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Diagnostic Medical Sonography

The Diagnostic Medical Sonography curriculum is designed to correlate learning theories in the classroom (didactic/lecture) setting with laboratory and clinical performance. This comprehensive educational plan is accomplished using the following steps:

  • Material is presented in class lectures and demonstrated in laboratory sessions.

  • Written and laboratory performance testing

  • Practice in a laboratory setting

  • Experience in clinical settings under the direct supervision of a clinical faculty  or a clinical preceptor

  • Documented time and case logs of cases in such categories as Observed, Assist, Perform.


To participate in the Clinical Externship component of the program, students are required to be in an active student status (e.g. not on LOA) and to successfully complete all prerequisite courses, as applicable.

To be eligible to progress to Clinical 3, students must meet all academic requirements and be current with their tuition payment contract.

Students are enrolled in the program’s clinical externship component throughout their entire program.

Clinical 1 and Clinical 2 enrollment is concurrent with Module I and Module II coursework of the program. Students are required to complete a minimum 4 clinical hours a week during their Module I and Module II.

Clinical 3 enrollment begins after the student completes Module I and II program coursework. Students are required to complete a minimum 20 hours a week at an assigned clinical site.


Required number of Clinical Hours

Clinical 1: 100 clinical hours-due by the end of Term 2*

Clinical 2: 160 clinical hours - due by the end of Term 6*

Clinical 3: 540 clinical hours - due by no later than the scheduled program completion date 


*Term=10 school weeks

Clinical Externship Placement

Students will complete a total of 800 program clinical externship hours requirement at one or more of UMI’s clinical sites--imaging clinics, hospitals, and physician offices.

Students are welcome to research opportunities with clinical sites other than UMI’s core affiliates. All students are encouraged to start building their professional network and developing relationships early in the program through volunteering, job shadowing, and using professional social media sites such as Linkedin.

NOTE: If a student attends clinical externship at the place of her/his employment, the site must meet the same requirements as any other externship site. Externship students should not be compensated for externship hours and should not be a replacement for regular employees.


Externship policies and rules

UMI’s designated clinical administrator monitors students’ progress during their clinical portion of the program. The clinical administrator monitors students’ completion of clinical hours and assigns grades based on clinical evaluations performed by designated clinical preceptors.

Clinical attendance is monitored by the school as well as by the affiliated preceptor. While participating in the CE, program rules governing student conduct and attendance will apply. Unprofessional conduct or violation of UMI’s and/or the CE affiliate’s policies and rules can be grounds for an immediate dismissal. If, after being placed with a clinical site, a student stops attending without UMI approval, the student may be dismissed from the program.

UMI strives to make the clinical assignments as fair and equitable to each student as possible. Final decision of acceptance is made by the CE facility after the review/interview process with the student.

The place of the clinical assignments cannot be changed unless such a change is part of the initial plan with the student.

In some cases, a student may be assigned to complete his/her clinical hours at more than one clinical site, consecutively or concurrently, to provide the student with a more balanced and/or diverse experience.


Travel Disclosure

Travel time, distance, or operational hours of the site are not the primary considerations that guide UMI decision in students’ externship placement. Stability, diversity and/or volume of practice, opportunity for hands- on training, the clinical site’s requirements and/or an opportunity for potential employment are.

Every attempt is made to place students at clinical sites based on the students’ reasonable preferences. However all students must be prepared and willing to commit themselves to any travel time required to achieve the educational goals of the program. It is not unusual for a student to have to commute (or temporarily relocate) for an upto three (3)-hour drive in one direction.

UMI does not provide transportation or temporary relocation assistance. The students should plan accordingly for such potential expenses during their externship.


Externship Expectations

Students are expected to adhere to all conduct and attendance rules according to UMI’s and the clinical site’s policies.


Clinical Externship Schedule

UMI students are required to complete a minimum of 4-6 clinical hours a week for Clinical 1; a minimum of 4 clinical hours a week for Clinical 2; and a minimum of 20 hours per week for Clinical 3.

For Clinical 1 & 2, clinical hours are typically scheduled in the afternoon during weekdays and morning/afternoon on weekends (Saturdays). Clinical session schedule is subject to adjustments and change.

For Clinical 3, evening or weekend externships are unlikely to be available; students must be prepared to complete their Clinical 3 hours during normal business days and hours.

NOTE: All diagnostic ultrasound scans performed by students during their clinical externship are required to be checked for accuracy by a clinical preceptor prior to sending them to the physician for interpretation.


Priority Externship Placement for Students with SPI

All Diagnostic Medical Sonography program students are strongly encouraged to take and pass the ARDMS Sonography Principles and Instrumentation (SPI) examination prior to their projected Clinical 3 start date. When options exist, UMI grants students with an SPI certificate a priority placement option when selecting an externship site. Furthermore, SPI is a prerequisite and the first out of the two steps in the ARDMS credentialing examination process. Please refer to for information on ARDMS eligibility criteria.

UMI faculty members or guest lecturers periodically conduct SPI review sessions; all students preparing for the exam are encouraged to attend these sessions. A free recording of one of the SPI preparation workshops is available at the UMI website. 


Clinical Supervision of Students

All UMI externship students are supervised by a clinical faculty and/or qualified clinical personnel who must be present during students’ performance of an ultrasound procedure on a patient and who must review and provide students with feedback on each procedure.


Clinical Grades and Evaluation

  • Clinical Externship is assigned CR (Credit)/NC (No-Credit) grades in transcript.

  • Clinical Externship students are evaluated at the end of each of the three phases of the Clinical course: at cumulative 100-hour mark; 260-hour mark; and 800-hour mark.

To progress from one evaluation phase to the next, the student must maintain a minimum average score of 2 (“Satisfactory”) on a 4-point evaluation scale. Failure to meet a minimum average score requirement may result in an academic warning, probation, or dismissal from the program. 


Patient Confidentiality

Students are required to successfully complete the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) competency test during the first module of the program. Clinical externship students must maintain patient confidentiality in all clinical settings by adhering to HIPAA principles and practice.


CPR (Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation)

Students are required to obtain and maintain a current CPR card for Clinical 3. UMI may arrange for a CPR trainer to offer CPR training on site. Whether facilitated by UMI or on their own, all students are required to submit a digital copy of their CPR card to be included in the student file. UMI does not cover or reimburse for the cost of CPR training.


Health and Safety Requirements

Immunization and Health Screening Requirements: For protection and in compliance with state regulations, United Medical Institute requires all students to be properly immunized. Documentation of immunizations must be provided to the school prior to Clinical 3. UMI does not cover or reimburse for the cost of immunizations.

Students must comply with the minimum health requirements of each individual clinical externship facility; such requirements may include additional immunity or vaccination not listed within this catalog.

The cost of immunizations and related pre-clinical externship health requirements will be paid by the student. Students must submit a copy of immunization and health screening documents to be included in their file.


Student Professional Liability Insurance

Prior to Clinical 3, all students are required to obtain their individual Professional Liability Insurance. UMI recommends the students obtain insurance coverage through the Society of Diagnostic Medical Sonography at . UMI does not cover the cost, nor does it reimburse students for Professional Liability Insurance coverage.


Background Check

Clinical Affiliates may require pre-clinical criminal background check and drug- screening. UMI facilitates pre-clinical externship students’ criminal and drug-screening with a background screening vendor. The initial standard background check is covered by the program tuition and fees. The cost of any additional background or drug screening, if needed, will be the student’s responsibility.

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