Initial Certification for Diagnostic Radiology

Residency Leave Policy

Last verified on June 30, 2021



Residency Leave Policy

Training requirement for Initial Certification

The standard training requirement for Initial Certification is successful completion of a residency accredited by the ACGME or RCPSC (Radiation Oncology, Diagnostic Radiology, and Interventional Radiology) or CAMPEP (Medical Physics). 

The ABR recognizes that personal wellness and family needs are important considerations during residency and supports residency training that allows for adequate vacation in addition to other leave, including parental, caregiver, and medical leave.

Beginning with the  2021-2022 academic year, residents will be considered eligible for Initial Certification without an extension of training with “Time Off” that does not exceed an average of eight weeks (40 workdays) per academic year over the duration of the residency.

The maximal Time Off defined by this policy is meant to apply to exceptional circumstances. This policy is not intended to define the typical Time Off that a resident should expect, nor the typical Time Off that a program should provide. Successful completion of residency training and achieving clinical competency will, in many cases, require more training time during residency with or without adjunct efforts at the discretion of the PD. Completion of the training period is a necessary but not sufficient element to establish competency.

A resident with “Time Off” that exceeds an average of eight weeks (40 workdays) per training year will require an extension of training beyond the planned graduation date to be considered eligible for Initial Certification. The length of such extension will be determined by the Program Director (PD) but, at a minimum, must equal the excess number of workdays missed during the training period.

Eligibility for Initial Certification requires the program director (PD) to attest to successful completion of the residency and competency. Irrespective of Time Off, PD should extend the length of training if a resident has not achieved competency.

Residents who began training prior to 2021 may apply to the ABR, with the approval of their PD, for an exemption to this new policy. Circumstances warranting such exceptions are expected to be uncommon.

The following are considered Time Off:

  1. Vacation
  2. Bereavement leave
  3. Interview days away from the institution
  4. Parental leave
  5. Caregiver leave
  6. Medical leave (sick time)
  7. Other leave as determined by the PD

The following are considered part of the residency (rather than Time Off):

  1. Research activities approved as part of the residency by the PD
  2. Attendance at a scientific or educational meeting in, or related to, the specialty
  3. Days linked to “off hours” work (for example, a Monday off following a weekend call)
  4. Workdays performed off site, including those resulting from a pandemic, natural disaster, etc.


Initial Certification via the training pathway requires passing requisite exams as well as successfully completing an accredited residency.

Residency PDs will need to attest to both successful completion of training and competency to allow applicants to sit for Initial Certification exams.

The ABR does not define how much time can or should be permitted by the program or institution; instead, this policy is intended to delineate Time Off limits only as those limits define satisfactory completion of the residency in relation to board eligibility.

This ABR policy does not supersede local policy with regard to the amount of leave time provided, which in many cases may be more limited than our policy allows.

Leaves of absence and vacations may be granted to residents at the discretion of the PD in accordance with their institution’s rules.

Residency PDs and their institutional GME offices have the discretion to extend residency training as needed to allow adequate determination of competency (and attest to “successful completion”) for an individual trainee.

Per ABMS guidance, this policy applies to training programs of two or more years. 

For more information on the development of the Residency Leave Policy, please see the resources listed below.



More Information


June 9

ABR Residency Leave Policy: How We Got Here


April 26

ABR Family Leave Policy: An Opportunity for Progress in Radiology

April 12

Stakeholders Support Increase in Residency Leave Time

March 20

ABR Looking for Feedback on Residency Service Time Requirement


April 9

Residency Leave Policy Webinar