Initial Certification for Radiation Oncology

Certification Requirements

Last verified on July 28, 2017
  1. Complete one year of clinical training (PGY 1)
  • Clinical training, accredited by the Accreditation Council on Graduate Medical Education (ACGME), the American Osteopathic Association (AOA), or the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (RCPSC)
  • Training in any combination of these disciplines:
    • Internal medicine
    • Pediatrics
    • Surgery or surgical specialties
    • Obstetrics and gynecology
    • Family practice
    • Transitional or categorical radiation oncology
  • Specialties other than those listed, including pathology and psychiatry, do not satisfy the ABR’s PGY 1 requirement.
  1. Complete an ACGME- or RCPSC-accredited radiation oncology residency (PGY 2 – 5)
  • Four years of approved training in radiation oncology
    • In a department approved for training in radiation oncology by the radiation oncology Residency Review Committee (RRC) of the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME), or by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (RCPSC)
    • 36 months of clinical radiation oncology with exposure to pathology and medical oncology
    • No more than six months in elective rotations outside the parent institution, as defined in the program requirements of the RRC
  1. Pass the computer-based Qualifying Exam
  2. Pass the oral Certifying Exam
  3. Provide proof of valid state or provincial medical license
  4. Demonstrate high moral and ethical principles  
    The American Board of Radiology expects candidates for initial certification to uphold fundamental moral and ethical principles.

Other Important Information 

Residency Transfers

Candidates are expected to remain in the same radiation oncology training program for the duration of the training. If a candidate desires to or must transfer:
  • the program director or chair of the initial program must verify that the candidate has satisfactorily completed the portions of the training that were undertaken in that program, and
  • this training must be accepted by the program director of the new program.
If the candidate’s initial program director states that he or she has not successfully completed training, or is unwilling to attest to that completion, an alternative attestation may have the signatures of two other faculty members from the same program, supporting the satisfactory completion. 

Authorized User (AU)-eligible Status

To obtain the required Authorized User (AU)-eligible status, candidates must fulfill the U.S. requirements established by NRC. For clarification regarding ACGME and NRC requirements for brachytherapy case mix requirements and numbers, see Policy Regarding Brachytherapy Requirements

Leaves of Absence

Leaves of absence and vacation may be granted to residents at the discretion of the program director in accordance with local rules. Depending on the length of absence granted by your program, the required period of graduate medical education may be extended accordingly. Residency program directors and their institutional GME offices determine the need for extension of residency training. Therefore, it is not up to the ABR to determine graduation dates for individual residents.

Failure to Qualify

If a candidate’s program director fails to indicate in writing that he or she has the required training and will have achieved adequate professional qualifications before the exam, documentation of the reason(s) must be submitted along with evidence that the candidate has been appropriately apprised of these deficiencies. (See the ABR’s Appeals Policy.)

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