MUNCIE, IN—In the 2021 fall semester, Ivy Tech Community College Muncie-Henry County started the Diagnostic Medical Sonography Program. The program is a direct result of Ivy Tech Muncie’s response to a workforce need. With the support of Optimus Primary, and Indiana University Ball Memorial Hospital, Ivy Tech launched this program in less than three years.
“When we met with Ivy Tech to explain our local need for echocardiographers, their ability to work through accreditation, acquire the appropriate equipment and train this first cohort in less than three years, speaks to Ivy Tech’s nimble approach in meeting the workforce demands of our healthcare system. Ivy Tech graduates provide a pipeline for our hospital in multiple disciplines and adding sonography to their offerings is a game-changer,” said Jeffrey C. Bird, MD, President of IU Health East Central Region.
Jud Fisher, President and CEO of Ball Brothers said, “Ivy Tech Muncie’s Diagnostic Medical Sonography Program fit the mission of Optimus Primary, which is a partnership to enhance healthcare-related education in our community. Providing funding for this program allows for graduates to earn higher wages and to hit the ground running with advancing diagnostic technology used in hospitals.”
This is a selective admissions program in the School of Health Sciences. Students learn with cutting-edge technology, and hands-on instruction that prepares them to take the registry examination upon program completion. Students that complete the program work in suburban and rural hospitals, clinics, imaging centers, and doctor’s offices. The students are also able to transfer to four-year institutions to continue their education.
“We are very proud of the first program graduates! They all worked very hard, along with the Sonography Faculty and our Clinical partners to make this program a huge success,” Lana Shoults, Department Chair for the School of Health Sciences, said.
The first class of nine students to complete the program at the Muncie-Henry County campus was pinned on December 6, 2022. Most are now working as full-time echocardiographers at organizations such as Indiana University Ball Memorial Hospital, Eskenazi Health, and other area healthcare facilities.
Congratulations to the Inaugural Diagnostic Sonography Class:
- Alana Borisenko
- Brittany DiBattiste
- Stanford Fitzpatrick III
- McKinsey Garcia
- Chelsea Hartsock
- Kirk Johnston
- Ashley Plessinger
- Brandon Smith
- Tracy Weidner
Students interested in the Diagnostic Medical Sonography Program are admitted to the College through the Healthcare Specialist program with a concentration in Diagnostic Medical Sonography. This allows students to complete the prerequisite requirements for the program as well as complete the USA exam which is required for entry into limited enrollment programs.
“I had no medical background as far as past jobs, so this was all mostly new to me. There is a ton of information to learn in a short amount of time,” Tracy Weidner said.
The average starting salary for the Diagnostic Medical Sonography field in Indiana is $71,889 per year. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the projected job growth for diagnostic medical sonographers and cardiovascular technologists is 10% from 2021 to 2031. In the State of Indiana, a shortage of sonography technologists has been a prevalent problem for several years. Indiana University Ball Memorial Hospital approached Ivy Tech Community College Muncie-Henry County with this issue.
“We decided to offer Diagnostic Medical Sonography because it is a high-wage and in-demand job that fulfills our commitment to respond to local employer needs. This program would not have been possible without the generosity of the Ball Brothers Foundation and IU Ball Health. It is an honor to see the first class of the program complete and accept positions in their chosen profession,” Chancellor Jeffrey D. Scott said.
“My advice for future sonographer students is to keep moving forward. One foot in front of the other. It may not be pretty, and you will stumble, but you will it in the end and it will be worth it. Don’t hesitate to ask for help or advice. There is always someone there who can and will help. Where you are going, others have been and are always willing to help guide you,” Fitzgerald said.
About Ivy Tech Community College
Ivy Tech Community College is Indiana's largest public postsecondary institution and the nation's largest singly accredited statewide community college system, accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Ivy Tech has campuses throughout Indiana and also serves thousands of students annually online. It serves as the state's engine of workforce development, offering associate degrees, long- and short-term certificate programs, industry certifications, and training that aligns with the needs of the community. The College provides a seamless transfer to other colleges and universities in Indiana, as well as out of state, for a more affordable route to a bachelor's degree.