Focus on MP

Focus on MP

New Categories for the Oral Certifying Exam

By Kalpana M. Kanal, PhD; Mathew B. Podgorsak, PhD; and Robert A. Pooley, PhD; ABR Trustees; and Geoffrey S. Ibbott, ABR Associate Executive Director for Medical Physics


The ABR Medical Physics Oral Certifying exams in the three specialties (diagnostic, therapeutic, and nuclear) are administered in five categories. To pass the exam, a candidate needs to pass all five categories; passing four of the five results in a conditioned status. Occasionally, the categories are adjusted to make the exam better fit current practice patterns or to make the category distribution more balanced.

Starting with the April 2023 administration, candidates taking the Diagnostic Medical Physics (DMP) Oral Certifying Exam will be tested using questions derived from the new categories shown below, also found on the ABR website. These changes were made to balance the distribution of content among the categories and to define the subcategories more clearly. Neither the exam content nor how a candidate might prepare for the exam have changed, but the categories, category descriptions, and distribution of content among the various categories have all been updated. Candidates who conditioned on a previous exam will continue to be tested using the category structure in place at the time they conditioned.

The major categories are now divided into three ionizing and two non-ionizing radiation modalities. The category descriptions are more standardized and each category is divided into five subcategories corresponding to the following general topics for each major modality category:

  • Equipment design and clinical use
  • Image quality
  • Dosimetric quantities and informatics
  • Equipment performance evaluation
  • Safety and regulations

The category descriptions for each modality in the table below are based on these general subcategory topics. Professionalism and ethics are included under the Ultrasound category.

New DMP Categories


Old DMP Categories


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