Central Ohio Technical College Announces First Bachelor’s Degree

Bachelor of Applied Science in Diagnostic Medical Sonography Technology


While Central Ohio Technical College (COTC) celebrates its 50th year of higher education in central Ohio, the college is planning a brand-new venture: COTC will debut its first baccalaureate degree.

Pending approval from the Higher Learning Commission, the Bachelor of Applied Science in Diagnostic Medical Sonography Technology (DMS) will begin in 2022. The advanced coursework of the bachelor’s degree ensures graduates are job-ready and employers receive quality sonographers.

“The proposed applied bachelor’s degree program completely aligns with COTC’s mission and vision to address workforce needs and remains true to our technical core,” said DMS Program Director and Associate Professor Melinda Brillhart, EdD, RDMS (AB, OB, BR), RVT, RDCS (AE, FE). “COTC’s DMS program is addressing a unique technical demand — to educate sonographers in the specialties of sonography. This will alleviate a significant burden on employers who have to provide additional on-the-job training and provide a broader knowledge base that makes graduates more experienced and job-ready.”

 DMS is a specialized area of healthcare in which trained professionals, called diagnostic medical sonographers, use ultrasound technology to generate images used for assessing and diagnosing various medical conditions. Though most commonly associated with pregnancy, diagnostic medical sonographers evaluate body organs, the circulatory system and tissues to detect inflammation, tumors and other medical conditions. Diagnostic medical sonographers work in a variety of settings such as private offices, hospitals, medical centers and clinics.

“The proposed applied bachelor’s degree was developed after thorough analysis of community and workforce demand. The feedback received from our clinical partners, advisory committee members, employers and graduates laid the foundation for this revision,” said Brillhart. “The new program meets the critical demands of the community by providing additional sonography education that is needed through higher-level specialty training in invasive sonographic procedures, pediatric and fetal echo, advanced clinical competencies, and additional hands-on experience in all modalities.”

The proposed BAS in DMS is an accelerated, three-year program in which students are expected to attend full time for eight consecutive semesters. Sonography courses are offered in the daytime at the Newark campus only, whereas general education courses are available day or evening and at COTC’s extended campuses or online. In the student’s second and third year, they will complete five clinical rotations. As students advance through the curriculum, they will be able to sit for their sonographer credentialing exams. The DMS program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs.

Tuition for the proposed DMS bachelor’s degree will remain the same as COTC’s tuition for all programs. In the 2021-22 academic year, COTC tuition is $204 per credit hour or $2,448 per semester of full-time enrollment (12-18 credit hours). At the current tuition rate, the total cost of this proposed degree is $19,584 for students enrolled full time. The mean wage of a diagnostic medical sonographer in Ohio is $67,730, and employment of diagnostic medical sonographers is expected to grow 15% according to Ohio Labor Market Information.

 Sonography Program Excellence
“Our program was established in 1988; is well-respected in the sonography community; and is effective as evidenced by exceptional key quality indicators such as credentialing success, employment rates, and graduate and employer satisfaction rates,” Brillhart said. In 2021, 100% of DMS graduates passed a sonography credentialing exam and were employed in their field of study. 

Getting Started
Pending HLC approval, the first cohort in the proposed bachelor’s degree in DMS is anticipated to begin in summer semester 2022. In addition to completing the free application for admission to the college, interested persons must complete additional requirements for this selective program, including submitting a DMS program application; taking the ATI TEAS 6.0 selection exam; submitting all high school, GED and/or college transcripts; and completing four prerequisite courses. The program application will be available once HLC approval is received. 

For more information about enrolling at COTC, contact the Gateway admissions office at cotcadmissions@mail.cotc.edu or 740.366.9222.

The Higher Learning Commission (HLC) accredits degree-granting post-secondary educational institutions in the United States and is the regional institutional accreditor for COTC. HLC approves institutions’ substantive changes, such as offering a new degree program. COTC has submitted the proposed BAS in DMS to HLC and anticipates the HLC decision-making body will take final action by the end of 2021. The proposed BAS in DMS is approved by the Ohio Department of Education and the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs. 

COTC is a fully accredited, public college dedicated to providing high-quality, accessible programs of technical education in response to current and emerging employment needs. COTC has four campus locations: Newark, Coshocton, Knox and Pataskala.