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Initial Certification

Initial Certification > Radiation Oncology


Radiation Oncology

Initial certification information is for candidates who have not been certified in radiation oncology.

The Certificate

A certificate will be issued to each candidate who has finished a prescribed and approved period of training and study and has passed computer-based (qualifying) and oral (certifying) examinations, demonstrating an adequate level of knowledge and ability in radiation oncology in accordance with the definition as stated in the bylaws and rules and regulations of the American Board of Radiology.

As you go through your residency and as you finish, you take examinations that afford you your first certification.

Your certificate is conditional; it 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 MOC information), which will be evaluated annually on a rolling three-year window. One of the requirements to maintain certification is successful completion of the cognitive (MOC Part 3) examination which must be passed before the end of the tenth year from your previous “passed” 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, which shows interested parties that you are keeping up with the latest developments in your field and can thereby render high-quality service.

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 radiation oncology.

Time Limitation for Attaining Initial Certification ("Board Eligibility")

Candidates have specific, predetermined 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 radiation oncology 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.

The termination dates for board eligibility status are listed below.

End of Training

Termination of Board Eligibility

2004 or before

December 31, 2014


December 31, 2015


December 31, 2016

2011 and afterward

Six full calendar years from end of training

The period of eligibility, 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 on the ABMS website (www.certificationmatters.org) or in verification letters.

To return to "board eligible" status, candidates must take an additional year of training in a department with an Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME)-accredited or Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (RCPSC)-accredited radiation oncology residency program. At the end of that year, the department chair or program director must attest to satisfactory completion of the experience. After that documentation is provided to the ABR, the candidate may re-enter the certification process and will again be required to pass both the qualifying and certifying examinations within a six-year interval. If the candidate has previously passed the physics and cancer biology/radiation biology sections of the qualifying examination, it will not be necessary to repeat those sections.

Questions related to these or other board certification issues can be addressed to icnotification@theabr.org, or by calling (520) 790-2900.

To read the board eligible policy, please click here.