The BCIT Diagnostic Medical Sonography programs draw students from across the province. Our programs 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 is commonly known as ultrasound. Echocardiography is a branch of diagnostic medical sonography and uses high-frequency sound waves to examine the structure and function of the heart. 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.
The Cardiac Option of the diploma is 22 months in length. The first year of the program includes theory, labs and clinical training in cardiac sonography (heart) as well as
general sonography (abdomen, superficial structures, pelvis, pregnant female pelvis, carotid arteries, and peripheral veins). Students will specialize in cardiac sonography starting in their second year. 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 Cardiac Sonographer. Students will complete the Sonography Canada Canadian Clinical Skills Assessment (CCSA) for the 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).
You will graduate ready to work in cardiac ultrasound. 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 Cardiac examinations (SC Examinations) and are also eligible to take the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonography specialty examinations (ARDMS Examinations) in Adult Echocardiography just prior to graduation.
Cardiac sonography grads primarily work in hospitals. 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:
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:
Since the September 2018 intake, we have offered three options to students. Most students complete a combined general and cardiac (Dual-option) program. Others choose a cardiac-only or general-only option. Students will select their option at the time of program application. Please see the Program Admission FAQs and the Program Entry page for more information.Top
No. All students complete the first year of the program together. This will provide foundational information and skills that will serve the students well regardless of their chosen option. In Level 3, the start of the second year, students will stream into their specific options, which will allow them to devote time and energy to those skills. Some common courses will also occur during Level 3.
All students will commence their final clinical experiences in January of their second year. The total clinical time will vary:
There are several reasons:
There are several reasons:
Students who have successfully graduated from either the Cardiac or the General Sonography option may return to complete the other option within 3 years of graduating. Interested graduates should apply for what is called 'Direct Entry' to the Dual option. A special registration form can be found on the Advanced Placement page of the Dual-option program website. Direct Entry seats are limited. BCIT will accept those deemed to have the best opportunity for success. Acceptance is not guaranteed, and is dependent on available seats and clinical placements. Students who are offered Direct Entry to the Dual option will need to wait until the next offering of Level 3 courses, and will join in with the current cohort of students. Upon successful completion of all courses, the student will return the original diploma from the single option in exchange for a diploma from the Dual option.Top
The BCIT DMS program has entered into an articulation agreement with Thompson Rivers University for credits toward a Bachelor of Health Sciences. This is a distance education program that will allow you to complete your degree while continuing to work.Top
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.Top
The program is offered only in a full-time 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 portions of the program.Top
In addition to Christmas and spring breaks, there is an six-week vacation in June-July after the first year for all students, and a seven-week vacation in the summer of the second year for Dual-option students.Top
The BCIT Diagnostic Medical Sonography program arranges clinical training for the students. In order to attain a well-rounded clinical experience, students can expect to be placed in 4-8 different clinical sites during the program. Some of these clinical rotations will be outside of the lower mainland. Students will be requested to provide their preferences for out-of-town 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 Learning Hub. Students will require internet access other than that at the clinical site.Top
Clinical experiences have historically 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 early July to late August of the first year. This 7 week clinical may occur at one site or may be divided between 2-3 sites to assure a well-balanced experience.
Clinical terms 2, 3 and 4 occur in the final year of the program. Each rotation is 13 weeks in length and spans January through June for single option students followed by a rotation late August through November for dual option students. In order to assure an adequate variety of clinical experiences, each of these terms is divided into 2 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.Top
Students are responsible for all personal expenses, including food, accommodation and transportation throughout the clinical experiences. No stipend is available for any portion of the program.Top
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.Top
Applicants must choose their option at the time of application. Applicants are requested to provide a second and possible third choice. In the event that their preferred option has no remaining capacity, they may be offered a seat in another option.Top
Because the clinical spaces for each option are limited, the numbers of students in each option must be set at the start of the program. This will prevent any of the options from being over-requested which could result in students being placed in an undesired option later in the program.Top
Changing options is unlikely and will be possible only in the event that a space opens up in another option. However, because the first year of the program is common, single option students can potentially return to complete the other option following graduation.Top
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 for the purpose of short-listing candidates.Top
We can receive anywhere from 140 to 280 complete applications each year. Currently, we accept 32 or 40 students into the program. Historically, we have invited 80-100 students to participate in the second stage of the selection process. Acceptance into the program is based on the ranked score achieved during the selection process. Some applicants who are not among the top 32 or 40 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 the first program term has commenced; unsuccessful applicants must re-apply to be considered for next year.Top
You should only apply when you have fully met all the academic requirements. If you apply without having completed all minimum entrance requirements, your application will be marked incomplete by Admissions. Incomplete applications do not go forward into the competitive selection process.Top
Admissions will assess post-secondary transcripts for courses that fulfill the English language proficiency requirement.Top
You will have only one opportunity to write each challenge exam. If you are unsuccessful, you must take an upgrading course to meet prerequisites.
Upgrading can be completed through BCIT, your local school district or other post-secondary institutions.Top
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 transcripts demonstrate an aptitude for success in past academic courses.
The program selects, from a large pool of complete applications, only those candidates deemed to have the best opportunity for success. Meeting minimum entrance requirements and having a high GPA does not guarantee you will be selected for the second stage of the competitive entry process.Top
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.Top
Post-secondary health-related courses and those in human anatomy and physiology, pathology and physics will strengthen your application and would support your overall success in the program. Be aware that many successful applicants have completed university degrees, so post-secondary education is an important factor.Top
Most courses are program specific. Typically only patient care and communication courses will be considered. 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.Top
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