What are the exams & which one is right for me?
- Presently there are three certifications (each with their own exam): MR Medical Director / Physician (MRMD), MR Safety Officer (MRSO), and MR Safety Expert (MRSE).
- The MRMD certification is designed for physicians, such as radiologists, who have responsibility for the safe administration of MR exams.
- The MRSO certification is designed for those with a supervisory MRI safety role at the point of care. While not exclusive to technologists, this role is most frequently be filled by an MR technologist.
- The MRSE certification is designed for those in an expert, technical consulting role who may help determine the safety of complex conditions. While not exclusive to MR medical physicists, this role is most frequently filled by a medical physicist.
What are the prerequisites for sitting for one of the certifying exams?
- The only certification that presently has a prerequisite is the MRMD. Candidates must be a licensed physician to sit for the MRMD exam. Anyone may sit for either the MRSO or MRSE exams.
What are the recommended study materials for those who want to take one of the exams?
The exam will be composed of 100 multiple choice, True False and Multi-Answer questions, based on seven different subject matter ‘domains’:
- Static Magnetic Fields
- Gradient Magnetic Fields (Time-Varying)
- Radio frequency Fields
- Gadolinium / Pregnancy
- Facilities / Cryogens
- Standards / Regulatory
- Clinical Applications
Please note that the ABMRS cannot endorse any specific study materials but there are a number of learning resources that they can, and do, recommend that those preparing for any of their exams should be familiar with. The following is suggested:
- The exam syllabus on the ABMRS website https://abmrs.org/examination-content-syllabus/.
- The ACR Guidance Statement on MR Safe Practices: https://www.acr.org/Clinical-Resources/Radiology-Safety/MR-Safety
- MRI scanner operator manuals. Start with your system manual, particularly the safety chapter. If you have the opportunity to read the corresponding chapter from the operators’ manual of a different MR manufacturer, this is recommended too. Different MR manufacturers portray the same information in different ways, so it’s best to make sure that you’re equally comfortable with the ‘Siemens method’ as the ‘GE method’ and the ‘Philips’ or ‘Toshiba / Canon’, or ‘Hitachi method’ of depicting:
o static field
o magnetic spatial gradient
o RF power distribution
o transmit vs. receive RF elements
o time-varying gradient power
o slew rates
- familiarise yourself with the limits for normal mode, and first level controlled operating mode.
- They also recommend that candidates for the exams be comfortable with the international best practices as represented in the ACR Guidance Document on MR Safe Practices: https://www.acr.org/Clinical-Res…/Radiology-Safety/MR-Safety and the Gadolinium Based Contrast Agents (GBCA) section of the ACR Contrast Manual: https://www.acr.org/Quality-Safety/Resources/Contrast-Manual.
- For more varied reading and to get the information in a different slant you could also read other international material which the exams have previously been based on, such as the RANZCR MRI Safety Guidelines: https://www.ranzcr.com/docum…/512-mri-safety-guidelines/file or the Australia TGA information on Gadolinium-based contrast agents: https://www.tga.gov.au/alert/gadolinium-based-contrast-agents-mri-scans
- In addition to the above resources, there are no shortage of commercial training materials and options for advanced MRI knowledge. As stated above, the ABMRS cannot offer any recommendations on any of these commercial alternatives but you can get the feedback of others who have sat for exams in some of the MRI safety communities, such as: https://www.facebook.com/groups/MRIsafety/. As no previous exams are available to see or share, or even exam-type questions, you could try asking about the exams and see what comes back, then feel free to share it with me and I will pass on to everyone who is sitting these exams
Most importantly, people should expect to study for this exam. Any preceding course or seminar should not be considered to be adequate preparation for the exam, i.e. it’s not enough to undertake Kanal’s course alone in order to pass the exam. By attending Dr. Kanal’s course, that will definitely reinforce the learning but please study prior, as the exam is broad ranging and cramming the night before won’t be enough to pass. I have given you more reading material than is strictly necessary but I think that the more variety of resources, covering similar content, can only help us all to pass.
When / where are the exams offered?
