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X-ray diploma is first for Island

Dec 09 2011

Camosun College is to offer a two-year diploma program for X-ray technologists, the Island's first, from next fall.

Advanced Education Minister Naomi Yamamoto and MLA for Oak Bay-Gordon Head Ida Chong announced the new medical radiography technology diploma program Thursday in a visit to the college.

"This will be the first program of its kind on Vancouver Island, addressing a critical area of health care in this region and providing students with training opportunities closer to home," Yamamoto said in a statement.

The college will offer 16 full-time spaces for firstyear students in 2012-13 as part of the college's school of health and human services at the Lansdowne campus.

Bob Brandt, director of medical imaging for the Vancouver Island Health Authority, said he fully supports the program.

"I'm very pleased to be involved with it from the start," Brandt said. "There's a real advantage for the Island because Island residents can get trained and stay on the Island to work."

Students will have real X-ray equipment in their laboratories "so they will train on them before they even get into a hospital," Brandt said.

The B.C. Institute of Technology in the Lower Mainland has 80 spaces for X-ray technologists but there is heavy competition for those spaces, Brandt said.

In Victoria, there is more immediate need for ultrasound technologists. An ultrasound technologist could likely get a full-time job right out of school, Brandt said.

However, there are part-time and casual jobs available for X-ray technologists, he added.

Traditionally, X-ray technologists start in part-time jobs and move up into full-time work, he said.

An X-ray technologist can have further training to become a CT-scan, MRI or angiography technologist.

The provincial government said it is providing more than $3 million to the college for start-up costs and equipment and another $591,000 in operating funding for the program starting in 2013.

"Our investment underscores our B.C. jobs plan commitment to ensuring we're training the skilled workforce we need to fill future job opportunities," Chong said in a statement.

Medical X-ray technology involves the production of medical images using X-radiation. On the Island, the images are digital and can be used to detect broken bones, as well as heart and brain abnormalities.

The technologist produces the images and a radiologist interprets them to help doctors make medical diagnoses.

ceharnett@timescolonist.com

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