A new diagnostic medical sonography diploma program will now be offered by the College of New Caledonia in Prince George.
The province is kicking $494,000 in annual operating funding, $400,000 for one-time start-up costs and capital funding $1.5 million for equipment and renovations for the program, which is expected to churn out 16 graduates per year trained in how to use ultrasound machines.
Currently, the only publicly-funded sonography program is offered by the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) in the Lower Mainland. The BCIT program is being expanded from 30 sonographer graduates annually to 48 sonographer graduates per year in 2018 and beyond.
The College of New Caledonia is planning the first intake of 16 students in September 2018 with the first graduates expected in fall 2020.
Additional sonographers will help to meet increasing demand due to a greater utilization of ultrasound technology within the health care system, an aging population that requires more diagnostic services and retirement of the existing sonography workforce.
Diagnostic medical sonography uses high-frequency sound waves to examine the developing fetus, heart, abdomen, pelvis and blood vessels. Students in B.C. learn diagnostic problem-solving and team collaboration skills to give each patient the highest quality of care.
The program is expected to consist of a 27-month, full-time diploma program including 46 weeks of clinical experiences in hospitals and / or clinics.