Initial Certification for Diagnostic Radiology


Last verified on September 23, 2021

When and where is the Certifying Exam administered?

The Certifying Exam is administered twice each year. Beginning in 2021, the Certifying Exam will be administered remotely. Please see the DR Exam Dates and Locations page for information on the Certifying Exam schedule.

Why isn’t the Certifying Exam offered at a local testing center?

Currently, local testing centers are unable to handle the modular exam content and case structure. In addition, commercial vendors do not calibrate monitors, and the room lighting cannot be controlled.  

How do I select content for the Certifying Exam?

You will select three clinical practice modules in which to be examined, based on your training experience, interest, and practice pattern. These areas include breast, cardiac, gastrointestinal, musculoskeletal, neuroradiology, nuclear, pediatric, thoracic, ultrasound, genitourinary, vascular/interventional, and general radiology. All clinical categories have modules with two levels of difficulty—fundamental and advanced. If more than one module is taken in a given category, content will be at the advanced level on the second (and third, if relevant) module.

How is the Certifying Exam scored?

The exam is scored as pass or fail, and you will be provided with feedback. The required module and the elective modules are all scored together. If the overall result is “fail,” the entire exam must be retaken. The passing standard is determined by committees made up of individuals who did not participate in question writing.

What does “noninterpretive skills” mean?

This refers to general topics of importance to the practice of radiology, including, but not limited to general topics of importance to the practice of radiology, such as recognition and management of contrast reactions, error prevention, communication skills, professionalism, and quality principles. Noninterpretive skills was previously a stand-alone module but is now incorporated into the Essentials module. A syllabus, Noninterpretive Skills Study Guide, is available.

Does the ABR diagnostic radiology certificate still indicate whether I’m AU-eligible?

Yes. If you fulfill all requirements for an “authorized user” eligibility, including satisfactory documentation of the training and experience requirements and passing the RISE (Radioisotope Safety Exam) items in both the Core and the Certifying exams, your certificate will indicate “AU-eligible.”

How long do I have to pass the Certifying Exam?

You will have six years from the end of your training to successfully complete the initial certification process (pass both the Core and Certifying exams) and describe yourself as “board eligible.” After that, you must take an additional year of training in a department with ACGME or RCPSC (Canadian) accreditation before re-entering the certification process.
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