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Enrollment Down in Radiography Programs

Jan 14, 2015
Directors of radiologic technology educational programs report that the number of first-year students enrolling in radiography and nuclear medicine programs declined in 2014, while the number of students enrolling in radiation therapy programs increased.

Entering-class enrollments, student accommodation availability and future enrollment levels are among the findings in the Enrollment Snapshot of Radiography, Radiation Therapy and Nuclear Medicine Technology Programs 2014 conducted by the American Society of Radiologic Technologists.

Survey results showed that an estimated 15,211 students enrolled in radiography programs and 1,061 students in nuclear medicine programs in 2014. These figures represent an average decrease of slightly more than one student per class for radiography programs and an average decrease of 1.5 students per class for nuclear medicine programs when compared with 2013 enrollment numbers.

However, radiation therapy programs experienced an increase in new students in 2014. An estimated 1,544 students enrolled in programs, indicating an average increase of 0.7 students per program.

According to the survey results, it appears that many program directors are continuing to limit enrollment numbers as the number of students turned away in 2014 closely matched what was reported in 2013. In 2014, radiography programs that were not at full enrollment turned away an average of 34.1 qualified applicants per class, an average of 15.7 qualified radiation therapy applicants and an average of 8.3 nuclear medicine applicants.

Cross-referenced with the number of students programs could actually accommodate, the data shows that many program directors are not filling their classes to capacity. For example, the survey showed on average that radiography programs could accommodate 7.2 additional students, radiation therapy 6.2 students and nuclear medicine 8.1 students.

Future enrollment levels also point to program directors monitoring class sizes as 86.7% of radiography program directors plan to maintain their current enrollment levels and 77.4% of radiation therapy and nuclear medicine programs plan to keep their enrollments the same.

“Our last two enrollment surveys showed that many program directors are turning away students even though they could accommodate them in the classroom,” said ASRT Director of Research John Culbertson. “We’ll closely monitor to see if this trend continues in the 2015 enrollment survey.”

Results from the survey came from directors of radiography, radiation therapy and nuclear medicine programs listed by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists. ASRT sent the survey by e-mail to 981 program directors in October 2014, and 469 participants responded, resulting in a 47.8% response rate.

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