Sonography Program

Harris Health System's School of Diagnostic Medical Imaging offers a Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) accredited hospital-based Diagnostic Medical Sonography Program (DMS).

Students are trained in abdominal, OB-GYN, and vascular sonography. Students take detailed classes in anatomy and physiology, pathology, physics and instrumentation and scanning techniques. Students are required to apply sonography skills learned in classes and labs to the clinic setting.

During the program, students are assigned to clinical rotations at Ben Taub Hospital, Lyndon B. Johnson Hospital and Casa de Amigos Health Center. Ben Taub — one of two level I trauma centers in Houston — offers students the unique opportunity to experience the dynamics of trauma care. LBJ is a Level III trauma center.Accreditation
The Harris Health DMS program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). CAAHEP promotes excellence in education and enhances quality and safety of patient care through the accreditation of educational programs. The Harris Health DMS program is the only CAAHEP accredited hospital-based DMS program in the state of Texas.

Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP)
1361 Park Street
Clearwater, FL 33756
Phone: 727-210-2350
http://www.caahep.org

Program Mission
The mission of the School of Diagnostic Medical Imaging is to educate the next generation of competent entry-level imaging professionals.

Philosophy
Sonographers are upheld to the ARRT/ARDMS Standards of Ethics to be competent, compassionate and knowledgeable. At Harris Health System, we recognize the importance of integrating training in the cognitive, psychomotor and affective domains as a means to this end. We are compelled to practice, promote and reward excellence and professionalism to prepare graduates to be competitive in the local and national health care arenas.

Program Goals

• Graduates will be clinically competent.
• The program will graduate entry-level sonographers.
• Graduates will demonstrate professionalism and lifelong learning.
• Graduates will demonstrate effective communication and problem-solving skills.  

Professional Credentialing
Graduates of the Harris Health DMS program may apply to take the following sonography specialty credentialing exams administered by the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS):

• Abdominal Sonography
• Obstetrics & Gynecologic Sonography
• Vascular Sonography

Graduates of the Harris Health DMS program, who also possess the minimum of an Associate’s Degree, may apply to take the primary sonography credentialing exam administered by the American Registry of Radiologic Technology (ARRT).

Requirements for Admission
Interviews and consideration for acceptance are granted to individuals who meet or exceed the minimum criteria required to make application to the ultrasound program.

Please note requirements for admissions are subject to change.

Applicants must meet the following requirements:

• Must be 18 years old by September 1 of the year of application
• Be capable of successfully performing tasks related to the occupation: moving and positioning patients and ultrasound equipment, evaluating written instructions for ultrasound procedures, and communicating instructions to patients
• Be a US citizen or permanent resident at the time of application
• Complete and submit an application

Admission Requirements 
For the program furnish transcripts that document either:
 
Option 1. Graduation from a healthcare related program
A. Can be diploma, certificate or degree
B. Healthcare program must be: 
     • 24 months length, or
     • 60 semester credit hours, or
     • 84 quarter credit hours
C. The following college level classes are mandatory*
     • College algebra, statistics or higher mathematics course (one semester)
     • Communication skills: English, Composition or Speech (one semester)
     • General college-level physics and/or radiographic physics (one semester)
     • Human anatomy and physiology (one semester required, two semesters highly recommended
    • Medical terminology

Option 2.  Minimum of 42 hours of college.
A. Required college level credit* in: 
    • 3 hours: College Algebra, Statistics or higher
    • 3 hours: College Physics
    • 4-8 hours: Anatomy & Physiology (one semester required, two semesters highly recommended)
    • 3 hours: Psychology or Sociology
    • 3 hours: Speech (public speaking or interpersonal communication)
    • 3 hours: Composition or Literature
    • 3 hours: Humanities/Fine Arts
    • 3 hours: Information Technology/Computer Science
    • 1-3 hours: Medical Terminology
    • Remainder of the hours may be earned in any college level subject 

*Applicants may apply for admission while currently enrolled in any of the required classes. Applicant must show proof of current enrollment to be considered for admissions. Preference will be given to those applicants who have completed all requirements, however all potential applicants are encouraged to apply.

The completed application must include:
• A non-refundable $35 application fee in the form of a money order or cashier's check only
• A short essay explaining why you chose medical sonography as a career (must be typed on a separate piece of paper)
• Official transcripts from all colleges attended.
       • Transcripts must document a GPA of 2.5 or higher on a 4-point scale
       • The minimum cumulative GPA required to make application is 2.5 on a 4-point scale
       • Transcripts are accepted only from colleges that are accredited by Commission on Colleges and Schools /Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools
       • Applicants with foreign transcripts must have academic credentials evaluated for US equivalency by an education consulting service and submit an official copy directly to the program. The evaluation must include class grades and GPA. A documented cumulative GPA of 2.5 or higher on a 4-point scale is required for admissions.
• Two (2) letters of recommendation.
References should come from individuals who can adequately evaluate academic and employment performance.
• Proof of US citizenship or permanent residence (must provide as part of HR processing if accepted into the program)
• Applicants who meet the admissions requirements are scheduled for an interview with the selection committee.

