6 BCIT programs to prepare you for a job in BC’s healthcare system

While employment in BC’s healthcare sector reached a new high of over 280,000 in 2021, there still continues to be a need for skilled professionals in the field. With the province’s aging and growing population growth to 6.5 million by 2041, there is a high demand for healthcare professionals and services in BC – currently and in the years to come. According to the latest BC Labour Market Outlook, about one million job opening are expected in BC over the next decade and the healthcare and social assistance sector is one of the most in-demand fields.

Unmatched by other post-secondary institutions, BCIT is a major producer of nurses and other health professionals that are the cornerstone of the BC health system. BCIT offers the largest nursing program in the province, with 10 post-graduate programs related to specialty nursing needs in BC. Additionally, BCIT offers unique, preventative-based health programs including Food Technology, Environmental Public Health, and Occupational Health and Safety.

As a major producer of nurses and other health professionals that are the cornerstone of the BC health system, BCIT offers the largest nursing program in the province, with an additional 10 post-graduate programs related to specialty nursing, and trains 72% of the province’s medical laboratory technologists and professionals. It also offers unique, preventative-based health program, such as Food Technology, Environmental Public Health, Occupational Health and Safety, and Radiation Therapy.

Interested in a healthcare career? Here are six BCIT programs to springboard you into an in-demand job:

1) Environmental Public Health

Inspectors in environmental health evaluate and monitor health and safety hazards of a space, and develop strategies to control potential risks of those spaces. Both in public and private sectors, professionals in this field work with people in almost every industry to safeguard their public health.

The Bachelor of Environmental Public Health at BCIT is a two-year, full-time program with small class sizes to better facilitate your learning. Our industry leading instructors will teach you hands-on experience of becoming a health inspector and environmental public health professional. Combined with a three-month practical experience at a BC health agency, students will have solid theory-based knowledge, and valuable direct field experience upon graduation.

The demand for environmental public health continues to rise, with 1,700 job openings expected in BC in the next decade.

2) Biotechnology

Biotechnology applies knowledge of biological processes to develop products that can heal, feed, and fuel our planet. For example, fundamental advances in our understanding of human biology have led to mRNA vaccines to prevent infectious disease and immunotherapy treatments for cancer. The growing biotechnology industry requires trained professionals with a deep knowledge of biological disciplines and the technical skills to develop the innovative biotechnology products of the future.

In partnership with the University of British Columbia (UBC), BCIT offers an Honours Bachelor of Science degree in Biotechnology – a small cohort B.Sc. program that combines the world-class curriculum available at UBC with the extensive industry-focused and applied laboratory training at BCIT. This joint UBC-BCIT program prepares students with scientific and technical expertise, as well as work experience in both industry and academia. Students in this program learn from leading faculty in the biological sciences at both BCIT and UBC. Graduates are not only well positioned to directly enter jobs in the biotechnology industry, but also well prepared to excel in graduate and medical school.

3) Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy is an integral part of a cancer patient’s care. Over the next few years, BC is expecting to see a growing demand of new patients requiring radiation treatments – approximately 1,000 new patients. This means, there will be a need for skilled radiation therapists in the province. The BCIT Radiation Therapy Bachelor of Science is the only program of its kind in BC. Students learn at BCIT before gaining access to clinical experiences scheduled at BC Cancer Agency treatment centres.

Graduates are equipped with the skills and knowledge to write the CAMRT national certification exam that qualifies them to work.

4) Nursing

As the BC population continues to grow, the demand for nurses is at an all-time high. Especially in the northern and rural regions, the need for registered nurses (RNs) and registered psychiatric nurses (RPNs) will reach 22,100 openings in the next 10 years.

At BCIT, an accelerated, three-year, full-time Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) prepares students to become excellent nurses who are practice-ready to meet the complex needs of today’s healthcare environment. Students of the BSN program will be equipped with state-of-the-art simulation labs within the new BCIT Health Sciences Centre, clinical exposure in various practice settings in acute care and community, and a chance to work anywhere in the world upon graduation of this program.

As the demand for nurses is particularly strong in specialty areas, BCIT also offers the only post-RN academic programs in BC and in areas such as Critical Care, Emergency, Pediatrics, Neonatal, or Perioperative. RNs wanting to fine-tune their skills can benefit from this certification.

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5) Medical Radiography

An aging population in BC and the advancement of technology in diagnosis and treatment contributes to the demand for x-rays, computed tomography (CT), and other diagnostic procedures – with 1,230 job openings forecasted in BC in the next decade.

BCIT offers a two-year Diploma in Medical Radiography. This program trains students in X-ray imaging, and provides students with exposure to three clinical experiences in different hospital environments in addition to in-depth courses in areas including CT, fluoroscopy, OR imaging, emergency/trauma, and mammography.

Students leave the program fully prepared to write the Canadian Association of Medical Radiation Technologists (CAMRT) national certification exam that qualifies them to work in the field.

Jobs graduates of this program will be prepared for include x-ray technologist equipment sales, and education and teaching positions.

6) Medical Laboratory Science

Did you know that medical laboratory technologists perform over 1.2 million lab tests a day in Canada? Professionals in this field conduct medical laboratory tests to assist in the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of diseases. In particular, hospitals and medical laboratories that provide diagnostic services, and the increased growth of molecular testing, contribute greatly to the 1,600 job openings forecasted in this field in the next 10 years.

The Medical Laboratory Science Diploma at BCIT is a two and a half year program that combines on-campus lectures and labs with a 35-week clinical placement in a workplace lab setting – ensuring that you have the qualifications needed to become job-ready upon graduation.

This field offers career paths to various opportunities, including positions in public health laboratories, veterinary and industrial laboratories, pharmaceutical and biological supply houses, and more.

Learn in the state-of-the-art Health Sciences Centre

The BCIT School of Health Sciences offers 34 health-related programs that are unmated by other post-secondary institutes. Students learn using innovative technology and simulators in the modern Health Sciences Centre that newly opened its doors in September 2022. The Health Sciences Centre replicates hospital workflows to prepare students for a seamless transition into clinical and work environments.

If you’re interested in a career in the healthcare system but not sure where to start, reach out to a BCIT Program Advisor today. You can also sign-up for an upcoming information session to learn more about interested programs.

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