ASRT: Radiographer vacancy rates on the rise

2018 08 20 17 49 6243 Medical Staff 400

Vacancy rates for radiographers are on the rise, according to a new survey commissioned by the American Society of Radiologic Technologists (ASRT). Vacancy rates in some imaging modalities are at the highest rate in 10 years, a sign that the labor market for technologists could be tightening.

The vacancy rate rose to 8.5% this year, up from 4.2% in 2017, according to the ASRT Radiologic Sciences Staffing and Workplace Survey 2019. The vacancy rate represents the number of positions that are open and actively being recruited, the ASRT said.

The ASRT emailed the biennial survey to 11,094 radiology department managers in July of this year; 405 responded. Of the survey respondents, 57.6% worked in hospitals, while 12.8% worked in imaging centers. The remainder worked in facilities such as large and small clinics, physician's offices, and corporate settings.

The survey found that many specialties reported radiographer vacancy rates at their highest levels in more than 10 years, and almost all vacancy levels were higher than those in 2017 -- with the exception of cardiovascular interventional technology.

Radiographer vacancy rates by specialty
Discipline 2017 2019
CT 4.2% 10.1%
Sonography 4.3% 9%
MRI 3.9% 8.7%
X-ray/fluoroscopy 4.2% 8.5%
Cardiovascular interventional technology 8.7% 7.3%
Mammography 2.7% 5.6%
Nuclear medicine 2.3% 5.2%
Bone densitometry 1.7% 3.7%

Vacancy rates also varied by demographic area, with the highest rate in the East-South central region, at 10.5%, and the lowest in New England, at 3.8%.

The survey also showed that the average number of full-time x-ray radiographers per medical imaging facility remained stable between 2017 and 2019. In 2019, the average number of CT, cardiovascular-interventional, sonography, and nuclear medicine technologists per facility increased slightly, while the average number of mammographers per facility fell from 2017 levels. The average number of full-time MR technologists per facility remained the same.

Full-time radiographer positions within disciplines
Discipline Average per facility, 2017 Average per facility, 2019
X-ray/fluoroscopy 8.7 8.7
CT 5.8 6.1
Cardiovascular interventional technology 5 5.2
Sonography 4.2 4.3
MRI 4.1 4.1
Mammography 4.2 3.6
Nuclear medicine 2.7 2.8
Bone densitometry 1.7 1.3

Despite the increase in vacancy rates, more data must be gathered to establish a true trend, the ASRT said.

"This year saw an increase in the vacancy rates across most of the disciplines that we are tracking," said Director of Research John Culbertson in a statement released by the association. "However, caution should be taken when interpreting and generalizing this data as a sustained increase. The ASRT will conduct the survey again in 2021 to see if this is indeed a trend."

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