Sonography program receives accreditation for general, vascular concentrations

Marshall University’s diagnostic medical sonography program has been awarded initial accreditation for its general and vascular/ adult echocardiographic concentrations by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP).

Sonography, a painless medical procedure that uses high-frequency sound waves to produce visual images of organs, tissues and blood flow inside the body, is considered interchangeable with “ultrasound,” due to the use of sound waves to create an image.

In its fifth year, Marshall’s ultrasound program currently has seven students. Students are asked to select in which concentration they wish to specialize and sit for the professional boards, according to Dr. Rita Fisher, program director for the St. Mary’s School of Medical Imaging.

"Graduates of our program from the last few years have all found employment as the job market is fairly robust, especially in echocardiography," Fisher said. "Salary ranges are variable depending on where the sonographer chooses to work, but a good estimate of a starting salary would be around $20 per hour and up."

Fisher said they will be adding breast sonography as a concentration next year, which will be open to both sonography and radiography students who are specializing in mammography. She said future plans include the addition of fetal echocardiography as a concentration.

With the collaboration between the Marshall College of Health Professions and the St. Mary’s School of Medical Imaging, the Bachelor of Science degree in medical imaging with an emphasis in diagnostic medical sonography was the first accredited bachelor’s degree program in the state that offered its students the choice to specialize in general or vascular and echocardiography sonography.

The St. Mary’s medical imaging program accepts 24 students a year and eight of those students will be chosen for the sonography track. For more information on enrolling in the program, contact Fisher at or Nancy MacClellan at