Job forecast for rads to remain steady through 2016

Demand for radiologists was flat in 2013 compared with 2012, and looks to remain stable through 2016, according to results of a survey of practice leaders published in the October issue of the Journal of the American College of Radiology.

The annual survey, conducted for the second year by the American College of Radiology Commission on Human Resources, demonstrated a need for general radiologists, but also showed that most individuals will be hired because of subspecialization.

“Each of the 1,200 residents who complete their training programs each year should have a position available, but the job may not necessarily be in the subspecialty, geographic area, or type of practice that the individual desires,” wrote Edward I. Bluth, MD, of Ochsner Clinic Foundation, New Orleans, and colleagues.

The Practice of Radiology Environment Database was used to identify more than 2,000 practice leaders to receive the electronic survey, and 22 percent responded. Responding practice leaders corresponded to 23 percent of all practicing radiologists in the U.S.

Results showed 54 percent of radiologists are in private practice. The number of radiologists employed by hospitals fell sharply from 22 percent to 10 percent from 2012 to 2013, while the percentage of the workforce associated with an academic university practice jumped from 10 percent to 19 percent, according to Bluth and colleagues.

Currently, the workforce consists of 21 percent general radiologists and 79 percent subspecialists, with general interventionalists, neuroradiologists and body imagers making up the largest areas of subspecialty. In 2012, 1,407 radiologists were hired, with general interventional radiologists and general radiologists leading the way, according to the authors.

The forecast for the next few years will be relatively stable, with 1,526 job opportunities projected by the end of 2013 and 1,434 job opportunities projected for 2016. General radiologists, general interventionalists, breast imagers, neuroradiologists, musculoskeletal radiologists, and body imagers will be the most sought after individuals.

The survey showed that 22 percent of the current workforce is between 56 and 65 and 7 percent is over the age of 65. Bluth and colleagues noted that “workforce needs may change depending on the retirement rates of senior group members, which relate to the vagaries of the economy, individual finances, and personal health issues.”