Vacancy rates up for numerous medical imaging disciplines

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The vacancy rates for numerous imaging disciplines have increased in the last two years, according to a recent survey performed by American Society of Radiologic Technologists (ASRT).

The ASRT sends its Radiologic Sciences Workplace and Staffing Survey to managers of radiology departments every two years. The survey tracks the vacancy rates, or the number of positions that are open and being actively recruited, of various disciplines, as well as other information.

The ASRT sent this survey out to 15,000 managers earlier this year, and 1,123 responded.

According to the survey, vacancy rates increased from 2013 to 2015 for radiographers, CT technologists, sonographers, magnetic resonance technologists, mammographers, and nuclear medicine technologists. Sonographers had the biggest increase in those two years, going from 2.6 percent in 2013 to 5.1 percent in 2015.

Myke Kudlas, ASRT chief academic officer, warned against reading too much into these new statistics.

“People should be very cautious when interpreting this data,” Kudlas said in a statement. “A slight increase in vacancy rates may cause optimism among radiologic technologists in a difficult job market; however, this increase is a single data point and doesn’t indicate a statistically significant trend.”

Respondents to the survey were also asked about the number of budgeted full-time equivalent (FTE) positions that exist at their facility for the various disciplines. The discipline with the most FTE positions was radiography, which averages 8.4 per facility. CT departments had an average of 5.5 FTE positions per facility, the second-highest total.

But are these numbers enough? When asked about their facility’s staffing level, more than 69 percent of department managers said they would describe it as being staffed at an appropriate level. More than 28 percent said their department is understaffed, with less than 3 percent describing it as overstaffed.

The survey also looked into work volumes. Radiography again lead the way with an average of 13,324 patients per department per year. The second-highest total belongs to mammography, which clocked in at an average of 5,692 patients per department per year.