News | Imaging | January 05, 2016

Radiology Student Enrollments Up Slightly in Education Programs

Numbers suggest program directors closely monitoring class sizes to improve quality of education

radiography, radiation therapy, student enrollment, education programs, ASRT

January 5, 2016 — The number of students enrolling in radiography and radiation therapy programs increased slightly in 2015, while nuclear medicine program enrollments saw noticeable gains during the same period.

Entering-class enrollments, student accommodation availability and future enrollment levels are among the findings in the American Society of Radiologic Technologists’ Enrollment Snapshot of Radiography, Radiation Therapy and Nuclear Medicine Technology Programs 2015.

Survey results showed an average of 20.7 students per class for radiography programs in 2015, which is statistically the same as the 20.6 average reported in 2014. Radiation therapy program enrollments averaged 13.9 students per class, a marginal increase from 13.2 students in 2014. Overall, there were an estimated 15,228 students enrolled in radiography programs and 1,572 students in radiation therapy programs in 2015.  

Nuclear medicine programs experienced a marked increase in new students in 2015. An estimated 1,276 students enrolled in programs, up from 1,061 in 2014. In addition to enrollment figures, the survey highlights the number of students who were not admitted to programs in 2015. Radiography programs that were not at full enrollment turned away an average of 27.7 qualified applicants per class, an average of 14.8 qualified students were not admitted to radiation therapy programs and an average of 4.5 nuclear medicine applicants were turned away. 

Cross-referenced with the number of students programs could actually accommodate, the survey indicates that many program directors are not filling their classes to capacity as radiography programs could accommodate 8.7 additional students, radiation therapy 7.1 students and nuclear medicine 6.0 students.

Future enrollment levels also point to program directors monitoring class sizes as 83.8 percent of radiography program directors plan to maintain their current enrollment levels, 87.5 percent of radiation therapy and 81.7 percent of nuclear medicine programs plan to keep their enrollments the same.

“Our last three enrollment surveys have shown that program directors are turning away some students, even though they might be able to fit them in the classroom,” said ASRT Chief Learning and Membership Officer Myke Kudlas, M.Ed., R.T.(R)(QM), CIIP. “This demonstrates good stewardship of the profession by program directors. It shows they are paying attention to the data when making decisions that affect the quality of the whole field.”

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 971 program directors in September 2015, and 521 participants responded, resulting in a 53.7 percent response rate.

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