Initial Certification for Interventional Radiology

Initial Certification

Last verified on December 18, 2023
This interventional radiology section contains information intended only for candidates in an IR residency program. Candidates who have completed a diagnostic radiology residency and a vascular and interventional fellowship, 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.
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 Qualifying (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 16 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. Beginning with the residency class graduating in June 2024, candidates will be required to wait until the calendar year following completion of training to take the oral component.
Radioisotope Safety Content (RISC) is integrated into the Qualifying (Core) Exam and the Essentials Module of the IR/DR Certifying Exam. Candidates who have submitted the appropriate documentation, receive a passing score on the RISC, and achieve certification by 12/31/2023 will be given the Authorized User-Eligible (AU-E) designation on their certificate. The RISC result will not affect the pass results for the Qualifying (Core) Exam or the IR/DR Computer-based Certifying Exam.
Please see the Interventional Radiology Calendar for future exam dates.  

Recognition and Continuing Certification (MOC)

Recognition of Successful Candidates

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

Continuing Certification (MOC)

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

SIR ECS Questions with ABR Responses

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?
All candidates seeking IR/DR certification must submit an application.
  1. Where can I find information about how to submit my application for an IR/DR certificate?
  1. What is exam registration?
Exam 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 exam registration process.
  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 or 520-790-2900.
  1. What if I missed the exam registration date?
Contact an ABR certification manager at or 520-790-2900.

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?
Exam events run for one to 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)?
Comprehensive exam guides, which are emailed to candidates well in advance of their exam days, can help prepare candidates for the remote oral and computer-based exam experiences. Included in the guides is important information such as where exams may be taken, computer requirements, and what is and is not allowed on exam day.
  1. What if my computer is on hospital network and encrypted?
An Exam Readiness Check and Sample Questions will be available for the computer-based exam once you have registered. The Exam Readiness 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 verification 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.