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Initial Certification


Initial Certification > Diagnostic Radiology

Diagnostic Radiology


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

The Core Examination is offered after 36 months of residency, is image rich and computer based, and examines in 18 subspecialty and modality categories. The exam must be passed overall and in each category to receive a passing result. The Core Examination can be considered as a combination of the previous physics, clinical, and oral exams. For more information, go to the Core Examination page.

The Certifying Examination is given 15 months after completion of diagnostic residency training, is also computer based and image rich, and includes five modules. Three modules are in 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 Exam 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, which includes a 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 will begin at the completion of diagnostic radiology residency training. For international medical graduates, "end 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:

End 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 end 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.


The Certificate

As you progress through your residency, you will take examinations to qualify for your initial certification in diagnostic radiology.

If you have chosen to subspecialize, 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 is valid contingent upon 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). Your progress will be evaluated annually on a rolling three-year “look-back” window. One of the requirements to maintain certification is successful completion of the cognitive examination (MOC Part 3), which must be passed before the end of the 10th year from your previously passed examination. This is a practice-profiled, computer case-based examination. Your certification status and MOC status will be publicly reported on our website, as well as at the official public reporting website of the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS), www.certificationmatters.org.