Radiography, nuclear medicine education program enrollments dipped in 2014

As program directors put the squeeze on admissions, the number of first-year students enrolling in radiography and nuclear medicine programs declined last year, while radiation therapy programs saw enrollment rates tick upward, according to the American Society of Radiologic Technologists (ASRT).

Based on survey responses from 469 radiologic technology education program directors, ASRT detailed entering-class enrollments, student accommodation availability and future enrollment levels in a report titled “Enrollment Snapshot of Radiography, Radiation Therapy and Nuclear Medicine Technology Programs 2014.”

An estimated 15,211 students enrolled in radiography programs in 2014, an average decrease of more than one student per class, according to ASRT. Enrollment of 1,061 nuclear medicine program students represented an average decrease of 1.5 students per class. Radiation therapy program enrollment grew by 0.7 students per program for an estimated total of 1,544 students.

The report found that many program directors are not filling classes to capacity, with many programs turning away qualified applicants despite not being at full enrollment. Radiography programs turned away an average of 34.1 qualified applicants per class and nuclear medicine programs turned away 8.3 qualified applicants. Survey results showed that radiography and nuclear medicine programs could have accommodated an average of 7.2 and 8.1 additional students, respectively.

While radiation therapy program enrollment did grow, these programs turned away an average of 15.7 qualified applicants despite being able to accommodate an additional 6.2 students per program.

Admissions may continue to hold steady in the near future, as a majority of program directors responding to the survey said they planned to maintain enrollments at the current level.