Think you know healthcare? These 8 programs will change your perspective

When you think of healthcare, the first thing that comes to mind might resemble a medical drama: a hospital corridor where nurses in scrubs assist patients and their families, while doctors with clipboards hurry from room to room. But medical dramas don’t show the whole story, do they?

There are many jobs in the healthcare industry that receive less attention from the media, yet they’re fascinating, rewarding, and integral to keep the whole system functioning. For that reason, they’re also highly sought-after. These BCIT programs will help you to see a different side of healthcare.

1. Electroneurophysiology (ENPY) 

The central and peripheral nervous systems are some of the most difficult-to-diagnose areas of the human body—but thanks to electroneurophysiology, we’re better than ever at unravelling their mysteries. ENPY technologists can attach electrodes to a patient’s head and use them to understand the body’s electrical signals. It looks like sci-fi, but it’s applied every day to help save lives.

The full-time diploma program at BCIT is one of only three specialized ENPY programs in Canada, giving graduates opportunities to work across the country and around the world. Small and personalized 10-person classes combined with clinical experience in the field equip students for success.

2. Biomedical Engineering Technology

The unsung heroes of healthcare are the machines that make it all work. Doctors, nurses, and specialists all depend on a wide assortment of apparatuses and devices in order to save lives, and it’s all maintained—and often designed—by biomedical engineering technologists.

Field trips, a five-week practicum, and applied research and design projects mean the full-time Biomedical Engineering Technology program at BCIT is unlike any other in the province. In fact, its approach—which focuses on both hospital contexts and the broader medical device industry—is unique in Canada.

3. Nuclear Medicine

Don’t worry—nuclear medicine won’t require you to rush headlong into any radioactive danger zones. Specialists in this field are experts in spotting and diagnosing diseases even in the earliest stages. To do this, they combine non-invasive biological tracers with radioactive material to create detailed, luminous images of the body. It’s a lot like taking x-rays from the inside out.

With a renowned two-year curriculum that includes in-hospital clinical experience, there’s no program in BC like the Nuclear Medicine Technology diploma at BCIT. The faculty are industry experts with firsthand knowledge of every facet of the nuclear medicine process.

4. Clinical Genetics Technology

Genetic diseases are among the greatest challenges facing the healthcare community. They include everything from Down syndrome and Huntington’s disease to an individual’s propensity to develop cancer. In many cases, there are limited options for prevention and treatment—but there are medical professionals working every day to study these conditions, search for cures, and ensure those living with them are well taken care of.

A career in this field is incredibly gratifying, and the Clinical Genetics Technology diploma at BCIT is one of only two programs in all of Canada that will prepare you for it. Students get training in small classes and clinical sites where they can familiarize themselves with the latest technologies. 

SEE MORE: What’s the difference between a polytechnic and a university?

5. Cardiovascular Perfusion

Can you imagine trying to perform surgery on a heart or lungs while they’re pulsating? Neither can surgeons. That’s why for each of these operations, there’s a perfusionist in the room who operates the bypass machines that keep blood oxygenated and flowing even when the whole cardiovascular system has stopped.

Amazingly, there are only about 300 of these much-needed professionals in Canada—fewer than a fifth of them are pediatric—and they’re trained in only three schools: one in Toronto, one in Montreal, and BCIT. The Cardiovascular Perfusion program at the Institute provides a two-year specialty certificate, with one year spent on clinical rotations while continuing your studies online.

6. Food Technology

You may have thought testing food products and processes for quality control would be more related to the food industry, but unhealthy or contaminated food poses a public health risk. Therefore, analyzing, understanding, and reducing these risks requires healthcare expertise.

That’s where the Food Technology diploma at BCIT comes in. The two-year program is designed to focus on real-world context, with industry sponsors who not only provide resources and support for students, but participate in projects so that you can put your knowledge to work.

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7. Radiation Therapy

Almost everyone has had their lives touched by cancer in one way or another, and it can certainly take its toll. Radiation therapists not only provide an essential treatment option, but they’re often a consistent point of contact and a source of emotional support for patients and their families.

At BCIT, the Radiation Therapy program provides a full-time, 33-month Bachelor of Science that includes two separate clinical experience placements at two different provincial cancer centres. With small class sizes and in-depth lectures and labs, this is the only program of its kind in BC.

8. Prosthetics and Orthotics

No two days are the same for a prosthetist. In the morning, you might be consulting with a rehabilitating amputee patient to develop a new arm. But in the afternoon, you could be adding the final details to a custom, super-flexible leg for a high-performance athlete. And then the next day, you’re researching with colleagues to devise promising new treatment and design approaches.

If you love technology, helping people, and making things with your hands, then the Prosthetics and Orthotics diploma at BCIT might be just the thing for you. Not only does the two-year program lead to a two-year paid residency, but practicums conducted during your studies can be done locally or internationally. There are only two prosthetics and orthotics programs of this calibre offered in all of Canada.

The healthcare sector is hiring nationwide, thanks to growing cities and a large number of Canadians who are getting on in years. Now’s the time to think about finding a job in this industry that’s thrilling, fulfilling, and unique to your interests. 

Need some advice? Visit BCIT Health Sciences during BIG Info Session on November 13, 2019. If you can’t attend BIG Info, contact us and we’ll be more than happy to help.

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