Initial Certification for Interventional Radiology

Initial Certification

Last verified on February 26, 2021
This Interventional Radiology Section contains information intended only for candidates in an IR residency program. Candidates who have completed a diagnostic radiology residency and are a past, current, or future vascular and interventional fellow, please refer to the Vascular and Interventional Radiology section for information about the requirements for that pathway.
  

Interventional Radiology Training Pathways

  

Interventional Radiology Residencies

There are two IR residency formats:

The Integrated IR Residency

This residency consists of one clinical year, followed by five years of an ACGME-accredited integrated IR residency. The Integrated IR Residency includes:
  • three years of diagnostic radiology training (same as for a standard DR residency), which should include some months of IR training;
  • two years of interventional radiology training;
  • training in critical care medicine; and
  • training in periprocedural care and inpatient admitting service—admitting patients and caring for them before, during, and after IR procedures.
Those who have begun DR training may have the opportunity to transfer into an Integrated IR residency at their own institution to seek initial certification in IR/DR.

The Independent IR Residency

This residency will be two years and will be entered after the candidate has satisfactorily completed a DR residency. Independent IR residencies will not begin until July 1, 2020.
Some candidates who are residents in DR programs approved by the ACGME Residency Review Committee (RRC) to provide Early Specialization in IR (ESIR), and who have completed the prerequisites, will be able to enter the second year of the Independent IR Residency program following their DR residencies.   

The Exams

The Core Exam, offered after 36 months of residency training, is the same exam taken by candidates for certification in diagnostic radiology. It is image rich and computer based; it covers 18 subspecialty and modality categories. Candidates must pass overall and in physics to receive a passing result.
The Certifying Exam consists of an oral component and a computer-based component. Candidates taking this exam who are already certified in diagnostic radiology will only be required to take the oral component. Those who are not certified in diagnostic radiology will take the oral component in addition to the computer-based component, which includes one Essentials of Diagnostic Radiology module and one Interventional module.
Content for the Radioisotope Safety Exam (RISE) is integrated into the Core Exam and the Essentials Module of the IR/DR Certifying Exam. The ABR has submitted a request to the NRC for AU-eligibility (AU-E) designation for the IR/DR certificate, and more information is forthcoming. The RISE result will not affect the pass results for the Core Exam or the IR/DR Certifying Exam.
 

Recognition and MOC

Recognition of Successful Candidates

Successful ABR candidates are awarded a continuous ABR specialty certificate in interventional/diagnostic radiology.

Maintenance of Certification

Continuous certification in interventional/diagnostic radiology is contingent upon meeting the requirements of the ABR’s Maintenance of Certification (MOC) program. For MOC program details, please see the interventional radiology MOC page.
Questions related to any board certification issues can be addressed to information@theabr.org, or by calling (520) 790-2900.
  

SIR ECS Questions and Scenarios with ABR Responses: 12/31/2020

Certification Application and Exam Registration

  1. What is a certification application?
An application is a request from a candidate seeking initial certification in IR/DR.
  1. Who needs to submit a certification application?
Only candidates completing a VIR fellowship need to submit an application. Candidates completing an Integrated or Independent IR residency do not need to apply. However, they do need to register for an exam when they become eligible to take one.
  1. When do I submit my application for an IR/DR certificate?
You can submit an application as soon as November 1 of the year you complete your VIR fellowship. The application process begins on November 1 each year and ends on February 28. Please visit the ABR website for additional information regarding the application process and requirements. You only need to submit one application for an IR/DR certificate.
  1. What documentation is required to submit the certification application?
Please visit the requirements and application process page for additional information about required documentation.
  1. What is exam registration?
Registration is the process for securing a date and time for a specific exam administration.
  1. Who needs to complete exam registration?
All candidates who wish to take a specific exam must complete the registration process.
  1. What is required to register for an exam?
Please refer to the IR exam calendar for details on exam and registration dates. If you have not applied, you need to complete the certification application process, which begins on November 1 and ends on February 28.
  1. When does exam registration open?
Please refer to the IR exam calendar for details on exam dates and corresponding registration dates.
  1. How long is exam registration open?
Registration is generally open for about six weeks. Please remember, you must submit an application and that application must be approved before you can register for an exam.
  1. What should I do if I do not receive an email for exam registration?
Contact an ABR certification manager at information@theabr.org or (520) 790-2900.
  1. What if I missed the exam registration date?
Contact an ABR certification manager at information@theabr.org or (520) 790-2900.
  1. When is the last exam registration date?
There is a defined registration period for each exam. Please refer to the IR exam calendar for details on exam dates and corresponding registration dates.

Exam Logistics: Planning for Days Off to Take the Exam

  1. At this time, which exam dates are planned to be in-person and which are planned to be remote?
There are no planned in-person exams at this time. All exams are planned for remote delivery. Please refer to the IR exam calendar for details on exam dates and corresponding registration dates.
  1. For the computer-based certifying exam, how long is the exam, and at what time of day will it be held?
Information about the exam day schedule is located on the exam breakdown and timing page of the ABR website.
  1. How long is my IR/DR Certifying Oral Exam?
The entire exam event runs for three days. However, an individual’s exam event is about three hours on a single day. Details about the oral exam schedule are located on the exam breakdown and timing page of the ABR website.
  1. What time of day is the IR/DR Certifying Oral Exam, and what time on the last day will it be completed?
There are two exam sessions each day. The first daily session begins at 10 am Eastern and the second begins at 1:10 pm Eastern. The last exam period ends at 4:10 pm Eastern each day.
  1. Is there any other specific information regarding the testing format itself for the remote delivery (i.e., proctoring, location to take exam, number of monitors, screen resolution, computer operating system needed for exam)?
The Remote Exam Basics guide can help prepare candidates for the new oral and computer-based exam experiences. Included in the guide is important information such as where exams may be taken, computer requirements, and what is and is not allowed on exam day. To complement the Remote Exam Basics guide, a comprehensive exam guide will be emailed to candidates well in advance of their exam days.
  1. What if my computer is on hospital network and encrypted?
A practice exam and technical self-check will be available for the computer-based exam once you have registered. The practice exam and technical self-check will allow you to test the computer and location you would like to use for the computer-based component of the exam to ensure it works as you desire. You will complete an additional computer technical check with an ABR navigator several weeks prior to your oral exam as well.
  1. What if I fail the exam?
Candidates who do not pass the exam may retake it at the next available administration as long as they remain board eligible. More details about board eligibility can be found here.

