The vacancy rate for open radiologic technologist jobs in the U.S. continues to fall, although there are signs that the current oversupply of RTs may be correcting itself, according to the American Society of Radiologic Technologists (ASRT) of Albuquerque, NM.
The ASRT's annual staffing survey of 1,500 managers and directors of U.S. hospital-based radiology programs revealed a vacancy rate for radiographer jobs for the first quarter of 2008 of 3.4%, compared with a vacancy rate of 3.7% in 2007 and 4.5% in 2006. In 2003, the vacancy rate was as high as 10.3%, as indicated in the chart below:
The ASRT went on to say that while some areas of the U.S. are experiencing an oversupply of RTs, other areas are experiencing shortages. Survey results indicate that one in five radiography facilities have openings for radiographers, and one in three have openings in one or more other specialties.
"It may mean that RTs will have to be more flexible to find jobs, such as considering relocation or longer commutes," said John Culbertson, ASRT's director of research. "The good news is that because RTs aren't being stretched thin due to the earlier shortage we had, the patients are better off."
The ASRT acknowledged that while U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data indicate that there may be an oversupply of RTs from 2006-2016, other factors need to be considered. For example, the number of students entering RT programs has begun to level off after increasing steadily since 1999, indicating that program directors are reducing enrollment in response to the glut. Also, demand for medical imaging and radiation therapy services will increase as the U.S. population ages.
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