Full-time Diploma 5640diplt


Note: Effective Fall 2018, Diagnostic Medical Sonography will offer three program options:

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.

About the program

  • Twenty-seven-month, full-time Diploma program
  • Lectures and labs provide you with theory and active practice on campus
  • Forty-six weeks of clinical experiences in BC hospitals and/or clinics
  • Two streams of study – general and cardiac – provide strong expertise in both areas
    • Students may specialize in either or practice in both upon graduation

This program is in demand. Visit Program Details to learn more.

Who it's for

This program is for individuals who:

  • Take an inquisitive approach to solving problems
  • Enjoy working directly with patients and teams in a hospital environment
  • Have strong technical skills and hand-eye coordination
  • Have completed one year of post-secondary education or higher level of education
  • Are BC residents

See Program Entry to find out more about applying to BCIT's Diagnostic Medical Sonography program.

What grads can do

Diagnostic Medical Sonography grads find work soon after they graduate. Learn more about careers opportunities at Graduating and Jobs.

Program Entry

Application processing

Effective Fall 2018, Diagnostic Medical Sonography will offer three program options:

Please visit these pages for program entry information.

Costs & Supplies

Tuition fees

Please see the Fees, Payments and Refunds section of the website for information on full-time tuition fees.

Books and supplies

Level 1:  $1,150
Level 2:  $600
Level 3:  $400
Level 4:  $200
Level 5:  $200

(general estimated cost, subject to change)

Face respirator fit testing: approx $25 per year, annual re-fitting required.

Financial assistance

Financial assistance may be available for this program. For more information, please contact Student Financial Aid and Awards.


Program matrix

Level 1 (15 weeks)
September – December
  BHSC 1143 Abdomen Form and Function (DSON) 3.0
  DSON 1001 Abdominal and Superficial Structures Sonography 1 3.0
  DSON 1002 Women's Health Sonography 1 3.0
  DSON 1003 Cardiac Sonography 1 3.0
  DSON 1011 General Sonography Lab 1 3.0
  DSON 1012 Cardiac Sonography Lab 1 3.0
  NURS 1186 Patient Care for Sonography 3.0
  PHYS 1073 Sonography Physics 1 3.0
Level 2 (20 weeks)
January – May
  BHSC 1144 Human Behaviour 1 (DSON) 3.0
  COMM 3173 Communication for Diagnostic Sonography 2.0
  DSON 1004 Clinical Orientation 1.5
  DSON 2001 Abdominal and Superficial Structures Sonography 2 4.0
  DSON 2002 Women's Health Sonography 2 4.0
  DSON 2003 Cardiac Sonography 2 4.0
  DSON 2005 Vascular Sonography 1 2.0
  DSON 2011 General Sonography Lab 2 5.5
  DSON 2012 Cardiac Sonography Lab 2 4.0
  PHYS 2073 Sonography Physics 2 2.5
Level 3 (22 weeks)
July – December

Clinical (7 weeks)
July – August

  DSON 2004 Sonography Clinical 1 10.0

Academic (15 weeks)
September – December

  BHSC 2143 Pathophysiology (DSON) 3.0
  BHSC 2144 Human Behaviour 2 (DSON) 2.0
  DSON 3001 Abdominal and Superficial Structures Sonography 3 3.0
  DSON 3002 Women's Health Sonography 3 3.0
  DSON 3003 Cardiac Sonography 3 3.0
  DSON 3005 Vascular Sonography 2 2.0
  DSON 3011 General Sonography Lab 3 3.0
  DSON 3012 Cardiac Sonography Lab 3 3.0
  PHYS 3073 Sonography Physics 3 3.0
Level 4 (26 weeks)
January – July
  DSON 3004 Research Principles 2.0
  DSON 4004 Sonography Clinical 2 18.0
  DSON 4005 Sonography Clinical 3 18.0
Level 5 (13 weeks)
August – November
  DSON 4006 Sonography Clinical 4 18.0
  DSON 4007 Sonography Project 1.5
Total Credits: 149.0

Transfer credit

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.

Program Details

The program

This diploma program is 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.

Students will have the opportunity to attain all of the required skills in the Sonography Canada National Competency Profile (NCP) for the Generalist Sonographer and Cardiac Sonographer. Students will complete the Sonography Canada Canadian Clinical Skills Assessment (CCSA) for the Generalist Sonographer and Cardiac Sonographer during the program.

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).


This program is accredited by the Health Standards Organization (HSO) and its affiliate accreditation (AC) through their new EQUAL Canada program.

