Northeast boasts most radiology residents, greatest job shortages

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New research in the Journal of the American College of Radiology suggests the Northeastern United States has the highest per capita number of radiology residents, despite being the region most affected by job shortages.

“Data reflecting such poor hiring rates for radiologists in the Northeastern United States suggest that there is a general oversupply of radiology trainees in this region,” author Cory M. Pfeifer, MD, wrote.

The annual American College of Radiology Human Resources workforce revealed significant deficits in the number of jobs available to new radiology graduates from 2012 through 2016. Both the number of accredited programs and the size of existing programs continued to increase, along with job deficits for new graduates.

The purpose of this study was to evaluate the growth in radiology training positions over the 10 years preceding 2016, comparing those figures to the number of jobs available for radiology graduates across the U.S.

The per capita number of radiology trainees in each region was derived from data published by the National Resident Matching Program, as were annual match statistics over the years 2012 through 2016. Data regarding new interventional radiology and diagnostic radiology enrollees were also obtained from the National Resident Matching Program.

The six states with the most per capita radiology residents were in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeastern U.S. (Massachusetts, Vermont, Connecticut, New York, Rhode Island and Pennsylvania, including Washington, D.C.) in both 2006 and 2016. Of the five states with the greatest per capita growth in new radiology residents from 2006 to 2016, four (Vermont, District of Columbia, Massachusetts and Maryland) are in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions.

The Northeast region ranked last in the percentage of new jobs available in four of five surveys of the ACR Commission on Human Resources Workforce conducted from 2012 through 2016 and ranked second to last behind the Mid-Atlantic region.

“Attempting to estimate the need for new radiologists will always be limited by speculative data,” Pfeifer wrote. “The question, however, remains as to whether the radiology community should simply hope for the best or take a step back and analyze the evolution of the problem with the goal of attempting to avert future crises.”