A common question asked at many colleges and universities these days is, “Should we be offering this program?” This is a challenging and expensive question to answer, and there are many factors to consider. What curriculum is needed, who should teach, what is the demand, and are other colleges also offering the program? Failing to adequately research and answer such questions could have significant ramifications. If you institute a program that doesn’t make sense or isn’t set up correctly you could train and move students toward sectors that aren’t hiring or you could end up inadequately preparing students.
So our goal in this post is to introduce some helpful concepts to show how you can take a good first step in answering these important questions.
First, let’s imagine we want to assess the creation of a radiologic technology program.
The first step should be to look at the overall trends for the occupation(s) you are aiming to train for. Graduates from this program will largely be looking to work as radiologic technologists and technicians, mostly in general medical and surgical hospitals, but also in a number of other health care industries. Here we want to make estimates for employment to get a job-by-job picture of employment in the region.
In our first graph we can see the overall national, state, and local trends for the occupations we would like to train for. We see that the national growth is far exceeding state and local growth (in this case, Illinois and Cook County). Radiologic techs actually declined slightly in the local economy.
Here is another look at the same data. The thing to note here is that almost half the state’s jobs are in Cook County, and that the radiological workers in the county make slightly more as compared to the state or nation. It is also interesting to note that the national growth has been 12% while the region has experienced a 1% decline since 2002. However, while the region has seen little growth the past eight years, the rest of Illinois has grown at a strong rate.
|Region||2002 Jobs||2010 Jobs||Change||% Change||Openings||Median Hourly Earnings|
|Source: EMSI Complete Employment - 3rd Quarter 2010|
Next, we can also easily see that there were about 400 openings for our occupational cluster since 2002. The openings numbers are the estimates number of job openings created by new jobs and/or turnover in existing jobs. If we average out the openings, we are looking at roughly 44 a year. This is based completely on labor market trends and needs to be ground-truthed with what local employers are doing, and will be doing, in coming years.
A simple way to gauge this is by looking at trends in real-time job postings. Here is a look at job postings in this region during a recent five-day stretch, provided by Indeed.com.
|Mammography Tech||St. Alexius Medical Center||Hoffman Estates, IL||Oct. 25, 2010|
|Research Technologist||The University of Chicago||Hyde Park, IL||Oct. 25, 2010|
|LEAD MRI TECHNOLOGIST||MacNeal Hospital||Berwyn, IL||Oct. 25, 2010|
|CT TECHNOLOGIST / Part Time Evenings and Days||Provena Health||Elgin, IL||Oct. 24, 2010|
|IHR MRI TECHNOLOGIST - Radiology, Registry, Variable Shifts||Adventist GlenOaks Hospital||Glendale Heights, IL||Oct. 24, 2010|
|C.T. TECH - Radiology, Casual, Varied Shifts||Adventist GlenOaks Hospital||Glendale Heights, IL||Oct. 24, 2010|
|Senior Research Technologist||University of Chicago||Chicago, IL||Oct. 23, 2010|
|ULTRASOUND TECHNOLOGIST - Imaging and Outpatient||Adventist Bolingbrook Hospital||Bolingbrook, IL||Oct. 23, 2010|
|Research Technologist 2||Northwestern University||Chicago, IL||Oct. 23, 2010|
|Radiographer||Children's Memorial Hospital||Chicago, IL||Oct. 22, 2010|
|MRI TECH REGISTRY NO BENEFITS||Provena Health||Joliet, IL||Oct. 22, 2010|
|Research Technologist||University of Chicago||Chicago, IL||Oct. 22, 2010|
|MRI Tech||Rush-Copley Medical Center||Aurora, IL||Oct. 21, 2010|
|Radiology Technician I||CHRIST MEDICAL CENTER||Oak Lawn, IL||Oct. 21, 2010|
|PART TIME EEG Tech||TRINITY HOSPITAL||Chicago, IL||Oct. 21, 2010|
|Tech Aide Part time Radiology Mercy Location||DREYER MEDICAL CLINIC||Aurora, IL||Oct. 21, 2010|
|CT Tech||CHRIST MEDICAL CENTER||Oak Lawn, IL||Oct. 21, 2010|
|MRI Tech Registry Outpatient Clinic||DREYER MEDICAL CLINIC||Aurora, IL||Oct. 21, 2010|
|MRI Tech||MacNeal Hospital||Berwyn, IL||Oct. 20, 2010|
|Radiology Pacs\RIS Assistant||GOOD SAMARITAN HOSPITAL||Downers Grove, IL||Oct. 20, 2010|
|CT Technologist Registry||ILLINOIS MASONIC MEDICAL CTR.||Chicago, IL||Oct. 20, 2010|
|Magnetic Resonance Tech (MRI)||LUTHERAN GENERAL HOSPITAL||Park Ridge, IL||Oct. 20, 2010|
|MRI Tech||Weiss Memorial Hospital||Chicago, IL||Oct. 20, 2010|
There were 23 postings during the five-day period – which indicates that employers are looking to hire. This paints a more positive picture than what our labor market trends indicated.
Finally, it’s important to understand what other area colleges are doing in terms of training for this occupational cluster. To do that we’ve pulled data on different radiological programs.
|Training Program||Provider Name||2009 Region Graduates||Website|
|Radiologic Technology - Associate of Applied Science||Harper College||19||www.harpercollege.edu|
|Medical Radiologic Technology||City Colleges of Chicago / Malcolm X College||30||www.ccc.edu/malcolmx|
|Radiologic Technology||Northwestern College||N/A||www.nc.edu|
|Radiologic Technology/Science - Radiographer||City Colleges of Chicago / Wilbur Wright College||18||www.wright.ccc.edu|
|Medical Radiologic Technology/Science||Advocate Trinity Hospital||14||www.advocatehealth.com|
|Radiologic Technology/Science||Moraine Valley Community College||27||www.morainevalley.edu|
|Medical Radiologic Technology/Science||National-Louis University||0||www.nl.edu|
|Radiologic Technology/Science||South Suburban College||19||www.ssc.edu|
|Radiologic Technology/Science||Triton College||32||www.triton.edu|
|Source: Illinois Workforce Development System’s WIA-Certified training Programs Data, National Center for Education Statistics’ IPEDS Data|
There are nine regional schools that offer programs aimed at training for radiologic tech jobs. Most of them have released their completion data for 2009 – so we know that at least 159 people graduated last year in the region.
So bringing all the information together, the labor market data tells us to expect at least 40 annual openings. Current job postings rates paint a different picture, and it looks like there is a lot more demand than 40 new openings created by new jobs and turnover in the region. However, if we look at the nearly 160 grads in the region, we might want to be careful about not over-training. With that said, if there is still adequate demand for this occupational cluster in the state and nation, grads will probably be able to find a job; it would nevertheless be good to let them know that the local job market could be more competitive that that seen in the state and nation.
This is a simple illustration of how you can use labor market and educational data as a good leading indicator of what training you could or should offer.
The data and analysis produced in this report is from Analyst, EMSI’s web-based labor market tool. If you would like more information, help assessing your own programs, or would like to take a closer look at how EMSI can help you, please contact us.