BCIT's Clinical Genetics Technology program is one of two programs of its kind in Canada, and the only one in Western Canada. Our program is taught with the small class sizes and high quality instructors for which BCIT is known.
Clinical genetics technology trains you to investigate genetic diseases like Down syndrome and cancer. Working in hospitals and private clinics, clinical genetics technologists use sophisticated equipment and techniques to solve complex genetic problems.
This program is for students who:
Does this sound like the right program for you? Visit Program Entry to learn how to apply.
Our grads are in demand. Students are provided the opportunity to acquire all the skills and behaviours required in the Canadian Society for Medical Laboratory Science (CSMLS) national competency profile for Clinical Genetics. Graduates leave the program fully prepared to write the CSMLS (CG) national certification exam that qualifies them to work. See Graduating and Jobs to learn what a future looks like in clinical genetics technology.
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.
Clinical genetics technology involves the detailed analysis of the human genome by several distinct but similar technologies: chromosome analysis of banded metaphase chromosomes; fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) on interphase/metaphase chromosomes; and molecular diagnostic techniques involving DNA itself. The newest technology is called chromosome microarray, for high-resolution analysis of deletion, duplication, and single nucleotide exchanges, and uses sophisticated software and an advanced scanner. All four technologies can be used on a wide variety of human tissues.
Chromosomes are the packaged form of the human genome and are visible under the microscope. Modern clinical cytogenetics was established in the early 1970s with the use of banding techniques that allowed for the identification of individual chromosomes. Any change in the structure or number of chromosomes present may have a deleterious effect on the individual. FISH techniques allow for a more rapid examination of suspected chromosome abnormalities in living, fixed, and frozen specimens.
More recently, diagnostic molecular technology has given physicians and scientists additional tools to look further into the human genome to detect genetic diseases. Diagnosis of single-gene defects associated with diseases such as cystic fibrosis, Duchenne muscular dystrophy and the fragile X syndrome is now routine. The diagnosis and treatment of various cancers and leukemias also use chromosome analysis, FISH, molecular technology, and microarrays to determine the status of abnormal clones after treatment.
The training program spans 13.5 months, and consists of three terms. The first two terms are didactic (instructional), 15 and 10 weeks in length respectively, and involve lectures and laboratory study at BCIT. The third term is a 30-week practicum spent at one or more of the practical sites affiliated with BCIT. The time spent in the practicum is divided into cytogenetics, FISH and molecular technologies. After successful completion of each of the three terms, graduates are eligible to write the Certification Examination of the Canadian Society for Medical Laboratory Science (CSMLS), which leads to the qualification of Registered Technologist (RT) in Clinical Genetics, the nationally recognized qualification for employment in the field.
Note: Due to space limitations, some of the practicum assignments are outside the Lower Mainland. These assignments will be made at random and must be accepted by the applicant to be admitted into the program. Student input is sought for placement to the remaining partner sites as listed above, but final selection is made by the program (end of Term 1).
Our Clinical Genetics Technology program students can complete the Certification Examination of the Canadian Society for Medical Laboratory Science (CSMLS) as soon as they graduate. Once complete, they are then qualified as registered technologists in clinical genetics. Our grads get hired; most are employed within the first two months of graduating.
Our grads can work as Medical Laboratory Technologists in clinical genetics in major hospitals, private clinics, and research labs across Canada. Salaries start at approximately $54,000 annually.
Irene Dorocicz, PhD., MB(ASCP)cm
Mandy Crichton, BSc, MLT
Farzad Kassam, BSc, MLT
Assistant Instructor, Clinical Coordinator/Instructor
Brenda Lomax, BSc, MLT
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