I have never heard of any hospital or school having financial gain for their professional contracts. That would be a huge conflict of interest. To be perfectly realistic, there are some schools that don't look at the job market saturation and fill the seats in the classrooms with the motive of greed... but I think this is probably less than 1% of the cases in the United States. The problems that hospitals and schools are facing on an administrative level has to do with a couple of things: The upcoming surge of baby boomers retiring and the reduction in medicare reimbursement.
Baby boomers were born anywhere between 1946 and 1964, which means that by 2011, the first boomers will have reached age 65 - retirement age. Unlike the last three decades, the healthcare field has made an effort to try to anticipate this reduction in work force, since the boomers make up the largest population of any age group in most hospitals. They also make up most of the executive and administrative bodies. Once they start retiring, there's going to be a large need for qualified employees to fill their shoes. Also, the number of geriatric patients is expected to increase exponentially with this change.
How do the proactive efforts of the hospital systems contribute to increased graduates? Well, most schools (typically community colleges) have a symbiotic relationship with the hospitals in their area. For Radiography programs, there needs to be enough technologists to take on students, and there needs to be enough jobs when the students graduate in order to employ 75% of all new grads within 6 months of exiting their respective programs (JRCERT requirement). The hospital administrators regularly communicate with college administrators to determine exactly how many graduates should be pumped out annually.
This all sounds great in theory... here's the problem. More and more people are continuing to work into and beyond the traditional retirement age. People are unsure about social security payout, and with the economy the way it is, a lot of people have lost money on their stocks, 401k's and other investments; basically, a lot of people cannot afford to retire yet. The efforts made between the hospitals and schools are valiant and I commend those institutions that have been proactive, but these efforts relied upon information that was incomplete at the time. Preparation for this scenario was started years ago and some of the variables have changed.
I have no doubts that this was a wise move, but it was conducted a few years too early. Unfortunately, our market is rather saturated at the moment. Those who do find jobs out of school are settling for undesirable positions as casuals for multiple employers and usually second or third shifts, weekends, and holidays. Those unwilling to take these shifts or relocate are not able to find work.
The reduction in medicare reimbursement is a wild card. It could serve to increase or decrease the demand for technologists... I happen to believe it will increase it. One could argue that the more expensive studies like CT or MRI will not have the same reimbursement rate after reform officially kicks in. Less expensive exams like diagnostic x-ray will increase in number, and reimbursement is more likely to be paid for the cheaper studies. This may bring back additional volume to gen rad departments and take some volume away from advanced modalities. Even if advanced studies are ordered, x-rays will probably have to be done first in order to show prudence that the cheaper study was attempted and found unsuitable to diagnose adequately.
Now is an awkward time for those who just graduated from a Radiography program. I truly believe that the market saturation problem will slowly diminish over the next 5 years or so. Now is the time to accept those unfavorable shifts and positions that require sacrifices that you might not have anticipated. Get your foot in the door. It will definitely pay off when the slump goes away and the more desirable positions need to be filled. It's very competitive out there right now, but there will soon be room to grow and you will be thankful that you persevered through this difficult time.