Program length

Two years (27 months) full-time.

Students start in September and graduate at the end of November.


All didactic courses require a mark of 65 percent to pass. Lab and clinical courses require satisfactory completion of all competencies.

Graduating & Jobs

Our graduates get work

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.

Graduates of the program are eligible to take the Sonography Canada Generalist and Cardiac examinations (SC Examinations) and are also eligible to take the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonography specialty examinations (ARDMS Examinations) in Abdomen, Obstetrics & Gynecology and Adult Echocardiography just prior to graduation.

Career opportunities

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:

  • Medical sonographer
  • Echo cardiographer or cardiac sonographer
  • Commercial sales
  • Research and development

Keep learning

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.

Graduate employment outcomes

The BCIT student outcomes reports present summary findings from the annual survey of former students administered by BC Stats one to two years after graduation. These reports combine the last three years of available results for the 2015-2017 BCIT Outcomes Surveys of 2014-2016 graduates and for Degree 2013-2015 graduates. The reports are organized into three-page summaries containing information on graduates' labour market experiences and opinions regarding their education. More detailed information can be accessed at the BC Student Outcomes website.

To view these results, you may need to have the Adobe Acrobat Reader installed in your Web browser.

Program Details FAQ

What are the physical requirements for a sonography career?

Sonography is a demanding profession with a number of physical requirements, including:

  • Good upper body strength, overall stamina and flexibility to manage a high level of activity throughout the workday.
  • Ability to exert constant pressure for extended periods of time
    • People with current or previous injuries/conditions limiting strength and/or endurance involving hands, arms, shoulders, neck and/or back may have difficulty managing the work requirements.
  • A high level of manual dexterity and coordination. Anyone with poor eye-hand coordination may have difficulty with these tasks. Sonographers in this program must be able to scan using either hand.
  • Good vision with the ability to distinguish subtle shades of grey
  • Ability to distinguish colours (i.e. not colour-blind)
  • Ability to distinguish sounds for preforming Doppler portions of studies
  • Ability to work in a low light environment for most of the day
  • Ability to effectively manage stressful, busy environments


The program includes cardiac and general scanning. Can I choose to do just one or the other?

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.


Where can I work after graduating?

Most graduates work in either diagnostic imaging or cardiology departments of hospitals. Some work in community imaging clinics or in 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.


Is there a pathway to degree completion?

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.


What are the workload requirements of the program?

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.


Can I do this program part time or online?

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 online courses are administered during the clinical portions of the program.


Are there any breaks in 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.


Where will my clinical placements be located?

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.


What is scheduling like for clinical portions of the program?

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 two of these rotations in a site outside of the lower mainland.


Am I responsible for costs throughout clinical placement?

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.


Will I need to have use of a car?

Student clinical placements occur in a variety of hospitals and clinics throughout the 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 access by public transit. Each student is responsible for arranging his or her own transportation.


Program Admission FAQs

How can I make my application more competitive?

Admission to the program is highly competitive. In addition to completing all of the prerequisites, successful applicants typically have the following profile:

  • Post-secondary education with a focus on human anatomy and physiology and/or health. Physics courses are also an asset
  • Ability to manage a full course load at the post-secondary level
  • Strong academic performance
  • Job experience in a fast-paced customer or patient related area
  • Volunteering or work in a patient environment that includes hands-on physical care of elderly or ill patients/clients
  • Demonstration of a clear understanding of the profession and the program
  • Excellent communication skills

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.


How competitive is the program, and is there a waitlist?

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.


Can I apply to the program while I’m working on meeting the prerequisites, or do I need to wait until all are complete?

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.


What if I have the prerequisites but they are from more than five years ago?

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.


I did not receive a ‘B’ in English 12. Will my post-secondary English marks be considered?

Admissions will assess post-secondary transcripts for courses that fulfill the English language proficiency requirement.


What if I write challenge exams and do not achieve the relevant grade?

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.


Do you consider GPA within the selection process?

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.


What can I do to prepare myself for success in the selection process?

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.


I have met all prerequisites for the program. What post-secondary courses can you recommend to support my success in the selection process and in the program?

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.


Can I apply for transfer credit for my college/university courses?

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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The personal information on this form is collected under the authority of the College and Institute Act (RSBC 1996, Ch.52). BCIT will use this information to communicate with you regarding relevant BCIT programs, courses and services. This information is only used by authorized BCIT staff. Email communication sent to and from BCIT is routed through the United States of America. If you have any questions about BCIT's collection and use of this information, please contact BCIT’s manager of Information Access and Privacy.

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