Administrative /AdmissionsQ. How do I apply?
A. The first step is to apply online at our website www.primediagnosticinstitute.com or call 1-631-650-6900 or 1-877-PDI-LIUS (1-877-734-5487) and a paper copy can be mailed to you.
Q. Is there an application deadline? Does the school enroll yearly, quarterly?
A. PDI basically has a “rolling” enrollment policy. We start new students approximately every 6 months.
Q. Do I have to meet with an Admissions Representative?
A. Yes, we require all applicants to meet with an admissions representative for an “admissions interview”. This is viewed as an opportunity for the student to ask detailed questions pertaining to their own personal goals. It also enables the admissions office to make a final acceptance decision.
Q. Does the school give tours of the facility?
A. Yes, we hold informational sessions as well as an Open House/Enrollment Service Days. This gives potential students an opportunity to visit our facility and see for themselves the state of the art technology in our Scanning Laboratory.
Q. What are the requirements/prerequisites for admission?
A. Each program has different requirements. The minimum requirement for Cardiac Ultrasound and Vascular Technology is a high school diploma or GED equivalent. The minimum requirement for our General Diagnostic Medical Sonography program is more in depth. Students entering our General program must already have a Bachelor’s degree, OR must hold an active certification with Cardiovascular Credentialing International (CCI), RCS or RVS, American Registry of Radiological Technologist (ARRT)-Vascular Sonography, Sonography or Breast., OR must be a graduate of a two year Allied Health Program that was patient care related, OR a graduate of a previous Medical Sonography Program/School, AND the following courses from a “post-secondary institution”: Anatomy & Physiology I, Physics I, Medical Terminology, Algebra & English.
Q. How long are the programs?
A. The Cardiac and Vascular programs are one year in length. The General program is a minimum of 18 months.
Q. Is the school accredited?
A. Yes, Prime Diagnostic Institute is accredited and licensed by New York State’s Bureau of Proprietary School Supervision to teach Diagnostic Medical Ultrasound.
Q. Is financial assistance available?
A. Yes, PDI has a working relationship with several banks that assist and guide our students through their private loan process. Qualified student may also apply for assistning through a tuition financing company. At certain times of the year scholarship and grant opportunities may be available to qualified students.
Q. Does PDI offer day and evening courses?
A. Yes, however PDI reserves the right to begin a class start for each day and evening program dependent upon enrollment. Once a student gets to their clinical rotation portion of their program it must be completed during the day. This includes students who are enrolled in evening programs. All clinical rotations are during day time hours.
Q. Does PDI offer assistance with career placement/services?
A. Yes, we have a “Career Services Department”. We can assist with resume building, interview skills and the general process of job searching. We are connected to an extremely large network of medical facilities. However, job placement is never a guarantee.
Q. Do I have to wear a uniform to class?
A. Yes, all students are required to wear specified medical scrubs in class and during their entire clinical rotation in the field. PDI students will wear scrubs that have the PDI logo on them at all times. PDI will provide the name and contact info of our uniform vender.
Program/Certification/Board ExamsQ. Will I earn a certification?
A. Yes, you will receive a certification in the area of your selected field: General, Cardiac or Vascular. If you complete more than one certification program you will receive a certificate for each completed program.
Q. Which Medical Board Exams will I need to pass?
A. Graduates of our Cardiac Sonography Program and the Vascular Technology Program are encouraged to take the credentialing examination offered by CCI (Cardiac Credentialing International). This examination is not legally required, but in the past years has become increasingly a condition for full-time employment. Registration and certification requirements for taking and passing this examination are not controlled by Prime Diagnostic Institute but by CCI, and are subject to change by the agency without notice. Students who successfully complete the CCI exam and hold an active certification can challenge the ARDMS (American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography) under prerequisite # 5.
B. Graduates of our General Diagnostic Medical Sonography Program are immediately eligible to apply for and challenge the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers (ARDMS) board examinations in the areas of: Abdomen, Breast, Neurosonology, Obstetrics and Gynecology, and the Fetal Echocardiography. These examinations are conducted by the ARDMS. This examination is not legally required, but in the past years has become increasingly a condition for full-time employment. Registration requirements for taking and passing these examinations are not controlled by Prime Diagnostic Institute but by the ARDMS and are subject to change by the agency without notice. These groups of students can fall under the ARDMS prerequisites number 1, 3A or 5.