- Information on scheduled exam dates and locations is available on the ABMRS website (http://www.abmrs.org/?page_id=38).
Are people required to take a test prep course before taking an exam?
- The ABMRS does not require participation in any test preparation course prior to sitting for the exam. The ABMRS has not developed, nor endorsed, any MRMD / MRSO / MRSE training or exam-preparation courses.
- Each of the ABMRS’ exams are completely independent of any third party courses or texts that may be offered. As of this writing, there are no pre-requisites to register or sit for any ABMRS examination (except that the MRMD/Physician examination is only offered to licensed physicians). Specifically, one may register and sit for an ABMRS exam without having participated in any course.
What is the format of the exams?
- Presently, all exams are only administered at an in-person, proctored setting. The exams are pre-printed exam question booklet, and answer sheet. Similar to exams you may have completed in school, the answer sheet is comprised of circles and the candidate is to fully fill the circle(s) that represent the correct answer(s) for each question. The exam period is three hours.
- The exams are comprised of a variety of question formats, including true-false, matching, select the best answer multiple choice, and select all correct answers multiple choice.
- The ABMRS, through our exam administration partner, MRTCA, is developing an electronic version of the certifying exams, which will be made available in the future.
What is the minimum score to pass one of the certifying exams?
- Each individual exam is made up of questions selected from the question bank, reviewed for structural difficulty, and then ’scored’ by a panel of experts. Therefore, each exam has a unique threshold for passing based on the difficulty of the questions included. An exam that was comprised of less challenging questions would have a higher minimum score than and exam that was comprised of more challenging questions. The result is that there is a different threshold for passing for each administration of each exam.
For how long is the ABMRS certification valid?
- MR Safety Certified™ (MRSC™) certifications for MRMD, MRSO, and MRSE are valid for a period of 10 years from the date of successful examination.
If I pass the exam, when / how will I find out?
- As a part of your exam registration, you will provide an email address for correspondence. Within three weeks following the exam, you will receive an email with instructions on how to log-in to the ABMRS’ credential verification system. You will be able to look up your name, to see if you are registered with the ABMRS (meaning that you passed the exam), and for which credential(s). A printed certificate for your MRSC™ credential will be sent out to the postal address you provide in the weeks following the email notification.
Are there CE requirements for maintenance of any credentials?
- At the present time, MRSC™ diplomats are not required to record continuing education (CE) hours for the maintenance of their MRSC™ credential. It is expected, however, that diplomats will avail themselves of continuing education opportunities to remain current with MR safety best practices.
Are there recurring annual dues / fees?
- The only fee presently associated with the ABMRS is the examination fee. If you pass one of the MRSC™ examinations, your exam fee covers all costs associated with your credential for the period of its validity.
What is the proper way to display an earned ABMRS credential?
- The position names and acronyms for MR Medical Director / Physician (MRMD), MR Safety Officer (MRSO), and MR Safety Expert (MRSE) are defined by international convention, and ABMRS does not control the usage of these titles. To designate yourself as an ABMRS-credentialed MR Medical Director / Physician, for example, you would add MRMD with the modifier (MRSC™) to indicate that you are MR Safety Certified™ by the ABMRS for that role. Below are examples of how the credentials might appear (minus any other credentials, educational or honorific titles).Jayne Cobb, MRSO (MRSC™) Malcolm Reynolds, MRSE (MRSC™) Kaylee Frye, MRMD (MRSC™)
- An individual may seek more than one MRSC™ credential for which she/he is eligible. In the event that an individual has two (or more) valid MRSC™ credentials, they are to be listed individually, as illustrated below:Zoe Washburne, MRSO (MRSC™), MRSE (MRSC™)
- At the end of the 10 year period from successful completion of an MRSC™ certifying exam, the individual must successfully repeat the examination process or cease using the elapsed credential.
If I don’t pass, how long do I have to wait to retake the test?
- There is no ‘waiting period’ between examination attempts. Because the exams are only administered in in-person, proctored settings, it may be a number of months before the next exam is offered, but any candidate who does not pass an exam is invited to re-take the exam at any subsequent opportunity.