospital, F-720
1635 Aurora Court
Aurora, CO 80045
DMSprogram@uchealth.org

Admission requirements

Prerequisites

Because the Diagnostic Medical Sonography Program is only a 12-month program, a substantial pre-existing knowledge of science and medicine is required. Therefore, prerequisites for application to the program include either of the following:

A. Associates Degree or certificate from a two-year accredited allied health program, such as Radiologic Technology, Respiratory Therapy, or Nursing.

This program must offer a national registry/certification exam, which must be successfully passed by the candidate. Please refer to the Association of Schools of Allied Health Professions outline for acceptable allied health professions.

Visit the UCHealth Memorial Hospital School of Radiologic Technology page for more information.

Coursework must include:

  • Human Anatomy and Physiology (associated lab recommended)
  • Medical Terminology (letter grade must be acquired)
  • Physics (algebra-based or radiation)
  • College Algebra or above
  • Communications (English, speech or composition courses will fulfill this requirement)

B. Bachelor’s Degree in a science or medically related field.

Coursework must include:

  • Human Anatomy and Physiology (associated lab recommended)
  • Medical Terminology (letter grade must be acquired)
  • Physics (algebra-based or radiation)
  • College Algebra or above
  • Communications (English, speech or composition courses will fulfill this requirement)

A grade of C or above must be obtained in all required courses. All required coursework must be completed PRIOR to the application deadline, with the terminal degree or certification being obtained prior to the program start date.

All applicants must be citizens of the United States; we are unable to provide a student visa.

*** Suggestions to be considered a competitive applicant ***

  • Grade point average above 3.0 (4.0 grade scale)
  • Direct patient care experience
  • Knowledgeable about the field of sonography
  • Recent completion of required coursework
  • Documented observation hours of ultrasound examinations (standardized DMS Program at UCH Observation Form may be used)

International degrees

Applicants must meet one of the two program prerequisites listed above. Those who have academic credentials from foreign institutions must submit those credentials to the World Education Services (WES) or the educational Credential Evaluators, Inc. (ECE) for a course-by-course evaluation. The evaluation will take approximately four weeks to complete and its cost is the responsibility of the applicant. All documentation must be received by the application deadline.

English as a Second Language (ESL) applicants

Applicants whose first language is not English must also submit the results of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). Information about this test can be found at www.toefl.org.

Minimally accepted scores are:

Internet-based (iBT) TOTAL: 94

  • Reading: 22
  • Listening: 22
  • Speaking: 26
  • Writing: 24

Paper-based (PBT) TOTAL: 550

DI code for the Diagnostic Medical Sonography program of Denver is #2606

TOEFL scores are valid for two years from the test date and all associated fees are the responsibility of the applicant.

Health and physical requirements

Applicants must present evidence of good health and be able to meet the physical requirements of the program. Health insurance is not available through the program. Students will be required to present proof of health insurance coverage at orientation. Students must have up-to-date vaccinations, including rubella and hepatitis B, and documentation of TB testing within the prior 12 months.

Current BLS certification is required.

Physical requirements (not limited to):

  • Ability to bend and kneel
  • Full use of both arms, hands, and fingers
  • Ability to manipulate ultrasound equipment
  • Ability to hear Doppler used in pulse wave analysis
  • Ability to distinguish variations in colors used in color Doppler
  • Ability to stand and walk for lengthy periods of time
  • Ability to physically assist patients
  • Communicate effectively and professionally with patients and family members
  • Communicate effectively and professionally with staff and physicians

Longer training programs in ultrasound are available nationwide for those individuals who do not meet the pre-requisites of this one-year program. Please see the Society of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers (SDMS) web site for further program information.

Tuition/financial aid

Tuition. Tuition for the program is paid quarterly and does not include textbooks, uniforms, or supplies.

Financial aid. The program is administered by the University of Colorado Hospital, Department of Ultrasound and is not affiliated with the University of Colorado at Denver and Health Sciences Center; therefore, financial aid is not available through their Financial Aid Office. Students may be able to apply for loans or grants, other than Federal loans, through banks, private organizations, or the SDMS Educational Foundation.

Application process

Applications for the program will be accepted from qualified applicants (as outlined under “Admission Requirements”) beginning November 1 of the year prior to starting. All applications, required coursework, and supporting documentation must be postmarked by March 1.

Due to the large number of qualified and interested applicants, late or incomplete applications cannot be considered.

Applications are reviewed and scored by the Admissions Committee and selected individuals will be invited for an interview. While we do use a point system to rank academic performance, other subjective parameters may be used to determine whether an applicant is a good candidate for the sonography program which operates out of UCHealth University of Colorado Hospital. Those chosen will be notified, within one month of the application deadline, of the date and time of their interview.

All interviews will be conducted at UCHealth University of Colorado Hospital in mid-April. They will last approximately one hour. The final decision regarding program acceptance will be made following all interviews.

All applicants will be notified by mail of the final decision regarding their application by the beginning of May. No acceptance information will be given by telephone.

A completed application must include the following to be considered:

  1. Complete the program application.
  2. Upload and submit: program application, resume or CV, observation form (optional but preferred).
  3. Copy of official transcripts from all college or allied health programs attended. (Transcripts must be sent directly to the program mailing address by the educational institution. International transcripts must include a translation from an educational credentialing agency.)
  4. Three (3) signed letters of recommendation. Letters should be on letterhead, from professional references. (These must be sent directly to the program mailing address by the author of the letter, in a sealed envelope.)
  5. Completion of TOEFL exam if applicable.
FAQs

Will I be prepared to take the ARDMS certification exams for sonography when I complete the program?

