North Dakota's only sonography training program receives national accreditation

The diagnostic medical sonography program provided to students through a partnership between North Dakota State University and Sanford Medical Center Fargo has received national accreditation.  The Sanford Medical Center Fargo sonography program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs upon the recommendation of the Joint Review Committee on Education in Diagnostic Medical Sonography in general, vascular and cardiac sonography.

The sonography program offered through Sanford Medical Center Fargo and NDSU will be accredited for a five-year period until Sept. 30, 2023. Interested students can learn more about the curriculum and internship online through the NDSU Department of Allied Sciences in the College of Health Professions and Sanford Health.

The Joint Review Committee on Education in Diagnostic Medical Sonography and the Allied Health Education Accreditation Commission Board of Directors conducted a peer review and visit and recognize the program’s substantial compliance with nationally established accreditation standards.

In a letter notifying Sanford and NDSU, Accreditation Commission President Gregory Ferenchak said: “The commission commends you and your colleagues for your commitment to continuous quality improvement in education, as demonstrated by your participation in program accreditation.”

An existing radiologic sciences major at North Dakota State University and a partnership with Sanford Medical Center Fargo allows students in the NDSU Department of Allied Sciences to select the general/vascular sonography or echocardiography option, without having to seek such specialization outside of the state. The sonography program began with its first class of students in fall of 2017.

“Earning accreditation has been a huge accomplishment for the program and acknowledges the effort that has gone into building a well-rounded curriculum,” said Stefanie Anderson, Sanford Sonography Education Manager, “It also allows students to sit for national registry exams upon completion of their coursework and begin their careers as registered sonographers.”

“This accreditation provides students the opportunity to graduate from a nationally-recognized program and helps to meet employers’ needs for health care professionals in this high demand field,” said Polly Olson, director of the NDSU Department of Allied Sciences in the College of Health Professions.

The Department of Allied Sciences at NDSU has affiliated with accredited hospital-based radiologic technology programs since 2001. Students complete two or more years of prerequisite courses at NDSU, followed by a 21-month full-time internship at Sanford Medical Center Fargo. Students graduate with a baccalaureate degree and major in radiologic sciences from NDSU and receive certificates of specialization in radiography, echocardiography or diagnostic medical sonography from Sanford.

“This accreditation represents the diligent work of educators and health professionals to offer students quality training and educational opportunities, as we continue to address the demand for quality programs that educate future health care professionals to serve this region,” said Charles D. Peterson, dean of the College of Health Professions at NDSU.

Sonography uses ultrasound imaging to produce visual images of organs, tissues or blood flow inside the body. Echocardiographers evaluate the structure and the function of the heart and related blood vessels. Diagnostic medical sonographers evaluate soft tissues, blood vessels, fetal development and organs in the abdomen and pelvis.

The U.S. Department of Labor projects that the job market for sonographers is projected to grow 23 percent from 2016 to 2026, faster than the average for all occupations.

About NDSU College of Health Professions
The NDSU College of Health Professions, with an enrollment of more than 2,000 students, prepares future professionals for careers in radiologic technology, general/vascular sonography, echocardiography, medical lab science, respiratory care, pharmacy, nursing, and public health. Visit for more information.

About Sanford Health
Sanford Health is one of the largest health care systems in the nation, with 44 hospitals and nearly 300 clinics in nine states and nine countries. Headquartered in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and serving the Upper Midwest, with nearly 1,400 physicians, Sanford Health is dedicated to several initiatives, including global clinics, genomic medicine and specialized centers researching cures for type 1 diabetes, breast cancer and other diseases. Sanford Health has 28,000 employees, making it the largest employer in the Dakotas. Nearly $1 billion in gifts from philanthropist Denny Sanford over the past decade have transformed how Sanford Health can improve the human condition. For information, visit


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