The information session dates and times for the 2013 class admissions are:
September 10, 2013 at 5 p.m.
October 8, 2013 at 5 p.m.
November 12, 2013 at 5 p.m.
December 3, 2013 at 5 p.m.
January 14, 2014 at 5 p.m.
February  11, 2014 at 5 p.m.
February  25, 2014 at 5 p.m.

All sessions will be held at:
The School of Medical Imaging
9250 Kirby, Ste. 1800
Houston, TX 77054

Registration is recommended due to limited seating. Call 713-634-1550 to leave a message.

Student Selection
The Selection Committee considers all aspects of each applicant's record and offers admission to the best-qualified individuals. Those not selected will be placed on a waiting list and maybe offered admission if slots become available. Applicants are selected for admission using the following information:

1. Completed application
    • Essay
    • Academic Performance 
    • References
2. Interview
Harris Health System's Human Resources Department (HR) processes all applicants selected for admission. The process includes:
    • A general physical examination conducted by Harris Health at no cost to the applicant
    • Background check
    • Drug screening
    • Harris Health general orientation
    • CPR certification


Applicants who successfully complete HR processing are required to attend a mandatory orientation.
 

Advanced Placement
The program does not offer advanced placement regardless of previous experience or education.
 
Technical Performance Standards
Students accepted into the program must be physically capable of successfully performing the following standards accurately and expeditiously. These standards are related to occupational safety. Please read the following standards carefully, make an assessment of your physical capabilities, and determine if you have any physical limitations that may restrict or interfere with your satisfactory performance of any of the standards listed below.

 

  1. Lift, move and transport patients (from bed to wheelchair/stretcher or from wheelchair/stretcher to ultrasound table) without causing undue pain or discomfort to the patient or one's self 
  2. Position the patient for various sonographic examinations without injury to the patient 
  3. Manipulate ultrasound equipment (fixed and mobile units) into proper positions 
  4. Transport mobile equipment to assigned areas of the hospital in a timely and careful manner 
  5. Respond instantly to emergency situations that may otherwise jeopardize a patient's physical state if speedy care is not administered 
  6. Evaluate written requisitions for sonographic procedures 
  7. Explain imaging procedures and give effective instructions to patients 
  8. Obtain medical history from the patient and communicate this information to the radiologist 
  9. Evaluate sonographic images in relation to imaging factors, image quality, and anatomical orientation

Academic Policies

Non-discriminatory Statement
It is the policy of the Harris Health System School of Medical Imaging to provide equal educational opportunities for all applicants without regard to race, color, religious creed, sex, age, national origin, or disability.

Due Process
Due process deals with decisions made concerning disciplinary action, student reports, dismissals, unfair treatment, unsafe or unhealthy conditions and discrimination. The due process procedure should be invoked only after attempts to resolve the problem at the school's administrative level have failed.

Step 1:
No later than 5 days after the occurrence that gave rise to the conflict, the student will present a signed written request to the Director of Education. The Director of Education shall meet with the student and the Advisory Committee and provide a written response to the student within 5 days of the meeting.

Step 2:
In the event that the conflict was not satisfactorily resolved, the student may, within 5 days of the response, submit written request for resolution to the VP of Human Resources. The student and the administrator shall convene a meeting within 5 days of receipt of the request. The VP of Human Resources shall submit a written response to the student's request within 5 days following the meeting.

The decision of the vice president of Human Resources is final.  

Program Overview

Schedule
Students attend didactic classes at Ben Taub Hospital and attend clinical education at three (3) of Harris Health System facilities: 
• Ben Taub Hospital
• Lyndon B. Johnson Hospital
• Casa de Amigos Health Center 

The program begins September each year.

Program hours are Monday-Friday, 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. and excludes weekends and holidays. Students spend time in the classroom, lab and clinical rotations. 

Students are required to attend school for no more than 40 hours per week. 

The length of the sonography program is 20 months. However, in instances where a student must repeat coursework, the program completion time may be extended to, but may not exceed three years, except upon approval by the advisory committee. 

The program is divided into five sixteen-week semesters.  

The student must attend class and clinic simultaneously except when an injury or surgery interferes with clinical progress during the regular course of the program. In this instance, with approval, the student may be placed on a leave of absence from clinical education and attend classes only until his/her physician authorizes a return to clinic. The student will make up the time missed from clinical education.

