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Initial Certification


Initial Certification > Diagnostic Radiology

Diagnostic Radiology


Initial certification information is for candiates who have not been previously certified in diagnostic radiology.

The Certificate

As you progress through your residency and after completion of training, you will take examinations to qualify for your initial certification in diagnostic radiology.

If you choose to subspecialize after you receive your diagnostic radiology certificate, you can also take exams to qualify for subspecialty certificates in the following disciplines:

 ic  Hospice and Palliative Medicine 
 ic  Neuroradiology 
 ic  Nuclear Radiology 
 ic  Pediatric Radiology 
 ic  Vascular and Interventional Radiology

Your certificate remains valid contingent as long as you are meeting the requirements of Maintenance of Certification (MOC).

Throughout the period for which you hold certification, you are expected to continue learning and improving your skills in a personalized program (see ABR MOC information). Your progress will be tracked annually via a rolling three-year “look-back.”

Your initial certification status and MOC status will be publicly reported on our website, as well as on the official public reporting website of the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS), www.certificationmatters.org. This shows interested parties that you are keeping up with the latest developments in your field.

A certificate granted by this Board does not of itself confer, or purport to confer, any degree or legal qualifications, privileges, or license to practice diagnostic radiology, nor does it confer an ability to legally perform procedures with radioactive materials regulated by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), licensure for which can only be granted by the NRC.


The Examinations

The Core Examination is an image-rich, computer-based examination, offered after 36 months of residency training; it covers 18 subspecialty and modality categories. The exam must be passed overall and in each category to receive a passing result. For more information, go to the Core Examination page.

The Certifying Examination, given 15 months after completion of diagnostic residency training, is also computer based and image rich, and it includes five modules. Three modules are clinical practice areas and may be chosen by the examinee to fit his or her interests, experience, and training. The other two modules, Essentials of Diagnostic Radiology and Noninterpretive Skills, will be taken by all examinees. For more information, go to the Certifying Examination page.

Content for the Radioisotope Safety Exam (RISE) is integrated into the Core and Certifying exams. After the Certifying Exam has been passed, the RISE will be scored. The RISE result will not affect the pass results for either exam.


Information for those who have completed residency and are seeking employment:

The ABR recognizes that some candidates seeking employment are concerned about potential confusion by employers due to the new transition to a final certifying examination 15 months after residency ends. If you are completing your residency and are seeking employment, the ABR has provided a letter clarifying the new process and describing the mandatory waiting period before certification may be earned. You may provide this letter with your application materials to a potential employer. Click here for a copy of the letter.

Time Limitation for Attaining Initial Certification (Board Eligibility)

Candidates have specific time limits for remaining eligible to be initially certified by the ABR and to maintain their status as board eligible. Board eligibility for those currently in training will begin at the completion of diagnostic radiology residency and extend for six years. For international medical graduates (IMGs), seeking initial certification through an alternative IMG pathway, "completion of training" is defined as the end of the four-year period outlined in the Sponsoring Department Agreement.

For candidates who have already completed training, the board eligibility period ends according to the following schedule:

Completion of Training Termination of Board Eligibility
2004 or before December 31, 2014
2005 December 31, 2015
2006-2010 December 31, 2016
2011 and afterward Six full calendar years from completion of training

After the period of board eligibility ends, candidates failing to successfully complete the initial certification process will no longer be considered by the ABR as board eligible, will no longer be permitted to designate themselves as such for communications or credentialing purposes, and will no longer be reported as such to external agencies in verification letters. Please click here for more information on board eligibility and reinstatement of board-eligible status.

Questions related to these or other board certification issues can be addressed to ic@theabr.org, or by calling (520) 790-2900. To read the board eligible policy, please click here.