Tech vacancy rates continue to decline
The vacancy rate for radiographers has continued to decline in recent years and is now at 2.1 percent, according to a staffing survey conducted by the American Society of Radiologic Technologists (ASRT).

The vacancy rate, which represents the number of positions that are open and actively being recruited, is the lowest since the ASRT began collecting data in 2003. A vacancy rate of 2.1 percent for radiographers means that for every 100 budgeted full-time positions, an estimated 2.1 are unfilled, the society said.

“Vacancy rates continue to drop year after year, signaling that the job market for radiologic technologists has tightened considerably since the profession experienced its last personnel shortage in the early 2000s,” said ASRT Vice President of Education and Research Myke Kudlas, MEd, RT. “In radiography, for example, our staffing surveys showed vacancy rates of 10.3 percent in 2003, 7.7 percent in 2004, 5.4 percent in 2005, 4.5 percent in 2006, 3.7 percent in 2007 and 3.4 percent in 2008. The vacancy rate for 2009 was 2.5 percent, and the current rate is 2.1 percent.”

The society found that vacancy rates for other medical imaging disciplines and specialties also dropped between 2003 and 2010, according to the staffing survey:
  • CT technologists, from 8.5 percent in 2003 to 2.6 percent in 2010;
  • MR technologists, from 9 percent to 3.4 percent;
  • Mammographers, from 7.2 percent to 1.8 percent;
  • Nuclear medicine technologists, from 10.9 percent to 2.1 percent;
  • Cardiovascular-interventional technologists, from 14.6 percent to 3.5 percent; and
  • Sonographers, from 11.7 percent to 4.6 percent.

In addition, the staffing survey showed that 54.4 percent of respondents are not currently recruiting technologists for their radiology departments. A total of 1,654 managers and directors of U.S. hospital-based radiology departments or facilities responded to the survey in June.

Kudlas said that future demand for RTs is difficult to predict and impossible to control. “Many variables will influence future demand for medical imaging professionals, including an aging American population, the impact of health care legislation, exam reimbursement trends, advances in technology, and the strength of the nation’s overall economy,” he said. “Any one of these variables can dramatically shift the balance between work force supply and demand.”

Complete results of the survey are available on the ASRT website.