Breaks   
Winter Break  2 Weeks
Spring Break  1 Week 
 Summer Break  2 Weeks
 Fall Break  1 Week

Holidays
News Year's Day
MLK Day
Presidents' Day
Good Friday
Memorial Day
Independence Day
Labor Day
Day before Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving Day
Day after Thanksgiving
Christmas Day
Christmas Eve  

Curriculum
• Acoustic Physics and Instrumentation
• Abdominal Sonography
• OB/Gyn Sonography
• Vascular Sonography (limited)
• Special Procedures
• Clinical Training

Requirements for Graduation
A certificate of completion is awarded when all program requirements have been satisfied.

All students must:
• Pass all coursework with a minimum grade of C
• Demonstrate clinical proficiency by satisfying the requirements of the competency-based clinical education plan
• Satisfy the terminal competency objectives
• Complete the program in 20 months at a minimum and three years at a maximum
• Pay tuition and fees in full
• Make up all time missed
• Pay all outstanding library fees at Houston Academy of Science (Jesse Jones) and submit a receipt with zero balance
• Pass the comprehensive didactic and clinical examinations (Capstone) with a C or higher
• Schedule an exit interview at the end of the program
• Attend the commencement exercises
• Return the following: 
   1. Clinical education binder 
   2. Harris Health identification badge

Grading
The grading system used throughout the program is:

 Grade Number Grade Grade Points
 A  94-100 4.0 
 B 86-93  3.0 
 C 76-85  2.0 
 F  Below 76 0.0 

Students must receive a C in each didactic/clinical education course.

Program Costs

  1. For tuition and fees, see fee table below 
  2. Tuition costs are subject to change
  3. Tuition does not include books, uniforms, housing, transportation or parking
    All students pay a $150.00 fee at the beginning of the program
  4. Students residing outside of Harris County must add $50.00 per semester to the tuition costs and students residing outside of Texas must add $200.00 per semester
  5. Tuition is paid on a per semester basis and must be paid by the first day of the semester
  6. Tuition is based on $800 per semester for in district students and $850 per semester for out of district students, and $1000 per semester for out of state students
  7. To be eligible for in-state or in-district tuition, students must show proof of at least twelve months of residency

Total Tuition and Fees for 2014-2016 Program

 In District $4,150
Out of District
Students residing outside Harris County
$4,400
 Out of State $5,150

Payment Options

Tuition is due on the first day of the semester. Students who are experiencing difficulty must come to the office and discuss the payment options available to them.

Option 1:
Tuition must be paid in full by the first day of class.

Option 2:
One-half of the semester tuition must be paid by the first day of class. The remaining half of the semester tuition must be paid in full by the end of the month. (additional fees apply)

Refunds
A student who officially withdraws during the first ten days of the semester will be refunded 100% of the tuition paid for the semester. After the tenth day, tuition will not be refunded.

Additional Costs

Books - Books cost approximately $800. Many of the books are used repeatedly throughout the program

Uniforms - The dress regulations for the program requires all students to medical scrub uniforms, white lab coats, black uniform shoes and black or white socks. Uniforms cost approximately $25 a set.

Parking - The cost of parking in the Medical Center is high. Students are encouraged to explore all options that are available to them for transportation and parking. Parking with Texas Medical Center (TMC) Parking Garage is also available. The approximate cost of contract parking is $65 per month. Students may contact the TMC parking garage at 713-791-6161.

Salary / Stipend
Students do not receive a salary or a stipend. 

Financial Aid
Financial aid is not available through the school.

Transfer of Credit
Some institutions of higher learning award credit to graduates for successfully completing the program and passing the ARDMS examination. The credit awarded is based on the institution's admission policies and practices, and is awarded at the discretion of the institution.

Students whose academic goal is to obtain an undergraduate degree should check with the institution before enrolling in this program.

Drug-Free Workplace Act Policy

  • Students of Harris Health System School of Diagnostic Medical Imaging are strictly prohibited from the unlawful manufacture, distribution, dispensation, possession, concealment, purchase or use of any controlled substance, volatile chemicals, illegal drugs or alcohol on any Harris Health System premises. Students who violate this policy will be subject to immediate dismissal.
  • If the student requires any variations from the approved policies and procedures, the student, his/her physician, the Program Director, the Director of Radiology and the Radiation Safety Officer will provide input into the decision making process.  

What you will accomplish
The graduate will:
• Be qualified to fulfill the responsibilities of a competent entry-level sonographer
• Exhibit a professional attitude
• Be prepared to complete credentialing examination by The American Registry For Diagnostic Medical Sonography and/or American Registry of Radiologic Technologist (ARRT)*

*Only graduates who possess an associate's degree or higher may apply for the ARRT credentialing examination.

To Apply
Submit the completed application. Completed applications with all transcripts must be received no later than March 1, 2014.

Completed applications should be submitted to:
Harris Health System
School of Diagnostic Medical Imaging
Program in Diagnostic Medical Sonography
9250 Kirby, Houston, TX 77054
Phone: 713-634-1550
or by email: bertha.vance@harrishealth.org



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