Subspecialties for Diagnostic Radiology

16-Month Pathway

to Specialty Certification in Diagnostic Radiology and Subspecialty Certification in Nuclear Radiology

Last verified on December 16, 2023


  • Candidates seeking to apply via the 16-month pathway must submit the application and Sponsoring Department Agreement (SDA) for ABR review at least six months before residency training completion.
  • A resident who has a total of 16 months of experience in nuclear radiology/nuclear medicine during the 48-month diagnostic radiology residency may qualify for the ABR’s subspecialty certificate in nuclear radiology.
  • To qualify for this pathway to subspecialty certification, all 16 months of experience must be in an ACGME- or RCPSC-accredited diagnostic radiology program; there is no requirement for a nuclear radiology fellowship or nuclear medicine residency program at the same institution.
  • The 16 months may be completed at any time during the diagnostic radiology residency training; there is no requirement for consecutive months.
  • Four (4) months of nuclear radiology/nuclear medicine are required of every resident in a DR program, and all four months count toward the 16 months of experience. Eight (8) additional months of dedicated nuclear radiology/nuclear medicine add up to 12 months.
  • At the discretion of the diagnostic radiology program director, up to four (4) of the remaining months of training may be in a field related to nuclear radiology (NR), nuclear medicine (NM), and/or molecular imaging (MI). Examples of related fields include but are not limited to: abdominal/cardiovascular/musculoskeletal/thoracic radiology, head and neck/neuroradiology, interventional radiology, non-isotopic molecular imaging, and oncologic imaging. Alternatively, one or more of these four (4) months may be spent in dedicated nuclear radiology/nuclear medicine experiences.
  • Up to two (2) months of nuclear radiology/nuclear medicine clinical experience before the DR residency (e.g., PGY-1 clinical year or other residency training) may count toward the 16 months of experience if performed at an institution with an ACGME- or RCPSC-accredited DR program; this training must be accepted by the diagnostic radiology program director.

NR/NM/MI-related Rotations

  • If the proposed rotation has substantial correlative exposure to NR/NM/MI content, it will likely be approved. For example, head and neck imaging generally includes a considerable number of head and neck cancer cases with relevant PET/CT and even SPECT/CT components.
  • Other such diagnostic rotations could include abdominal, cardiovascular, musculoskeletal, thoracic, neuroradiology, non-isotopic MI, and oncologic imaging, as well as vascular and interventional radiology (e.g., 90Y microspheres).
  • The training must include clinical experience with integrated SPECT/CT and PET/CT systems; if a program has an integrated PET/MR system, one or more rotations on that service would qualify.
  • The 16 months of training must comply with all NRC requirements in §35.390 Training for use of unsealed byproduct material for which a written directive is required, including but not limited to: a minimum of 200 hours of classroom and laboratory training applicable to the medical use of unsealed byproduct material requiring a written directive. Work experience must include, at a minimum: 10 cases of oral 131I NaI less than or equal to 33 mCi; five (5) cases of oral 131I NaI greater than 33 mCi; and five (5) cases of parenteral therapies.
  • The nuclear radiology trustee, assisted by a group of nuclear radiology advisors, will evaluate the proposed training plan and make a determination.


Approved candidates follow the same exam schedule as candidates for the standard pathway in diagnostic radiology and for the subspecialty in nuclear radiology.

Recognition of Successful Candidates

Successful candidates are awarded a continuous ABR specialty certificate in diagnostic radiology and a continuous ABR subspecialty certificate in nuclear radiology.

Board Eligibility

  • For diagnostic radiology, see Board Eligibility Policy for details.
  • For nuclear radiology subspecialty, diplomates who successfully completed their training before 2019 will have 10 calendar years or until December 31, 2024, whichever comes first, to obtain certification. Those who complete their training in 2019 or later will have six calendar years.
The application form is located here.
The Sponsoring Department Agreement (SDA) form will require the signature of the program director and the nuclear radiology/nuclear medicine preceptor. Click here for the form.