The BCIT Diagnostic Medical Sonography program draws students from across the province. Our program provides access to state-of-the-art equipment and the latest in ultrasound technology so that you are ready to start your career the moment you graduate.
Diagnostic medical sonography, commonly known as ultrasound, uses high-frequency sound waves to examine the developing fetus, heart, abdomen, pelvis, and blood vessels. Each patient comes with unique needs and, as a student, you will learn diagnostic problem-solving and team collaboration skills to give each patient the highest quality of care.
This program is in demand. Visit Program Details to learn more.
This program is for individuals who:
See Program Entry to find out more about applying to BCIT’s Diagnostic Medical Sonography program.
Diagnostic Medical Sonography grads find work soon after they graduate. Learn more about careers opportunities at Graduating and Jobs.
Do you have credits from another BC/Yukon post-secondary school? Do you want to know if they transfer to courses here at BCIT? Check out BCIT's Transfer Equivalency Database to find out.
This diploma program is two years (27 months) in length. The program includes theory, labs and clinical training in sonography of the abdomen, superficial structures, male pelvis, pregnant and non-pregnant female pelvis, vascular tree (carotids and veins) and heart. The sonographic specialties are supported by instruction in physical principles and instrumentation, patient care, communication, human behaviour, and research principles.
The BCIT Sonography program is accredited with the Canadian Medical Association (CMA). Graduates of this program are eligible to write the Sonography Canada or American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS) registry examinations and to hold the professional credentials offered by both organizations.
Students are advised that travel to clinical placements at their own expense is required. Students are asked to identify site preferences, but it may not be possible to accommodate all requests. All students will be assigned to at least one placement site outside of the lower mainland (Vancouver Island, northern or interior BC). Some lower mainland students may be required to attend placements that are lengthy commutes from their homes, or difficult to access by bus, yet still considered a local placement. It may be possible for applicants with permanent residences outside of the lower mainland to access some clinical placements in their home area.
Students are expected to have access to a computer with a high-speed internet connection and a printer, and to be proficient in the use of the Windows operating system and Microsoft Office (Word, PowerPoint, Excel).
You will graduate ready to work in general or cardiac ultrasound, or both. Our grads have the people, academic, technical, and problem solving skills to be active members of the healthcare team. Patients and doctors rely on their expertise to give the best patient care possible.
Grads primarily work in hospitals and private clinics. Careers can be found in casual, part-time, and full-time positions and many move into full-time employment within a few months of graduating. Salaries start at approximately $30 per hour in careers like:
See what our grads are saying. View the most recent post-grad survey.
Our grads join a community of health specialists dedicated to professional development and continuous learning.
Our students become members of Sonography Canada, a leading organization for our industry. Their annual conference provides networking and skill building opportunities that can help with career advancement.
The British Columbia Ultrasonographers' Society (BCUS) offers seminars to help diagnostic sonographers keep their skills current and stay connected with the latest news and trends in the industry.
Sonography is a demanding profession with a number of physical requirements including:
At this time, all students participate fully in the didactic and clinical aspects of both cardiac and general scanning. Graduates may choose to work in general scanning only, cardiac scanning only or a combination of both. General scanning includes abdominal, gynecological, obstetrical plus superficial structure and some vascular imaging.
Most graduates work in either diagnostic imaging or cardiology departments of hospitals. Some work in community imaging clinics or a combination of both. Diagnostic imaging departments perform some or all of the types of general scans listed above and many perform cardiac scans as well. Community imaging clinics currently offer only general sonography scanning and do not perform vascular studies. Some graduates move into supervisory, teaching or commercial roles after gaining clinical experience.
BCIT offers a Bachelor of Technology in Health Sciences. The BCIT DMS program has also entered into an articulation agreement with Thompson Rivers University for credits toward a Bachelor of Health Sciences.
The program schedule requires attending approximately 25 hours of classes/ labs or 35 hours of clinical each week. Expect several hours of homework and preparation each evening. You will also need to plan time for library research and group work.
This is a very demanding program. Working at a job during the school year is not recommended. Any work hours must accommodate class, lab and clinical hours.
