News | Business | September 24, 2015

ASRT Survey Shows Slight Increase in Medical Imaging Vacancy Rates

Despite vacancy increases in six of eight specialties, researchers preach caution

ASRT, staffing survey, 2015, medical imaging, vacancy rates, slight increase

September 24, 2015 — After marking a steady decline since 2005, the vacancy rate for radiographers increased slightly to 3.4 percent in 2015, according to the latest American Society of Radiologic Technologists (ASRT) Radiologic Sciences Workplace and Staffing Survey.

The vacancy rate represents the number of positions that are open and actively being recruited. This year’s radiographer vacancy rate is an increase from the 1.7 percent rate reported in the 2013 staffing survey. Overall, vacancy rates in six of the eight tracked medical imaging disciplines and specialty areas increased since 2013, with two areas showing slight decreases:

  • Computed tomography (CT) technologists increased from 2.7 percent to 4.5 percent;
  • Sonographers increased from 2.6 percent to 5.1 percent;
  • Magnetic resonance (MR) technologists increased from 3 percent to 4.2 percent;
  • Mammographers increased from 1.4 percent to 2.6 percent;
  • Nuclear medicine technologists increased from 1.3 percent to 2.8 percent;
  • Cardiovascular-interventional technologists decreased from 5.2 percent to 4.1 percent; and
  • Bone densitometry technologists decreased from 1.8 percent to 1 percent.

“People should be very cautious when interpreting this data. A slight increase in vacancy rates may cause optimism among radiologic technologists in a difficult job market; however, this increase is a single data point and doesn’t indicate a statistically significant trend,” said ASRT Chief Academic Officer Myke Kudlas, M.Ed., R.T.(R)(QM), CIIP.

In addition to vacancy rates, the report highlights information about workforce turnover and demographics. For example, the average number of full-time radiographers per medical imaging facility declined in 2015 to 8.4, down from 9.2 in 2013. Also, the average number of full-time CT, sonography, mammography, nuclear medicine, cardiovascular-interventional and bone densitometry technologists per facility fell slightly. However, the number of full-time MR technologists per facility rose from 3.4 in 2013 to 4.2 in 2015.   

The survey data also highlights various work volume trends. For instance, the study revealed the average radiography department has 3.4 machines, sees 13,324 patients per year and performs 26,872 images.

ASRT e-mailed the survey in April 2015 to 15,000 radiology department managers across the United States. At the close of the survey on May 31, 2015, 1,123 respondents had submitted completed questionnaires.

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