A survey conducted by the American College of Radiology (ACR) Commission on Human Resources has found the radiology workforce needs in the near future will be similar to numbers seen in 2011, with no substantial increase or reduction in job openings.
Results of the survey appeared in an article published in the September issue of the Journal of the American College of Radiology, written by Edward I. Bluth, MD, of Ochsner Clinic Foundation in New Orleans, and colleagues.
The authors noted radiologists have been concerned about the availability of jobs; however, no reliable data existed to track workforce trends. “Because of this lack of current information, the ACR Commission on Human Resources undertook an electronic survey to better understand the present workforce situation for radiologists,” they wrote.
The electronic survey was developed with the assistance of outside consultants at the Virginia Tech Center for Survey Research, and was directed at practice leaders listed in ACR’s Practice of Radiology Environment Database, which features information on nearly 2,000 practices nationwide.
“Compared with previous attempts to evaluate the workforce, we feel that this survey methodology is more robust because with the Practice of Radiology Environment Database, we are able to survey the universe of radiology practices. In previous attempts, either surrogates such as advertisements for job openings or a sampling of academic practices or program directors were used,” explained Bluth and colleagues.
One-quarter of the contacted practice leaders responded to the survey, corresponding to 31 percent of the total number of physicians practicing radiology or radiation oncology, according to the authors.
Results showed that 35 percent of the current workforce is comprised of general radiologists and 65 percent of specialists. The largest category was body imagers, followed by general interventional radiologists, neuroradiologists and breast imagers.
In 2011, approximately 1,241 radiologists were hired, and in 2012, 1,103 positions will have been made available before the year is out, according to the authors. Forecasts based on the survey responses show that 1,227 radiologists are expected to be hired in 2014.
“Approximately 1,200 residents complete their studies each year; according to our calculations, there seems to be a job open for each resident but not necessarily in the subspecialty, geographic area, or type of practice that the resident desires,” wrote Bluth and colleagues. The South, West, Midwest and mid-Atlantic states will feature the most opportunities, and the greatest needs will be for general radiologists, followed by breast imagers, according to the authors.
The ACR Commission on Human Resources would like to conduct this workforce survey annually, according to Bluth and colleagues.