Students who want to pursue a career in diagnostic medical sonography or echocardiography will now be able to stay in North Dakota to learn these skills. An existing radiologic sciences major at North Dakota State University and a partnership with Sanford Health allows students in the NDSU Department of Allied Sciences to pursue additional education, without having to seek such specialization outside of the state.Since 2001, the Department of Allied Sciences at NDSU has affiliated with accredited hospital-based radiologic technology programs. Students become baccalaureate-prepared radiologic technology professionals in fields such as x-ray and MRI. Sanford Health’s new sonography programs in echocardiography and diagnostic medical sonography are enhancing professional courses and career options for radiologic science majors at NDSU.
In this educational partnership, students complete two or more years of prerequisite courses at NDSU, followed by a 21-month full-time internship at Sanford Health Fargo. All internship classes, scanning labs and clinical experience in echocardiography and diagnostic medical sonography will take place at Sanford. Students will graduate with a baccalaureate degree and major in radiologic sciences from NDSU and now can receive certificates of specialization in radiography, echocardiography, or diagnostic medical sonography from Sanford Health.
Interested students can learn more about the curriculum and internship online through the NDSU Department of Allied Sciences in the College of Health Professions. Existing NDSU staff and resources in the radiologic sciences major are used in the specialization tracks in diagnostic medical sonography and echocardiography.
“There are just so many options, paths, and areas for growth with sonography,” said Laramie Johnson, a student enrolled in the major. “I was thrilled to hear that this program was starting here in Fargo so that I could pursue my passion for sonography close to home.”
Sonography uses ultrasound imaging to produce visual images of organs, tissues or blood flow inside the body. Echocardiographers evaluate the structure and the function of the heart and related blood vessels. Diagnostic medical sonographers evaluate soft tissues, blood vessels, fetal development and organs in the abdomen and pelvis.
“Offering sonography within the radiologic sciences major serves student interest in these careers and helps to meet employers’ needs for health care professionals in this high demand field,” said Polly Olson, director of the NDSU Department of Allied Sciences in the College of Health Professions.
“The Sanford Health sonography program was developed due to the continually increasing demand for skilled sonographers at our facility. We are excited to launch the first program in North Dakota and provide a new career opportunity to students in the region,” said Stefanie Anderson, diagnostic medical sonography education manager of Sanford Health. “Through our partnership with NDSU, students will have access to a well-rounded educational experience, as well as clinical training to prepare them for this growing occupation.”
The U.S. Department of Labor projects that the job market for diagnostic medical sonographers and cardiovascular technologists and technicians, including vascular technologists, is projected to grow 24 percent from 2014 to 2024, much faster than the average for all occupations.
“We work to respond to the needs of students and employers, as we continue to address the demand for quality programs that educate future health care professionals to serve this region,” said Charles D. Peterson, dean of the College of Health Professions at NDSU.
For more information about the sonography program, please visit sanfordhealth.org.