Upon successful completion of the Diagnostic Medical Sonography Program, our graduates are eligible to sit for the ARDMS certification examinations in OB/Gyn, abdomen/superficial structure imaging and ultrasound physics. Passing the certification examinations will result in awarding of the Registered Diagnostic Medical Sonographer (RDMS) credential.

Is the Diagnostic Medical Sonography Program at UCHeatlh University of Colorado Hospital accredited?

Yes, The DMSPD has been fully accredited by the Joint Review Committee on Education in Diagnostic Medical Sonography (JRCDMS) and the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) in general sonography.

What physical and mental abilities must I possess?

Applicants must present evidence of good health and be able to meet the requirements of the program including:

  • Lifting and positioning patients
  • Ability to push and pull all ultrasound equipment
  • Ability to hear spectral Doppler
  • Ability to distinguish variations in color utilized in color Doppler
  • Ability to work standing greater than 75% of the time
  • Multi-tasking, spatial reasoning, and critical thinking skills as well as an ability to acquire full program curriculum at an accelerated pace

Are there observation opportunities available at UCHealth University of Colorado Hospital?

No. Because UCH is a teaching facility, we are not able to accommodate any additional individuals in our department. Applicants should contact area hospitals or outpatient clinics (such as OB/Gyn or Vascular) to inquire about “job shadowing” opportunities.

What grade point average is required to apply for the program?

A GPA of 3.0 in all required coursework, as well as an overall GPA of 3.0 is preferred.

Is there a time requirement for when a degree was obtained or required courses were taken?

No. However, due to the accelerated nature of our program it is imperative that applicants have a comprehensive understanding of the required coursework.

Is there a waiting list to get into your sonography program?

We do not have a waiting list for our sonography program. We usually receive 60-80 applications per year, and accept 5 students into the program. Applicants who are not selected may reapply for the program in the following year.

Do re-applicants need to submit all new application materials?

Yes. All application materials (including transcripts and letters of recommendation) must be resubmitted for reapplication.

Do you accept transfer students from outside sonography programs?

No, we do not.

What is the approximate cost of the program?

Tuition for the upcoming program is currently being decided. Tuition does not include textbooks, other school fees, and living or transportation expenses.

What is the deadline for applications?

Applications, required coursework, and all supporting documentation MUST be completed and postmarked by March 1. Applications are accepted after November 1 the prior year.

When does the program start?

The program is 12 months in length. It begins the first Thursday in September and finishes at the end of the following August.

What is the entry-level salary range for sonographers?

Sonographers may earn an average of $50,000-$80,000 per year.

What must I do if I have studied outside of the United States?

Foreign transcripts must be evaluated by an approved evaluation center such as the Educational Credential Evaluators, Inc., or World Education Services.

Students whose first language is not English must also submit the results of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) with the Test of Written English (TWE) and the Test of Spoken English (TSE). Information about these tests can be found at www.toefl.org.

Minimally accepted scores are:

  • 94 Internet-based
  • 550 Paper-based
  • Minimum final score of 5.0 on the TWE
  • DI code for the Diagnostic Medical Sonography Program of Denver is #2606

Is financial aid available, or are student loans available?

Financial aid is not available through the DMSP because it is a post-graduate, hospital-based program, not affiliated with the University of Colorado at Denver. However, government based programs such as the Colorado’s Workforce Investment Act (WIA), and private institution loans may provide assistance.

Do you offer weekend or night classes for sonography?

No, we do not. This program is full-time, Monday to Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Classroom sessions are held on Wednesdays.

Do you offer online courses for sonography?

No, we do not. Our courses are offered with hands-on learning within the classroom and clinical settings not easily replicated through online learning.

Can I work full-time or part-time while taking this program?

We do not recommend that you attempt to work full-time during this program to assure optimal success.

What is the Diagnostic Medical Sonography Program at UCH looking for in potential applicants, and how can I be a competitive applicant?

  • Individuals who are excited and motivated to excel in both didactic and clinical settings
  • Strong professional references from the applicant’s prior work supervisors, instructors, or health care professionals
  • Transcripts which reflect academic excellence and include the required coursework
  • Strong leadership and communication skills, and a desire for providing quality work
  • Grade point average above 3.0 (4.0 grade scale)
  • Previous direct patient care experience
  • Documented observation hours within ultrasound
  • Knowledgeable about the field of Sonography
  • Professional communication skills
Faculty

Emily M. Downs BS RDMS RVT RDCS
Program Director / Sonographer
UCHealth University of Colorado Hospital
Anschutz Outpatient Pavilion
1635 Aurora Ct. F-720
Aurora, CO 80045
Phone: 720-848-1872
Fax: 720-848-1882
E-mail: emily.downs@uchealth.org

Eric S. Schafer MS RDMS RVT RDCS
Clinical Coordinator / Sonographer
UCHealth University of Colorado Hospital
Anschutz Outpatient Pavilion
1635 Aurora Ct. F-720
Aurora, CO 80045
Phone: 720-848-1872
E-mail: eric.schafer@uchealth.org

Kristin McKinney MD
Medical Director / Assistant Professor
UCHealth University of Colorado Hospital
Anschutz Outpatient Pavilion
1635 Aurora Ct. F-720
Aurora, CO 80045
E-mail: Kristin.McKinney@ucdenver.edu
www.medschool.ucdenver.edu/radiology