Diagnostic Medical Sonography

Fall 2016 start: applications are accepted Oct. 21, 2015 to Dec. 1, 2015.

  • 26-month diploma
  • Fall start
  • Four clinical practice
  • Graduates in high demand

Program Description

Watch a video about Diagnostic Medical Sonography studies at SAIT PolytechnicAs a two year program offered full-time, Diagnostic Medical Sonography, also known as ultrasound, is a technology involving the application of high-frequency sound waves toward patients to help physicians in medical diagnoses. Diagnostic medical sonographers work as members of patient care teams, assessing patients and providing information to physicians for diagnoses and monitoring patients' health status. This is a specialized vocation requiring a high-degree of technical skills and exceptional interpersonal skills. This program teaches key aspects of ultrasound technology including obstetrics and gynecology, the cardiac and vascular systems and abdomen and superficial structures. Studies also include patient care, physics, anatomy and physiology, equipment instrumentation, quality control and the performance of diagnostic scanning procedures.

The Diagnostic Medical Sonography program is 26 months in length and consists of theory and lab courses onsite at SAIT along with practicum rotations off campus. Practicum locations are constantly changing. All students can expect to be placed outside of Calgary (including out of province) more than once during the program. Students are expected to return to SAIT campus for classes in the second and third year of the program. These on-campus classes will provide an opportunity to integrate theory with the hands-on skills learned during practica.

Certain courses are available by distance education or continuing education - ANPH 209, INFC 215 and MEDT 211. The courses must be completed within the time frame shown in the Program Outline. Please be advised that full-time student status requires the student to take 60 percent of a full course load per semester. Depending on the number of courses completed by distance education or continuing education, students may be considered a part-time student, which may impact their financial loan status.

To support their learning, students will be required to participate online throughout their practicum and will require access to a computer with Internet access and a printer. Students will be evaluated on lab, competency and performance in the program using a competency tracking system called Comp Tracker. Students are required to have an iPad with Bluetooth keyboard to support the Comp Tracker system while in the program.

Your Career

Graduates find work as diagnostic medical sonographers in hospitals, doctors' offices and community clinics. Diagnostic Medical Sonographers work in environments where they may spend a considerable amount of time standing or sitting and performing tasks that may be repetitive. They must observe safety precautions and ergonomics to reduce the risk of exposures and injury. Graduates of the Diagnostic Medical Sonography program have a 100% employment rate.

Student Success

  • Students with higher secondary or post-secondary marks usually experience greater success in SAIT programs.

  • Students are expected to spend approximately 20 hours per week outside of class studying.

  • Students who experience success in this program have exceptional communication skills in English.

  • Health care practitioners are detail oriented in the care they provide, utilize critical thinking in practice, are eager, persevere and enjoy working in a team environment.

  • In order to be successful in this program, applicants must have basic computer literacy. An acceptable computer skill level would include the ability to use word processing and communication software. Educational interaction in this program depends on these basic computer skills. It is the student's responsibility to ensure adequacy of these skills prior to program admission.

  • Students who experience success in this program have the following characteristics:

    • Intrinsic motivation,

    • Ability to handle unpleasant situations,

    • Ability to lift heavy patients,

    • Ability to stand for long periods of time,

    • Upper body strength while scanning patients in difficult positions,

    • Good physical health including upper body and shoulder strength,

    • Good wrist and hand dexterity and stamina,

    • Full body muscle stamina, and

    • Strong vision and hearing.

  • Individuals with previous chronic or repetitive strain injuries have experienced re-injury or aggravation of these conditions in this program and/or as a sonographer.

  • Employers for sonography professionals indicate that working hours could be days, evenings, weekends and potentially 24/7 shift expectations.