Board Certification: Part 1

In three days I will be in the middle of the first part of the ABOMR examination.  It allows me to become a board certified (as opposed to just certified) oral and maxillofacial radiologist.  To become board certified, the examination is really split into two parts.  First part is the written examination, which covers radiation physics, techniques and radiobiology.  The second part is the diagnostic part which is a written and oral examination.  The exams are administered during the yearly academy meetings and so they are generally one year apart.  For the people who are in a two year residency… they have to wait a full year before actually becoming board certified.  For the people involved in a three year residency, I believe they graduate a few months before doing the second part.

I have been studying in preparation for the first part and to be honest I cannot wait to be done with it.  It is a very stressful exam considering that most people will have to fly, book a hotel, rent a car, etc… in order to be able to sit for the exam.  This studying is definitely starting to get to me, I was always one of those people that didn’t study.  Oddly enough, I have also managed to find every single possible way to procrastinate, for example, writing this post.  I guess all exams go this way.  All I know is I’m ready to be done.

I really only have one major complaint about this exam.  The cost of the exam when you add up flights and hotel generally runs about 2k and the absolutely inefficient way of administering it.  Seems very pricey considering most residents are just that… residents.  We are not exactly rolling in money.  Personally I would prefer to pay a little extra for the actual exam costs and be able to take the exam any time of the year in a local Prometrics center and forgo the travel expenses.  Much like most dental and specialty boards are administered.  If I fail, I can retake the examination whenever I feel ready to do so and I don’t have to worry about a trip.  Currently, it seems archaic for a specialty that is so technologically driven to administer it this way.


  1. How was Part 1 of the boards? Did you feel well prepared? Any advice on studying?

  2. I thought I was prepared but after walking out that feeling was completely gone. The radiation biology section was straight forward. The physics section I thought was incredibly hard. Right now all I can do is just sit and wait and see if I have to repeat next year.

  3. Even for those of us no longer residents it’s an expensive exam especially as my workplace picked up none of the bill.

  4. I don’t exactly remember but I think I paid somewhere around 600 for the exam itself. The expensive part is the flight and hotel associated with it. It is a written exam and really should be administered in a Prometrics computerized environment. I believe the other specialties do it this way as well. For such a technologically advanced field, I find it amazing that we are so far behind current technology.

  5. What do you suggest for a new international dentist aspiring to become Oral Radiologist. What kind of future is there in front of new residents in private practice?

  6. Private practice right now is still a toss up. You might be able to get a part time job but it isn’t looking great. Additionally if you’re a new international student I would recommend having a few years experience under your belt in general dentistry. It never hurts to apply; however it may be difficult to get in.

  7. hi i want to thank you for this nice blog and i have Q:

    1-if i want work as omfr in hostpital as consultin tmj problem , maxilla and mandeble fracture or any kind problem in maxilla and mandible who has Preference me or genral radiolgist ?

  8. As far as I know there are no OMFRs currently in hospitals. Generally speaking TMJ issues fall within the scope of dental related disorders and so dentists tend to handle these.

  9. Hi I am an international dentist looking for oral and maxillofacial radiology program residency.First of all I really appreciate your effort to share your experience and a platform for students interested to pursue radiology.I have one year experience as a general dentist in my home country and observer-ship in few universities in usa.I cleared my nbde parts and toefl but I do not have any kind of research experience,will that affect my application.I came to know about Oral Radiology residency this month,So I have only one program to apply.I finished my application process but I do not have any clue about the interview process and the time frame generally the interviews are held for this residency.Please share any information on University of North Carolina Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology program.

  10. That’s really a question to ask the residency itself. I had no research experience but my work experience helped me along. Some residencies care some don’t. I suggest that you apply to more than one. It is getting tough out there.

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