Collins Career Corner

How Radiologists Practice: Shifting Trends in The Employment Landscape

September 2, 2019

In this post, we’ll take a quick look at recent trends in how radiologists practice and the employment landscape.

Results of the workforce surveys conducted by the ACR Commission on Human Resources from 2011 to 2018 provide what might be considered a temperature check. The collective data provides key insights into today’s job market for radiologists.

Below are some highlights from the survey findings. They reveal influential trends likely to impact the opportunities available to you and may potentially factor into your employment outlook.

Radiology practice mix

This first section covers the percentage of radiologists employed in the different types of practices, along with a few notable statistical trends.

The table below shows the percentage of radiologists employed in the ACR’s six defined practice types from 2012 to 2018 [1-7].

There has been relatively little variation in the general distribution across practice types over this time period.

The number of radiologists employed in private practice remained close to about 50%, establishing private practice as the most common type by far.

Academic practice numbers were also largely unchanged, with about 20-25% of radiologists employed in academia.

Hospitals, multispecialty clinics, corporations, and government (Veterans Affairs and military) consistently employed fewer radiologists.

Table. Percentage of Radiologists in Each Practice Type From 2012-2018

 AcademicCorporateGovernmentHospitalMultispecialty ClinicPrivatePractice
2012217420741
20131911101454
2014212116853
2015190.50.322455
201623<1<112857
2017233<113952
201825**121046

*Corporate and Government reported together as 6% in 2018

One particularly noteworthy trend is the significant drop in the number of radiology groups, which fell from 2,067 in 2013 to 1,588 in 2018. This decrease may be the result of mergers, consolidations, and buyouts of practices by other private practices, equity partners, hospitals, or for-profit corporations.

Another surprising deviation is that the hiring of corporate employees has been projected to grow from 3% in 2018 to 12% in 2019 [7].

Subspecialization

Data indicates an increasing trend in subspecialization, with the percentage of general radiologists declining rather dramatically over the past 7 years from 35.2% to 8.6%.

According to the 2018 numbers, the three most common practicing subspecialties are body imaging, interventional radiology, and neuroradiology.

And good news for trainees—55% of radiologist hired last year were first-time hires after training.

The not-so-good news—training in a subspecialty and actually working in your subspecialty isn’t necessarily a given.

What percentage of time might fellowship-trained radiologists expect to work in their area of expertise?

Well, it depends. From a purely statistical standpoint, the answer is less than half your time. More specifically, probably somewhere between 26% to 50% of your time.

Only radiologists in academic practices spend the majority of their time working in the areas of their fellowship training, according to survey results.

There are a variety of factors, however, that enter into the equation. The type of practice you work in, of course, is a major determining factor.

If you want to spend more than 50% of your time working in your fellowship-trained subspecialty, the following data may help serve as a guidepost.

Here is the breakdown of the number of radiologists by practice type who spent more than 50% of their time in their fellowship-trained subspecialties:

PRACTICE TYPEPERCENTAGE OF RADIOLOGISTS
Multispecialty clinics45% of radiologists
Corporate environment40% of radiologists
Hospitals39% of radiologists
Government33% of radiologists
Private practice32% of radiologists

These findings ultimately show that although the vast majority of radiologists did fellowships, most radiologists outside of the academic university environment were expected to perform general radiology functions and interpretations.

The takeaway? You may want to adjust your expectations accordingly. If time spent practicing in your subspecialty is a top priority for you, this may inform the type of practice you concentrate your efforts on when seeking employment.

  1. Bluth EI, Short BW, Willis-Walton S. 2012 ACR Commission on Human Resources workforce survey. J Am Coll Radiol 2012; 9:625-629
  2. Bluth EI, Truong H, Nsiah E, Hughes D, Short BW. The 2013 ACR Commission on Human Resources workforce survey. J Am Coll Radiol 2013; 10:750-756
  3. Bluth EI, Truong H, Bansal S. The 2014 ACR Commission on Human Resources workforce survey. 2014; 11:948-952
  4. Bluth EI, Cox J, Bansal S, Green D. The 2015 ACR Commission on Human Resources workforce survey. J Am Coll Radiol 2015; 12:1137-1141
  5. Bluth EI, Bansal S. The 2016 ACR Commission on Human Resources workforce survey. J Am Coll Radiol 2016; 13:1227-1232
  6. Bluth EI, Bansal S, Bender CE. The 2017 ACR Commission on Human Resources workforce survey. J Am Coll Radiol 2017; 14:1613-1619
  7. Bender CE, Bansal S, Wolfman D, Parikh JR. 2018 ACR Commission on Human Resources workforce survey. J Am Coll Radiol 2019; 16:508-512