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Diagnostic Medical Sonography
College Credit
& Degrees
Frequently Asked Questions 

What do I need to do to be accepted into the Diagnostic Medical Sonography Program? 

  • Complete a General Admission application to the College if you are not a current Cuyahoga Community College student. This is online or at any campus Enrollment Center. This is the first of two applications that you will need to complete.
  • Submit High School transcript or GED scores, and transcripts from all previously attended colleges to the Enrollment Processing Center, PO Box 5966, Cleveland, OH 44101. It takes just a few weeks for transcript evaluation. To view the accepted transferred classes, run a Degree Audit Report (DARS) found on your My Tri-C Space.
      • The Program Manager and counselors cannot evaluate transcripts.
      • Check on-line to see if a course taken transfers equally for the one you intend it to replace.
  • Take the Biology, English and Math Placement tests if you do not have any college-level Math or English courses.
  • Make an appointment to meet with a counselor. Arrive on time so that they can help you do a program planner and help you decide what courses to register for in the upcoming semester.
  • Review the  Diagnostic Medical Sonography Program packet.
  • Submit a Health Career Application.  This application is different and separate from the College application.
  • Complete the required admission courses and ‘shadowing’ requirements. The following admission courses are required to be accepted to the Diagnostic Medical Sonography (DMS) Program:

           Required Admission Courses

ENG-1010 College Composition I

3 credits

MATH-1141 Applied Algebra & Mathematical Reasoning
(or higher-level math course that requires algebraic skills)

3 credits

BIO-2331 & Bio-2341 Anatomy and Physiology I & II

8 credits

DMS-1071 Concepts of Physics in Diagnostic Sonography
(DMS 1070 & Phys-1210 are also accepted)

2 credits

DMS-1303 Introduction to Sonography

2 credits

DMS-1320 Introduction to Sonographic Scanning

1 credit

DMS-1351 Patient Care Skills

1 credit

When scheduling or while in the core courses, keep the following in mind:

  • Plan out when you are taking your courses because many of the courses have prerequisites or co-requisite requirements. Click here for suggested sequencing of your admission courses.
  • A letter grade of "C" or better must be achieved.
  • Only two of the admission courses may be repeated once to improve from a previous attempt. A "W" is counted as an attempt.
  • Minimum 3.0 GPA for DMS 1303, DMS 1320 and DMS 1071 (total 5 credits)
  • Minimum 3.0 GPA for BIO 2331 and BIO 2341 (total 8 credits)
  • Admission GPA calculated using only the Tri-C specific admission course credit hours listed above
  • Minimum Tri-C cumulative GPA of 2.5 must be maintained during the entire length of the Program
  • No time limits for required coursework, however, the course content is important and will be built upon (not reviewed) in the remaining Program courses
  • Health Career programs do not accept Pass/No Pass grades for admission courses taken at Tri-C.
  • Biology and Math requirements should be scheduled early in your course plan; delaying them delays your acceptance to the Program
  • Schedule an 8-16 hour “shadowing” experience with a hospital. Information is in the DMS Program packet. If you are planning on doing your shadowing at a hospital that is part of the Cleveland Clinic Health System, contact Amy Graska at or 216 529-8395 who will assist you in making arrangements.
  • If you transferred in other college ourses (such as English, Math, Physics, Psychology, or Anatomy & Physiology), you will most likely need an override to register for the some of the admission courses. Please contact a counselor or program manager; provide them your Tri-C student ID number and the course section number (CRN). Only the credit hours attached to the required Tri-C equivalents are used to calculate the admission GPA regardless of the number of credits the College accepts for the transfer course.
  • Students required to take the TOEFL should consider taking the following coursework to assist them in attaining the minimal scores: ESL Speaking English III and Special Topics in ESL: TOEFL Preparation.

Complete and submit the Health Career Application with the completed Shadowing Experience form after the middle of the term of your last required admission coursework. Do not submit any transcripts with this application; other Health career programs may require them but not DMS. Indicate on the application the one specialty that you are interested in learning. The DMS Program is accredited to offer all of the specialty options listed.

  • If you have an approved course substitution or course waiver, please submit a note with your application indicting that a course substitution/waiver is on file.

Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) is required of all international students or if English is spoken as a second language. A minimal iBT score of 24 is required in the speaking skill component and a minimal iBT score of 22 is required in the listening skill component. Go to for more information about these tests. The student is responsible for arrangements and costs incurred for the TOEFL. This test must be taken even if you have become an American citizen. Students should consider taking the following coursework to assist them in attaining the minimal scores: ESL Speaking English III and Special Topics in ESL: TOEFL Preparation.

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When are the admission courses offered? 

Most, but not all, of the admission courses are offered every semester at Tri-C. Many have both daytime and evening offerings every semester; a few offer Web classes. DMS-specific courses are only offered at the Western Campus location in Parma.

Can I take the admission courses closer to my home/work? 

Many of the admission courses can be taken at other campuses. If the location is not a Tri-C campus, check online to see if the course transfers equally for the one you intend it to replace. Due to the limited number of Sonography programs, very few colleges offer courses that are equivalent to the Diagnostic Medical Sonography-specific admission classes.

Where is the Diagnostic Medical Sonography (DMS) Program located?

The DMS Program is offered at the Western Campus in Parma. Because of the expense of the scanning lab equipment and space requirements, all of the DMS courses are only offered at this campus.

What specialty areas of sonography does the Program offer?

There are several areas of specialization in the field of sonography; individuals interested must choose an area to specialize in when applying to the program. Tri-C is CAAHEP-accredited for the following specialty options offered:

  • General sonography
    • Abdominal: sonographic evaluation of the organs of the abdominal cavity (i.e. liver, spleen, kidney, pancreas, and aorta), blood vessels, and superficial structures
    • Obstetrics/Gynecology: sonographic evaluation of the female reproductive system and pelvic cavity (i.e. uterus, ovaries, and pregnancy)


  • Adult Cardiac: sonographic evaluation of the adult anatomy and blood flow of the heart, its valves, and related blood vessels

  • Vascular technology: sonographic evaluation carotid arteries, deep leg veins, and renal arteries)

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Which specialty should I choose?

This is really a matter of personal choice and interest. Some students pursue a specialty because of their interest in that organ/body system; while others select a field because a friend or family member having health issues with that body system. Applicants unsure of what specialty option to pursue are encouraged to contact the ultrasound lab, the echo lab, and the vascular lab at a hospital and arrange to 'shadow' a sonographer in each of the specialties to gain insight as to how each differ. Remember to bring your shadowing form with you. Directions, tips, and the form are in the DMS Program packet.
Applicants are expected to do their own research on employment opportunities and trends. The U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics is an excellent resource as are human resources department at area hospitals. Other resources are located at the Career and Job Outlook link.

What is the typical salary for a Diagnostic Medical Sonographer?

Typical starting range for a new graduate in Sonography in the Greater Akron/Cleveland area ranges from $24.00 to $26.00 per hour. Often, sonographers take call and work overtime hours; annual earnings reflect this as an increase in their income.

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How soon can I begin the Diagnostic Medical Sonography Program?

The DMS program starts once a year each Fall semester. The number of students accepted into the program is determined by the availability of space in the program’s hospital/clinical affiliates. Annual accepted class size varies from 40 to 50 students.

This limited enrollment capacity of the DMS program means that not all who apply can be accepted to start the upcoming offering of the Program. Qualified candidates not immediately accommodated will be placed on a delayed entry list (commonly referred to as the ‘wait’ list) for the next program offering. This list is dynamic; candidates are notified and moved up as vacancies occur. Only applicants that have completed all of the admission requirements and meeting the admission GPAs are permitted to be on the wait list.

A criminal background check  with finger printing is required prior to final acceptance into the program. The Program Manager informs the students as to when to get this completed. Only background check reports performed during the specific time frame and from the College selected vendor are accepted. Students can also expect the clinical site to request drug testing.

After acceptance into the Program and before clinical assignment in the second semester, applicants must submit evidence of good health by fulfilling health requirements of the DMS Program and verification of current CPR certification for Health Care Providers. Students will be dropped from the program if significant limiting health conditions are present which prevent the student from performing the normal functions of a sonographer and/or constitute a hazard to the health or safety of patients.

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When do I find out that I am accepted?

