The College of New Caledonia [CNC] has launched the first sonography program offered outside the Lower Mainland, and one of only two publicly funded programs in BC. Eight students have started taking classes in the Northern Diagnostic Medical Sonography program that opened at CNC’s Prince George campus on Jan. 7.

Diagnostic medical sonographers play a critical role by providing key information leading to earlier diagnosis and support ongoing patient management using ultrasound technology. At CNC, sonography students get dual training in both cardiac ultrasound and general ultrasound, which looks at the abdomen, pelvis and obstetrics.

“Here in the North, there is a great need for sonographers trained in both general and cardiac ultrasound,” said Glenda Vardy Dell, CNC dean of the school of health sciences. “CNC students are in a unique position, because they will be equipped to offer dual skill sets to the hospital or clinic they work in.”

CNC’s sonography lab is equipped with eight state-of-the-art ultrasound machines and ultrasound simulators. The high-fidelity simulators use augmented reality to facilitate engaging and intuitive learning in cardiac, lung, abdominal and obstetrics/gynecology ultrasound.

Admission preference was given to northern B.C. candidates, to address regional demand by encouraging students who are from the North to study and continue to work in the area. Of the eight students in the first cohort of the program, seven are from northern B.C.

The 24-month full-time diploma program has a selective admissions process, and the number of students enrolled in the program’s second cohort is scheduled to increase to 16 during the next intake. In 2018, B.C. had about 740 sonographers and there are an estimate 370 job openings between 2018 and 2028. The median wage rate for sonographers is $37.11 per hour and the top 10 per cent earn $48.56 per hour.

More information is available on the CNC website.