Gadsden, Ala .— Rebecca Southern, director of Gadsden State Community College’s Diagnostic Medical Sonography Program, is prepared for the new program to begin this fall. She has been working on the curriculum for the program since she was hired by the College and is looking forward to her first group of students starting classes on Aug. 20.
“It’s overwhelming and exciting to develop a new program,” Southern said. “We are making a very well-rounded curriculum with cooperation from local hospitals.”
Southern began her career as a diagnostic medical sonographer in 2005 after obtaining her associate degree in diagnostic medical sonography from Virginia College. While working doing ultrasounds in physician offices, she continued her education to earn a bachelor’s degree in exercise physiology from Jacksonville State University. In 2015, she earned a Master of Organizational Leadership from Colorado Christian University.
“I enjoyed performing ultrasounds, but I really became interested in vascular and cardiology because some members of my family had heart disease,” Southern said. “I believe that connection to my family is where my passion came from.”
Gadsden State’s Diagnostic Medical Sonography Program is the only one in the state of Alabama enrolling students to be trained in all three DMS modalities – general, vascular and cardiac.
“This program provides all three modalities which makes it highly competitive,” she said. “Over 130 students applied for the fall 2018 cohort, and we only accepted 20.”
This is not Southern’s first foray in education. She previously worked for eight years as a clinical instructor and eventually program director at Virginia College.
“We are thrilled to have Rebecca join our team,” said Dr. Deborah Curry, dean of Health Sciences. “She has worked diligently to help develop this program by using her on-the-job training and previous instructor experience. I’m very proud of her and all of the members of our faculty and staff in the Health Sciences division for working so hard to provide new and traditional educational opportunities for our students.”
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, diagnostic medical sonography is projected to grow 17 percent by 2026, which is much faster than the average of all occupations. In 2016, there were 122,300 diagnostic medical sonography jobs in the U.S. with a median pay of $64,280 per year.
“I am so excited to be the program director at Gadsden State,” Southern said. “Gadsden is my home, and I can’t wait to help students in my community learn all about something that is so important to me and has such a growing need.”
This program is highly competitive with a minimum ACT score requirement. The full list of requirements are as follows:
- Apply to and meet all general requirements of Gadsden State
- Be in good standing with the College
- Official transcripts from other colleges
- Proof of active or current CPR for healthcare providers
- Proof of health insurance
- Must maintain a C or better on all general and pre-DMS courses
- Must have an 18 on the ACT
- Must have a 2.5 GPA on general education courses (orientation, English composition I, Humanities/Fine Arts elective, Fundamentals of Oral Communications, Intermediate College Algebra, Anatomy and Physiology I, Technical Physics and General Psychology)
- Must complete all general required courses for DMS program by application deadline
- Must pass a criminal background check and drug test
- Must be 18 years old
- Must meet the essential functions required by the DMS program
“If you are interested in this career, be excited and prepared,” said Southern. “Retake the ACT or a class if you have to because it’s competitive but worth it.
“If there is any advice I can give to those considering applying for this program, I say go for it,” she said. “My associate degree was the most pivotal of all the degrees I have earned.”
The program will accept applications for the fall 2019 class from November to May 1. Potential students must complete or be currently enrolled in all general required courses for the DMS program by the May 1 application deadline.
For more information, visit www.gadsdenstate.edu/health/diagnostic-medical-sonography or call 256-439-6885.