Students excelling in growing healthcare field

JACKSON – The Diagnostic Medical Sonography field is booming, a plus for anyone ready to be trained for a career earning a median pay per year of $65,620 nationally.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects employment of diagnostic medical sonographers and cardiovascular technologists and technicians to grow 17 percent by 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations.

Linda Holley

The gateway to that rewarding career is Hinds Community College’s Diagnostic Medical Sonography program, with specializations that can build a student’s resume’ from the first day of class – and build their earnings potential beyond college and into the workplace.

“You learn a lot fast in this program, and it’s exciting,” said Linda Holley, 31, of Natchez, a registered X-ray technologist who chose Hinds Community College as the place to earn her ultrasound credential. “It can take you anywhere – that’s one good thing about finishing the ultrasound program.”

In the Jackson area, graduates of the program typically earn $25 an hour. But, those salaries can rise quickly with both experience and more advanced degrees. Practitioners can start their education at Hinds Community College and continue their education as they work in the field to increase their salaries over a period of time.

Sonographers with a doctorate or a master’s typically earned up to $4 an hour more than those with an associate degree, according to a 2016 poll by the Texas-based Society of Diagnostic Medical Sonography industry trade group. The top end of the hourly wage scale is about $36, according to the organization.

Alexis Rader

Sonography, most often associated with determining the health of babies in the womb, uses high-frequency sound waves to produce images for diagnosis. It has expanded into a growing list of specializations in recent years to include vascular, echocardiogram and musculoskeletal, to name a few.

Hinds Community College’s program is a 12-month course of study, which leads to an Associate of Applied Sciences degree with a specialization in Diagnostic Medical Sonography (DMS). Excellence in each technological advance is evident among program graduates when they enter the workforce.

“Hinds Community College takes its commitment seriously in educating and training students in all allied health disciplines,” said Dr. Bryan Lantrip, of Jackson-based Lakeland Radiologists PA. “The results speak for themselves, with the program having high percentages of first-time passage of registry exams as well as high job procurement.”

Students are trained by those who’ve worked in the industry, one that demands sound judgment and expertise with the latest equipment.

Alexis Rader, 23, of Vicksburg likes the potential for variety in the field. “Ultrasound gives you a lot of options you can specialize in, so every day you’re learning something new,” she said.

Kashayla Edwards

And, Kashayla Edwards, 25, of Mount Olive, also a registered X-ray tech, appreciates the rigor of the program.

“The instruction goes in-depth here, so we’re learning more here than I would out in the field,” she said.

Academically and in the industry, Hinds Community College’s program has a stellar reputation.

“My time in the DMS program was transformative,” said Andrew Reel, of Louisville, who graduated from the program in 2018 and works shifts at Merit Health River Region in Vicksburg. “I have acquired an incredible skill and learned from incredible people in the dozen different clinical sites across the state.”

The Hinds Community College Diagnostic Medical Sonography program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (www.caahep.org) upon the recommendation of the Accreditation Committee for Educational Programs for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (JRC-DMS).

Andrew Reel

“The program is committed to providing the highest standards of academic, personal and professional potential through quality courses and clinical instructions that enable our graduates to become effective members of the healthcare team,” said Lesa Wilson, director of the program at Hinds. “Our accreditation allows our students to sit for their national certification exams, prior to graduation. Our rates for graduation, licensure, and job placement rank among the highest in the nation.”

For more information, contact Lesa Wilson, director of the program based at the college’s Jackson Campus-Nursing Allied Health Center, at 601.376.4821, or visit www.hindscc.edu.