Only applicants with complete files (proof of all graded coursework, shadowing form and required GPAs) will receive a tentative acceptance letter. These letters are typically sent out the beginning of February, July and mid-September (approximately 6 weeks after the final grades are entered). At that time, information is sent regarding further correspondence.

Applicants are asked not to contact the Health Career Enrollment Center or Program Manager about their acceptance status until after these time frames. The Program's Home page and Program Status page will be updated indicating when letters have been sent.

What other courses should I take while waiting for my Fall program start date?  

It is wise to complete all of the other non-DMS coursework required in the curriculum sequence. Once those are completed, the following coursework may be taken:
                            DMS 235A, DMS 235B, DMS 1381 and DMS 2330

In addition, you should consider continuing your studies in pursuit of a bachelor’s degree. Tri-C has several degree transfer options for Health Career students. Some of these involve considerable cost savings by taking courses at Tri-C that are accepted by the 4-year institution towards meeting your degree. Your counselor can provide you information as to available institutions and their contact information. 

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What clinical sites are available?

The DMS Program has affiliation agreements with nearly every hospital in Cuyahoga and the surrounding nine counties. The Program extends as far east as Lake Health and south to Canton’s Mercy and Aultman Hospitals. A listing can be found here.

Throughout the Program, you will most likely have 3 different clinical site rotations. Your site is selected for you based on educational needs and accreditation-required experience.

How much does the Diagnostic Medical Sonography Program cost?

The table below provides estimated expenses. Expenses are ‘a la carte’ style – payment is due at the time of course registration or purchase (as in texts). A Campus Security and Maintenance Fee is charged based on the number of credit hours registered for that semester; this fee replaces the parking fee.  Every student’s situation is different. Costs can vary depending on the following:

                • Number of pertinent transferred courses               • Placement test scores
                • Number of credit hours that semester                   • New, used or rented texts
                • County of residence 

Estimate of Program Expenses (assumes all courses taken at Tri-C Fall 2014)

Associate Degree Estimated Expenses




Out-of State



$ 8,302-9,620


Institutional Fees 




Lab Fees




Texts & Supplies








Liability Insurance




Background Check




SPI Registry Fee




Total Estimate

$9,041 - $10,087

$10,757 - $12,075

$18,137 - $20,627

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Is financial aid/assistance available?

Students may qualify for federal or state programs and some Health Career-specific grants or scholarships once you are admitted to the program. For more information, contact the Financial Assistance Department at (216) 987-5100 or go online for information on these resources.

Additional sources can be obtained from the Society of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers (, the American Society of Echocardiography (, and the Society for Vascular Ultrasound (

What kind of course schedule can I expect and prepare for?

The DMS associate degree programs are cohort-style and five semesters in length after being accepted into the Program. Courses, offered mostly during the daytime, must be taken in a specific order and completed in five consecutive semesters. There is no opportunity to accelerate through the curriculum in less than the required semesters even with previous coursework and experience; nor can a student register for courses to fit their personal schedule as they would for other college degrees. The Program is a full-time commitment and cannot be completed on a part-time basis.

Applicants are encouraged to attend a “What You Should Know before Starting the DMS Program” session offered a couple of times each year.  At these sessions, current program students volunteer to tell their story about their life and time in the Program and offer their advice as to what worked best for them in juggling the demands of school, family and friends.

Due to the level of difficulty, intensity, and the required amount of studies, the Program requires a full-time commitment. Clinical hours and on-campus class hours consist of 36-40 hours per week. Clinical hours (Field Experience courses) are scheduled during the day at the hospitals and on-campus lectures are offered in the daytime, however, some required courses are offered in the evening.

To see the DMS Program recommended course sequence time schedule, please download the Print Version of Frequently Asked Questions. Changes to this schedule may be made to meet the Program needs or to adjust to new scheduling time blocks.

Diagnostic Medical Sonography Program Requirements

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How to reach us

Denise Kinches 
Western Campus
WHTC 268

Health Careers Enrollment Center
Cuyahoga Community College
Metropolitan Campus-MHCS 126 
2900 Community College Avenue
Cleveland OH 44115-3196

 Download a PDF of the Frequently Asked Questions

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