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Diagnostic Medical Sonography (Ultrasound)

Associate of Applied Science

Diagnostic medical sonography student uses medical ultrasound machine on a patient

Picture yourself in one of the most dynamic fields in health care

Program includes clinical rotations, and students often secure employment before they graduate

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Diagnostic medical sonographers are a critical part of the health care team. They help clinicians diagnose illnesses using ultrasound to image organs, tissue and blood flow inside the body.

Tidewater Community College's Associate of Applied Science in Diagnostic Medical Sonography is one of only four nationally accredited general sonography programs in Virginia.

Hands-on learning takes place in the Regional Health Professions Center on the Virginia Beach Campus, which houses a state-of-the-art laboratory with eight ultrasound machines that are equivalent or better than the equipment used at major health care facilities.

As part of their education, students have clinical rotations at every major health system in Hampton Roads, including Sentara, Bon Secours, Chesapeake Regional and Riverside.

This is a very selective program with additional admissions requirements. Be sure to familiarize yourself with them below.

An associate degree is all you need for a career in this growing field, where image is everything.

Certify your skills

Earn valuable industry credentials! Course work qualifies students to sit for one or more exams administered by the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonographers (ARDMS).

View program curriculum
Admission Forms and Information

Your acceptance as a Tidewater Community College student does not guarantee admission to most TCC health profession programs. We want you to be aware of these additional requirements and important information for this program.

Admission to this program is very competitive. For additional information, see the program packet.

Download the DMS program admission packet

Begin your journey by applying for admission to TCC. On your application, indicate that you intend to pursue Diagnostic Medical Sonography (DMS).

It is strongly recommended that you attend the information session, which is held the third Thursday of each month at 4 p.m. (except December) at the Regional Health Professions Center on the Virginia Beach Campus.

Topics covered are general information, admissions process, benchmark courses, selection process, curriculum, hands-on learning in clinical settings, provisional acceptance requirements and more. Faculty and staff will be available to answer your questions.

As a prospective student, you must also:

1. Complete and submit the Health Professions Program Application by May 15 for fall admission. Include unofficial transcripts from previous colleges you have attended. 

3. Make sure you receive appropriate transfer credits from previous college studies. Applicants receive points for formal medical education in radiography, other health programs and work experience.

Additional requirements

1. Completion of these benchmark courses with a grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 or better. More points are awarded for higher grades.

  • Biology (BIO) 141 Human Anatomy and Physiology
  • Mathematics (MTH) 154 Quantitative Reasoning
  • Physics (PHY) 100 Elements of Physics
  • Health (HLT) 141 or 143 Medical Terminology
    Applicants who meet all benchmarks will continue to the next stage of the application process. You will be required to complete an assigned essay and have an interview with a program representative.

You may earn additional points by completing these courses:

  • English (ENG) 111 College Composition
  • Student Development (SDV) 101 Orientation to Health Care
  • 1 Social Science elective
  • 1 Humanities elective – Philosophy (PHI) 226 Social Ethics is recommended

After you’ve been accepted:

1. Submit the Health Professions Physical Examination Form showing satisfactory health status based on a physician’s exam within the previous 12 months.

2. Submit your immunization record showing you have met Virginia’s requirements for health care personnel.

3. Submit documentation of a negative TB test

4. Complete a criminal/sex offender background check prior to working at any clinical facility.* Order your background check here.

* Tidewater Community College does not assume any responsibility for obtaining or evaluating the results of a criminal background check, drug screen or other check, maintaining the records of results or for delivering them to clinical sites. It is the decision of the clinical affiliate (health care or medical facility) whether a student will be allowed to participate in clinical activities should there be positive criminal or sex offender results. 

What does this program cost?

You can complete a 2-year associate degree for less than the cost of 1 year at a 4-year college or university.

TCC’s Associate of Applied Science in Diagnostic Medical Sonography consists of 4 semesters of full-time study, with classes held mainly on the Virginia Beach Campus.

Estimated Program Cost*:
67 credits x $185.35 per credit = $12,418.45 (not including textbooks and supplies)
*Based on Fall 2018 in-state tuition. Your actual cost may differ.

Additional costs include criminal background check ($46), student membership in the Society of Diagnostic Medical Sonography ($45), and uniforms.

Where can you go?

While an associate degree is all that is required for most jobs, students seeking management or teaching opportunities can transfer to a four-year institution to earn a bachelor’s in health sciences.

TCC has transfer agreements with Old Dominion University's bachelor's program in health sciences and the University of Virginia's bachelor of professional studies in health sciences management. The U.Va. program is part time and offered almost entirely online.

Is this program for you?

Yes, if you:

  • have excellent communication skills
  • have excellent problem-solving skills
  • can lift more than 50 pounds
  • don’t mind working on your feet 
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Veterans, transitioning military, spouses and dependents: TCC’s Center for Military and Veterans Education provides academic guidance and help in maximizing your GI Bill® and other educational benefits.

Learn more about the CMVE

Fanned-out money

Tuition assistance such as financial aid, scholarships, work-study, grants and loans can help you save money and reduce college debt.

Learn more about paying for college

100% pass rate in the last three years for the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonography examination

Almost every student is employed before completing the program. View the Program Outcomes Summary

Learn collaboratively with TCC radiography, physical therapy and nursing students

Median annual salary

Jobs related to this field have a median annual salary of $66,435*

National accreditation

TCC program recently earned continuing accreditation by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs in conjunction with Joint Review Committee on Education in Diagnostic Medical Sonography


“TCC is so established here,” said graduate Jessica Francis. “They’ve secured all the partnerships with clinical sites. In our field, that is huge.

* Salary estimate is provided for comparison purposes only and doesn’t constitute a promise of employment or earnings. Salaries were calculated based on related job codes and U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data.