Your Next Job
By Catherine A. Cardno, PhD
Despite the changes that the radiology employment market has seen in the last decade, the prognosis is still good for new graduates, according to the 2013 ACR Commission on Human Resources Workforce Survey, released in October. Hiring for the next few years is projected to be “relatively similar to what the hiring was like in 2012,” says Edward I. Bluth, MD, FACR, chair of the emeritus of the Department of Radiology at Ochsner Medical Center in New Orleans and chair of the ACR Commission on Human Resources. Although the news that there are enough jobs to go around and that each of the approximately 1,200 residents who will complete training should be able to find a position is good news, there is one caveat according to the survey: It is not likely that everyone will be able to find a job in the subspecialty, geographic area or type of practice that they desire.
Understand the State of the Field
According to Bluth, there are a number of reasons hiring remains flat. A big influence is that older radiologists are delaying retirement or, instead, are opting for reduced hours as a form of partial-retirement, until the economy fully recovers.
A second factor is uncertainty about how the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) will impact practices and reimbursements in the future. Indeed, the CMS and insurance providers have already started cutting back on reimbursement levels, according to Bluth, which is limiting replacement hires for some practices.
Despite the replacement-hire cutbacks, there is a visible trend in groups growing in size, according to Bluth. “It’s becoming commonplace to have 24-hour coverage,” he says. “Teleradiology started with the concept that there were companies that would be able to provide night-time service, but now many practices are internalizing that and hiring individuals directly to their practice, who are their own internal nighthawks.”
That local groups are expanding night hours is a good sign, notes C. Matthew Hawkins, MD, a vascular interventional radiology fellow at the University of Washington/Seattle Children’s Hospital and immediate past-chair of ACR’s Resident and Fellow Section. “Because more and more departments and radiology groups across the country are trying to be in-house and have a human presence in their hospitals at night, I think it has helped the job market a little bit for younger people seeking jobs,” he says.