Background. To develop a web-based computer adaptive testing (CAT) application for efficiently collecting data regarding workers' perceptions of job satisfaction, we examined whether a 37-item Job Content Questionnaire (JCQ-37) could evaluate the job satisfaction of individual employees as a single construct. Methods. The JCQ-37 makes data collection via CAT on the internet easy, viable and fast. A Rasch rating scale model was applied to analyze data from 300 randomly selected hospital employees who participated in job-satisfaction surveys in 2008 and 2009 via non-adaptive and computer-adaptive testing, respectively. Results. Of the 37 items on the questionnaire, 24 items fit the model fairly well. Person-separation reliability for the 2008 surveys was 0.88. Measures from both years and item-8 job satisfaction for groups were successfully evaluated through item-by-item analyses by using t-test. Workers aged 26 - 35 felt that job satisfaction was significantly worse in 2009 than in 2008. Conclusions. A Web-CAT developed in the present paper was shown to be more efficient than traditional computer-based or pen-and-paper assessments at collecting data regarding workers' perceptions of job content. Copyright © 2011 Chien et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.