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.
The Dual Option of the diploma program is 27 months in length. The program includes theory, labs and clinical training in general sonography (abdomen, superficial structures, pelvis, pregnant female pelvis, carotid arteries, and peripheral veins) as well as cardiac sonography (heart). In their second year, students in this option will continue studies and undertake clinical placements in both general and cardiac sonography. 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).
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.
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:
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:
The program is very pleased to announce that, beginning with the September 2018 cohort, we will be now offering three options to students. Most students will complete a combined general and cardiac program similar to the existing program. Others can 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 will 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:
Mechanisms for graduates to return to complete the “other” option will be developed. A key advantage of having a common first year for all students is that the additional time and effort to retrain in the other option is much shorter than for a full program. For those meeting entrance requirements, only the remaining Level 3 courses plus the necessary clinical time will be required. It is expected that the level 3 coursework will be available online, allowing graduates to complete it from home and enter a clinical in various parts of the province near to where they reside provided there is an available clinical site.Top
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 cardiac or vascular studies. Some graduates move into supervisory, teaching, or commercial roles after gaining clinical experience.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 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 duringportions 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 Desire2Learn (D2L). 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. The program can’t consider transit in created the clinical assignments.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 could 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 in the selection of candidates for interview.Top
We typically receive 250 to 350 applications. Currently, we accept 32 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 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
With the exception of English, prerequisite courses must have been completed within five years from the start date of the program. Admissions will assess post-secondary transcripts for equivalent courses to determine if they meet recency and relevant letter grade requirements. If your course work is not within the 5 year period, you have the option to either write challenge exams or to complete upgrading courses through BCIT, your local school district or post-secondary institution. Challenge exams exist for Biology, Math, and Physics.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, Multiple-Mini Interview (MMI), 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.
If you are invited to interview, be prepared for a formal MMI interview process. All interviews will take place on campus. Only a portion of interviewees are then selected for admission to the program.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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