The program is offered only in a 27 month full-time program format commencing each September. Students complete the program as a cohort based out of the BCIT Burnaby campus. Should you need to leave the program for any reason, you will be required to re-apply. Some on-line courses are administered during the clinical portions of the program.
In addition to Christmas and spring breaks, there is an 8 week vacation in the summer after the first year and a 6 week vacation in June/July of the second year.
BCIT arranges clinical training for the student. Students will be requested to provide their preferences for clinical placements, but there is no guarantee that they will be assigned to one of their preferences. Training sites are located in all parts of the province and students are responsible for arranging their own accommodation and transportation. Note: Student learning during clinical training is supported by BCIT via Desire2Learn (D2L). Students will require internet access other than that at the clinical site.
Clinical experiences have typically been comprised of regular 8 hour days Monday-Friday; however, as the hours of sonography departments extend, students will likely be expected to work some afternoon shifts or weekend days as required.
Clinical term 1 occurs in late May to early July of the first year. This 6 week clinical may occur at one site or may be divided between 2-3 sites to assure a well-balanced experience.
Clinical terms 2 and 3 are each 20 weeks in length and span January through May and July through November of the final year of the program. In order to assure an adequate variety of clinical experiences, each of these terms is divided into 3 distinct rotations of 6-7 weeks in length. Students are expected to attend 2 of these rotations in a site outside of the lower mainland.
You are responsible for all personal expenses, including food, accommodation and transportation throughout the clinical practicum. No stipend is available for any portion of the program.
Student clinical placements occur in a variety of hospitals and clinics throughout the BC lower mainland as well as in other parts of the province. Students move through a variety of sites over the program and many of these sites may not have easy (or possible) access by public transit. Each student is responsible for arranging his or her own transportation.
Admission to the program is highly competitive. In addition to completing all of the prerequisites, successful applicants typically have the following profile:
The questionnaire that is included with the application should exhibit thoughtful, articulate answers to all questions, as these are carefully reviewed in the selection of candidates for interview.
We typically receive 250 to 350 applications. Currently, we accept 30 students into the program. Historically, we invite 80 students to participate in the selection process. Acceptance into the program is based on the ranked score achieved during the selection process. Some participants who are not among the top 30 ranked will be placed on a waitlist for the current intake in the event that a seat becomes available. The waitlist is cleared once the program intake is full and closed; unsuccessful applicants must re-apply to be considered for next year.
You can only apply when you have fully met the academic requirements. An exception can be made if you are in the process of completing prerequisite courses and can submit interim reports which show you have completed a minimum of 50% of the course work at the time that you apply. Please be aware that the program is very competitive and preference will be given to applicants who have completed all of their prerequisites prior to the application closing date.
With the exception of English, courses must have been completed within five years from your start date in the program. Admissions will assess post-secondary transcripts for equivalent courses meeting recency and relevant letter grade. If your course work is not within the 5 year period, you have the option to either write challenge exams or complete upgrading courses through your local school district or post-secondary institution. Challenge exams exist for Biology, Math, and Physics.
Admissions will assess post-secondary transcripts for courses that fulfill the English language proficiency requirement.
You will have only one opportunity to write each challenge exam. If you are unsuccessful, you must upgrade to meet prerequisites.
Upgrading can be completed through your local school district or post-secondary institution
Participation in the selection process is not guaranteed to applicants who meet only the minimum entrance requirements. The program selects those applicants deemed to have the best opportunity for success. All complete applications will be reviewed by the program and shortlisted. Preference will be given to applicants with a strong GPA, post-secondary education, a demonstrated interest in the field and related volunteer/work experience. It is important that your achievement demonstrates an aptitude for success.
The program looks for well-rounded individuals who will be successful as students and as future diagnostic medical sonographers. Ensure that you have researched what it means to be a sonographer and are aware the scope of the work involved.
Be prepared for a formal MMI interview process. All interviews will take place on campus.
Post-secondary health related courses and those in human anatomy and physiology, pathology and physics will strengthen your application and will support your overall success in the program.
Most courses are program specific. If you feel you have completed courses equivalent to the Sonography program courses, you may apply for individual transfer credit within the first two weeks of the program start. Please note: If individual course transfer credit is granted, this will not reduce your tuition or the duration of the program; it will only reduce your course load.
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