Radiologist job outlook remains stable through 2016

The demand for radiologists has been fairly flat in 2013 compared to 2012, and shouldn't change much through 2016, according to a survey of radiology practice leaders published in the October issue of the Journal of the American College of Radiology.

The researchers, led by Edward Bluth, M.D., sent surveys to more than 2,000 practice leaders, of whom 22 percent (462) responded. The results of the survey showed that 1,407 radiologists were hired in 2012. General interventional radiologists represented the largest portion of those hired (15.1 percent), followed by general radiologists (12.3 percent), body imagers (12 percent), musculoskeletal specialists (11.1 percent) and neuroradiologists (10.8 percent), among others.

Based on results, the researchers project that there will be 1,526 jobs available in 2013, and 1,434 in 2016. They expect that for the remained of this year, there will be more opportunities available for general radiologists, breast imagers, neuroradiologists, teleradiologists, women's imagers, chest imagers, MRI specialists and interventional neuroradiologists. The greatest demand will be for general radiologists.

They also expect reduced demand for body imagers, pediatric subspecialists, and radiologists focused on emergency/trauma, nuclear medicine and informatics. Meanwhile, demand for radiologists specializing interventional radiology, musculoskeletal radiology, cardiac imaging, research, ultrasound, and health services research should remain stable.

The survey also showed that most job opportunities over the next several years will be in private practices, followed by academic universities; most of those opportunities will be available in the South, and the fewest will be in the Northeast.

Additionally, the researchers found that 7 percent of the radiology workforce is over the age of 65, and 22 percent is between the ages of 56 and 65; that suggests, the researchers said, that about 8,700 radiologists are considering retirement or reducing workloads.

The authors concluded that while there's a "considerable need" for general radiologists, most radiologists will be hired because of an area of subspecialization, and that they should "be flexible and open to considering all options when entering the job market."

Earlier this year, David Levin, M.D., and Vijay Rao, M.D., addressed the issue of the declining radiology job market in an article in JACR. They argued that if radiologists continue to focus on preserving income and allowing the status quo to prevail, the job market will continue to decline.

Levin and Rao suggested that radiologists can "sacrifice some income, create new positions within practices, take back the nights and weekends, and start acting like real consultants to our colleagues and patients."

To learn more:
- take a look at the survey results

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