By Daniel A. Neal CRA, CNMT, RT(R)(MR)(BD)
I initially found out about the possibility of becoming a Certified Radiology Administrator (CRA) from a co-worker of mine. At the time I wasn’t sure where I wanted my path in the imaging field to lead me, but I kept the CRA credential in my mind while I was working on finishing up graduate school. Once I was finished with school, I was ready for the challenge of the exam… until I realized how much the exam would cost. Having a modest military paycheck coupled with being the sole source of income for my family left me unable to pay for the exam at the time I wanted to take it. I decided to save up the money and take the test the following year when I could afford it.
I clearly remember being frustrated that I was going to have to put off taking the exam, but, fortuitously, the next week I found out about the CRA exam scholarship. I applied for the scholarship and then about three weeks later I was pleasantly surprised to receive a call from the AHRA Education Foundation letting me know that I had been selected as a CRA exam scholarship recipient. I was then able to take the exam right away as previously planned. I know if I hadn’t received the scholarship I still would have eventually taken the exam, but thanks to the AHRA Education Foundation I didn’t have to put off my goal of becoming a CRA. I would highly recommend anyone considering taking the CRA exam to apply for a scholarship, especially if you are in same predicament that I was in, hoping to change the acronym CRA from “Can’t Really Afford” into “Certified Radiology Administrator.”
The application process for the scholarship and CRA exam was simple and straight forward, and before I knew it I was preparing for and taking the exam. There are plenty of references and resources available through AHRA to help prepare you for the exam. For my preparation I utilized a combination of the professional development series textbooks as well as the Virtual CRA Exam Workshop. The textbooks helped me to reinforce what I learned during the virtual workshop, and then I applied this knowledge and tracked my progress through the use of online practice exams. After a few months of preparation I was ready to take the exam and was rewarded for my efforts by becoming a CRA.
Since becoming a CRA I have been working diligently to encourage my friends, peers, and co-workers to become members of AHRA and earn their CRA as well. There is only a small percentage of military imaging professionals that have the CRA credential, but I believe that earning it is well worth the time and investment. Once I retire from the military I will be able to fully utilize my potential as a CRA, but for the time being I am still utilizing it to make a positive impact in my organization. The exam was challenging but not impossible. If you’re still on the fence about it, take it from me: become a Certified Radiology Administrator, it’s worth it!
Daniel A. Neal CRA, CNMT, RT(R)(MR)(BD) is the NCOIC nuclear medicine services at Fort Belvoir Community Hospital in Fort Belvoir, VA. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.