Enrollment in radiography educational programs decreased in 2012, according to the American Society of Radiologic Technologists' latest "Enrollment Snapshot of Radiography, Radiation Therapy and Nuclear Medicine Technology Programs."
According to the survey, about 15,675 students entered radiography programs in 2012, a 4.7 percent decrease from the 16,454 who enrolled in 2011.
The story is brighter, however, for radiation therapy and nuclear medicine, which both showed substantial spikes in enrollment. Slightly more than 1,400 students enrolled in radiation therapy programs last year, a 16.5 percent increase over the 1,204 who enrolled in 2011, while the number of students enrolling in nuclear medicine programs jumped by 19.7 percent, from 1,175 in 2011 to 1,407 in 2012.
Despite the decreasing enrollment in radiography programs, the survey suggests that strong interest remains in the radiologic technology profession. Program directors reported turning away 16,323 qualified students in 2012 from radiography programs, while radiation therapy and nuclear medicine programs turned away 836 and 232 students, respectively.
"According to the study results, future enrollment numbers will depend on the discipline," ASRT Director of Research said John Culbertson, in an announcement. "For example, 89 percent of radiography program directors said they'll likely keep entering class enrollment numbers the same in the coming years, but 19 percent of radiation therapy programs said they'll increase enrollment numbers, and almost 18 percent of nuclear medicine program directors reported that they'll increase enrollments."
As for the job market for new program graduates, the survey found that 85 percent of radiography students and 86 percent of radiation therapy students found jobs in their disciplines within six months of graduating in 2,011. The picture wasn't as bright for graduates of nuclear medicine programs; only 57.2 percent found jobs.
The job placement rates, Culbertson said, are comparable to what the ASRT has found in job vacancy data, "which shows the job market is still very tight."