Q. Are faculty members certified and or registered in their teaching field?
A. YES!! All of our teaching faculty are registered through the ARDMS in their teaching field. Many of our faculty hold certifications and registries in several ultrasound specialties.
Q. Are internships offered?
A. Internships/clinical rotations are required for all programs at PDI. Each of our three learning concentrations in Diagnostic Medical Sonography (General, Cardiac & Vascular) require a 900 hour clinical rotation. If a student is studying to be a “full bodied tech” with board registries in each specialty they will complete 2700 or more of clinical rotation. All clinical rotations are completed during day time hours, including students in our evening programs.
Q. Do I have to purchase my own professional liability insurance for my clinical rotation/internship?
A. No, PDI has acquired professional liability insurance for all students attending clinical rotations.
Q. How is the program split between classroom and lab hours?
A. All students must take our Ultrasound Physics & Instrumentation course first, prior to entering any of our certification programs. This course must be completed only once if students are attending multiple programs. Our Ultrasound Physics & Instrumentation course, as well as our three Diagnostic Medical Sonography Programs (General, Cardiac & Vascular) all have a specified number of didactic lecture room hours and hands on scanning laboratory hours. Many times scanning room techniques will include “hand over hand” scanning. It differs for each program. The split between lecture and scanning happens on alternating days and is subject to change without advanced notice.
Technology/Equipment/MachineryQ. What kinds of ultrasound machinery does PDI use?
A. We use state of the art machinery in the field of ultrasound including 3D/4D technology and mobile equipment. Please check our “announcement” section of the website to learn when the next informational session/open house will be held. We encourage students to attend a session, tour our facility and begin to familiarize themselves with our technology.
Q. How many machines and scanning room areas are used for training students?
A. We have seven separate curtained off scanning rooms and seven separate machines for student use. We estimate 4 students to each machine during any given training session.
Q. Will I have a complete observation of an ultrasound technician performing a study?
A. Absolutely! PDI students will observe tests being performed by registered technician on a frequently basis and more importantly will perform these tests themselves and be assisted by guided “hand over hand” training techniques.
Job OutlookQ. What is the job outlook for the field of Sonography?
A. According to the U.S. Department of Labor faster than average employment growth is expected. Job opportunities should be favorable. Employment of diagnostic medical sonographers is expected to increase by about 18 percent through 2018—faster than the average for all occupations. As the population continues to age, there will be an increasing demand for diagnostic imaging. Additional job growth is expected as healthcare providers increasingly utilize ultrasound imaging as a safer and more cost-effective alternative to radiological procedures. Ultrasound imaging technology is expected to evolve rapidly and spawn many new sonography procedures, enabling sonographers to scan and image areas of the body where ultrasound has not traditionally been used.
Hospitals will remain the principal employer of diagnostic medical sonographers. However, employment is expected to grow more rapidly in offices of physicians and in medical and diagnostic laboratories. Health care facilities such as these are expected to increase in number because of the strong shift toward outpatient care, encouraged by third-party payers and made possible by technological advances and less expensive ultrasound equipment that permit more procedures to be performed outside of hospitals. Mobile sonogram companies are on the rise as well. Job opportunities should be favorable. In addition to job openings from growth, some openings will arise from the need to replace sonographers who retire or leave the occupation permanently. However, job opportunities will vary by geographic area. Sonographers willing to relocate will have the best job opportunities. Sonographers with multiple specialties or multiple credentials also will have good prospects.
Q. What is the average earning/salary of a diagnostic medical Sonographer?
A. According to the U.S. Department of Labor the median annual wage of diagnostic medical sonographers was $61,980 in May 2008. The middle 50 percent of sonographers earned wages between $52,570 and $73,680 a year. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $43,600, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $83,950. Median annual wages of diagnostic medical Sonographers in May 2008 were $62,340 in offices of physicians and $61,870 in general medical and surgical hospitals.