ASRT survey: Enrollment in nuclear medicine education programs on the rise

According to a recent report from the American Society of Radiologic Technologists (ASRT), the number of students enrolled in radiography, radiation therapy, and nuclear medicine programs was up in 2015, with the most significant increase coming in nuclear medicine programs.

ASRT’s Enrollment Snapshot of Radiography, Radiation Therapy and Nuclear Medicine Technology Programs 2015 report includes survey results from more than 500 radiation, radiation therapy, and nuclear medicine technology programs listed by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists.

The numbers show an average of 20.7 students per radiography program in 2015, up very slightly from 20.6 in 2014. Radiation therapy programs increased from 13.2 to 13.9 in the same timeframe, and nuclear medicine programs had the biggest jump, going from 8.5 in 2014 to 10.5 in 2015.

Other noteworthy numbers from the report break down the number of students being turned away from classrooms when there is technically room for them to be accommodated. Radiography programs, for example, turned away an average of 27.7 qualified applicants per class. Radiation therapy programs turned away an average of 14.8 students, and nuclear medicine programs turned away an average of 4.5.

According to Myke Kudlas, ASRT chief learning and membership officer, this continues a trend that has been in place for a few years now.

“Our last three enrollment surveys have shown that program directors are turning away some students, even though they might be able to fit them in the classroom,” Kudlas said in a statement. “This demonstrates good stewardship of the profession by program directors. It shows they are paying attention to the data when making decisions that affect the quality of the whole field.”

Respondents were also asked about the attrition rate of their programs. More than 36 percent of radiography students fail to complete their course of study, according to the data, while more than 24 percent of radiation therapy students failed to finish. For nuclear medicine students, the number was more than 17 percent.

The full 23-page report is available to be read on the ASRT website.