Scenario 1

Graduated traditional VIR fellowship in June 2019.
Planned to forgo taking the DR Certifying Exam in October 2019 and instead take the IR/DR Certifying Exam computer-based and oral components in October 2020.
COVID prevented taking the exam:
  1. Do I take the IR/DR Certifying exam (computer-based and oral) separately?
Yes. Regardless of the specific scenario, beginning in 2021 the IR/DR Certifying Exam computer-based and oral components are delivered at different times. Please refer to the IR exam calendar for details on exam and registration dates.
  1. Would I be taking the IR/DR Certifying Computer-based Exam on April 5, 2021?
Yes. You are eligible for that exam but must submit an application prior to taking it. If you have already applied, you do not need to reapply, but you do need to register when registration opens in January 2021. If you have not applied, you need to complete the exam application process, which Please visit the ABR website for additional information regarding the requirements and application process. You only need to submit one application for both components (computer-based and oral) of the IR/DR Certifying Exam.
  1. Would I be taking the IR/DR Certifying Oral Exam on May 12-14, 2021?
Yes. You are eligible for that exam but must submit an application prior to taking it. If you have already applied, you do not need to reapply, but you do need to register when registration opens in January 2021. If you have not applied, then you need to complete the exam application process, visit the ABR website for additional information regarding the requirements and application process. You only need to submit one application for both components (computer-based and oral) of the IR/DR Certifying Exam.
  1. Do I have to register for each exam component (computer-based and oral) separately?
No. You will be able to register for both the computer-based and oral components of the IR/DR Certifying Exam at the same time.
  1. Do I need to redo the case logs (fellowship and practice logs) that I’ve already submitted?
No. If your initial application to take the IR/DR Certifying Exam was already approved, you do not need to redo your fellowship and practice logs.

Scenario 2

Graduated traditional VIR fellowship in June 2018.
Took the DR Certifying Exam in October 2018 and passed (now DR certified).
Took the IR/DR Certifying Oral Exam in October 2019 and failed.
COVID prevented retaking of the IR/DR Certifying Oral Exam in October 2020:
  1. Do I retake the IR/DR Oral Certifying Exam on May 12-14, 2021?
Yes. You are eligible to take the May IR/DR Certifying Oral Exam. You need to register in January when registration opens.
  1. Do I have to re-register for the IR/DR Certifying Oral Exam; I registered prior to COVID and was planning on taking it in October 2020?
Yes. You need to complete the registration process when it opens in January.
  1. Do I have to redo the case logs (fellowship and practice logs) that I’ve already submitted?
No. If your initial application to take the IR/DR Certifying Exam was approved, you do not need to redo your fellowship and practice logs.

Scenario 3

Graduated traditional VIR fellowship in June 2020.
Planned on taking the DR Certifying Exam in October 2020.
COVID prevented taking the exam:
  1. Can I take the DR Certifying Exam on April 5, 2021?
Yes. You are eligible for this exam and will receive an invitation to register for the exam in January. If you take and pass the DR Certifying Exam, you only need to take and pass the oral component of the IR/DR Certifying Exam to become IR/DR certified.
  1. Can I take the IR/DR Certifying Computer-based Exam on April 5, 2021?
No. Your first eligible exam would be the IR/DR Certifying Computer-based Exam on September 1, 2021, as you must have one year of practice experience before taking the IR/DR Certifying Exam. You need to complete the se visit the ABR website for additional information regarding the requirements and application process. You only need to submit one application for both components (computer-based and oral) of the IR/DR Certifying Exam.
  1. Can I take the IR/DR Certifying Oral Exam on May 12-14, 2021?
No. Your first eligible exam would be the IR/DR Certifying Oral Exam on October 17-20, 2021. You need to ease visit the ABR website for additional information regarding the requirements and application process. You only need to submit one application for both components (computer-based and oral) of the IR/DR Certifying Exam.
  1. Can I take the IR/DR Certifying Oral Exam on October 17-20, 2021?
Yes. You need to complete the exam application process, which started on November 1 and ends on February 28, 2021. Please visit the ABR website for additional information regarding the requirements and application process. You only need to submit one application for both components (computer-based and oral) of the IR/DR Certifying Exam.

Scenario 4

Graduated Integrated IR residency in June 2020.
Planned on taking the IR/DR Certifying Exam in October 2020.
COVID prevented taking the exam:
  1. Can I take the IR/DR Certifying Exam in April 2021 (computer-based component) and May 2021 (oral component)?
Yes. You were eligible for the October 2020 IR/DR Certifying Exam (computer-based and oral), but since that exam was canceled due to COVID, you are now eligible to take the IR/DR Certifying Computer-based Exam on April 5, 2021, and the IR/DR Certifying Oral Exam on May 12-14. You need to register in January when registration opens.