Radiologic technologist vacancy rate dips again
Article Thumbnail ImageSeptember 8, 2011 -- The vacancy rate for radiologic technologists (RTs) has dropped to 2% in 2011, the eighth straight year it has declined, according to a new report from the American Society of Radiologic Technologists (ASRT).
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The RT vacancy rate is down only slightly from the 2.1% rate reported in ASRT's 2010 survey. However, the rate has dropped steadily from the 10.3% reported in ASRT's first staffing survey in 2003, according to the organization.

Vacancy rates have dropped for radiologic technologists across a number of modalities, according to the 2011 ASRT Radiologic Sciences Workplace Survey.

RT vacancy rates by modality
Modality 2003 2011
CT 8.5% 2%
MR 9% 2.5%
Mammography 7.2% 1.7%
Nuclear medicine 10.9% 1.4%
Cardiovascular-interventional 14.6% 3.5%
Ultrasound 11.7% 3.4%

In other findings, the 2011 survey showed that the average number of full-time RTs per medical imaging facility dropped from 10.6 in 2010 to 9.3 in 2011.

However, the average number of full-time CT technologists per facility climbed from 5.0 in 2010 to 5.6 in 2011, according to the report. The number of full-time technologists working in MR, mammography, nuclear medicine, and sonography also rose slightly per facility, from 2010 to 2011.

While it's difficult to pinpoint exactly what's causing the decline in the number of full-time radiographers, it might indicate a shift in the percentage of advanced diagnostic imaging procedures that are being performed in facilities, said ASRT Chief Academic Officer Myke Kudlas.

The study also found that the average medical imaging facility has 4.4 x-ray machines and examines 19,905 patients each year, compared with an average of 1.9 CT scanners and 11,198 CT patients.

On average, 84.2% of mammography departments report having digital imaging systems, compared with only 15.8% still using plain film, according to the ASRT.