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Enrollment Down in Radiography Programs

Jan 14, 2013

The number of students entering radiography educational programs decreased in 2012, according to the latest ASRT Enrollment Snapshot of Radiography, Radiation Therapy and Nuclear Medicine Technology Programs.

Study results show that an estimated 15,675 radiography students entered programs in 2012 compared to 16,454 in 2011, representing a 4.7 percent decrease. However, the number of students enrolling in radiation therapy and nuclear medicine programs rose. The ASRT study shows 1,403 students enrolled in radiation therapy programs in 2012, a 16.5 percent increase from the 1,204 who enrolled the previous year. In addition, the number of students entering nuclear medicine programs jumped from 1,175 in 2011 to 1,407 in 2012, a 19.7 percent increase. 

Even with variability in enrollment numbers, the radiologic technology profession continues to attract interest. According to the survey, radiography program directors reported turning away 16,323 qualified students in 2012. Radiation therapy programs turned away 836 students and nuclear medicine programs passed on 232 students.

"According to the study results, future enrollment numbers will depend on the discipline," said ASRT Director of Research John Culbertson. "For example, 89 percent of radiography program directors said they'll likely keep entering class enrollment numbers the same in the coming years, but 19 percent of radiation therapy programs said they'll increase enrollment numbers, and almost 18 percent of nuclear medicine program directors reported that they'll increase enrollments."

The survey also outlines the job placement rate for recent program graduates. Close to 85 percent of radiography students and 86 percent of radiation therapy students found employment in their respective disciplines within six months of graduating in 2011. However, only 57.2 percent of nuclear medicine students found employment after graduation.

"The job placement rates highlighted in this survey are comparable to what we've found in our vacancy rate data, which shows that the job market is still very tight," said Culbertson. "We'll have more up-to-date information about staffing rates when we complete our 2013 Radiology Staffing Survey later this year."

Results from the survey came from directors of radiography, radiation therapy and nuclear medicine programs listed by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists. The ASRT sent the survey by e-mail to 1,007 directors in October 2012, and 606 participants responded, resulting in a 60.2 percent return rate.

The ASRT has conducted the Enrollment Snapshot of Radiography, Radiation Therapy and Nuclear Medicine Technology Program survey for 12 consecutive years. As a result, the new report includes a summary of longitudinal enrollment trends from 2001-2012.

Comments

8 Comments

  1. 8 Debra 10 Mar
    I'm concerned about the job market. What about us muli-modiality seasoned technologist who have lost jobs because of down sizing or allowing non RT staff to perform DXA. In the past increasing your certifications was a favorable thing. Today we are told we are over qualified. The job market prefers a new graduate over a seasoned technologist. The new graduate is more cost effective.

    Also, why do we strive for a license and then allow nurses, medical asst. and other staff to perform DXA scans? This still involves ionizing radiation.
  2. 7 ASRT Staff 11 Mar
    Thank you for your comment, Debra. We understand that radiologic technologists are facing a tight job market. We encourage members to visit the ASRT JobBank® (www.asrt.org/jobs) for a list of available positions. In addition, job seekers can network through the ASRT Communities (www.asrt.org/community), our LinkedIn group (http://www.linkedin.com/groups?gid=134856&trk=hb_side_g) and through their local affiliates.
     
    We are working to establish educational and certification standards for medical imaging and radiation therapy personnel, which would prevent uneducated individuals from performing radiologic exams and procedures, including DXA scans.
  3. 6 Tibe 28 Mar
      Who determines the number of students enrolling in each programs in each school year after year? Who checks and balances the job market (job availability) and the number of graduates? The criteria to be RT and the standard of the profession should be raised. The radiography courses should also be more challenging to get qualified graduates. By doing so, all currently seen problems  of radiography  will be solved.
  4. 5 ASRT Staff 28 Mar
    Thank you for your comment, Tibe. Individual educational programs determine the number of radiologic technology students who enroll in their programs. Although ASRT can’t require educational programs to accept fewer students or close their doors, we do provide educators, managers and potential students with data about staffing, workforce and educational program enrollment trends so they can make informed decisions. For example, data in the survey highlighted above is available to all radiologic technology educational program managers.
  5. 4 Bill 01 Apr
    I would like to see the job placement for recent graduates survey taken a step or two further.  Most enter the program with the idea of graduating and procuring full-time employment complete with benefits.  I have found this to not be the case by a long shot here in central Florida.  I graduated from a 2yr Radiography program in Dec. 2011.
    Six months after graduation we probably had 75% employment which is close to the average listed in the above study.  However, only 5% had a full-time position at that point and now 16 months out my class is at 15% full-time status.  This shows a BLEAK outlook for future of graduates and contrasts drastically to the results shown above of 85% placement. 
  6. 3 Bill 01 Apr
    I submitted a comment earlier but don't see it.  I really would like a
    response.  I feel the survey needs to be expanded upon to be complete
    and honest.  Firstly, a definition of "employment" should be included.  I
    am certain, based upon the numbers, that any position, including per
    diem, is counted toward the employment numbers in your survey.  I
    graduated from a two year radiography program in December of 2011 and
    the employment numbers for recent graduates shown in the above survey
    closely reflect the numbers for my class.  Six months after graduation
    my class was roughly 75% employed if per diem positions count as
    employment.  A different perspective is gleaned if you only include
    full-time employment; the statistic then changes to 5% employment.  Now I
    am out of school 16 months and the employment rate, based on full-time
    employment, for my graduating class is 15%.  This gives a bleak outlook
    for the profession, perhaps too bleak for publication.
  7. 2 ASRT Staff 18 Apr
    Thank you for your comment and question, Bill. The ASRT Enrollment Snapshot of Radiography, Radiation Therapy and Nuclear Medicine Technology Programs highlights data provided by educational program directors. We only ask for placement rates, not the level of
    employment.However, our Radiology Staffing Survey provides comprehensive data about full-time equivalents. The survey data also includes
    information about fractional positions. Here is a link to the 2010 staffing survey results, which shows that vacancy rates for medical imaging disciplines and specialties have dropped between 2003 and 2010, http://www.asrt.org/docs/research/ASRTRadStaffingSurvey2010.pdf. We’re currently gathering data for the 2013 survey and will post the data this summer. The majority of ASRT’s data is available at no charge. You can
    find all of ASRT’s survey results since 2001 at
    http://www.asrt.org/main/news-research/research-studies-and-surveys.             
  8. 1 John Trombley 18 Apr
    I think the key to job  placement in mobility.  After 18 yrs in the same hospital, I decided to travel for a while (eight yrs).  It was quite the experience and I became aware of job opportunities and salary scales all over the countries.  If a person is willing to do a little looking around I think the right job with the right pay will be available to anyone.  It worked for me.

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