The CRA Challenge!

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Curt Bush

By Curtis R. Bush, FACHE, MBA, CRA

When I took the Certified Radiology Administrator® (CRA) exam in 2012, it was a personal challenge to see if I knew what I thought I knew about radiology administration. Up to this point, I had always worked at smaller hospitals; and did not have a “radiology specific” mentor. My positions had typically reported to either the CEO or the COO and the value they placed on the CRA was very low, since they knew little about the certification or the AHRA. To be honest, at that point in my career, I wasn’t what you would call an “active” member of the association. I was a member at best, and had only been to one annual conference.

At the end of May 2012, when I went into the testing site on the Southern Methodist University (SMU) campus in Dallas, I didn’t know what to expect. I’d been a radiology director for nearly eleven years, and it seemed I should, by now, have the necessary knowledge base to pass the exam. As I submitted the last answer, I remember looking at the screen trying to determine whether I had passed or not. My brain was so exhausted that I didn’t even see the giant “congratulations” on the top of the screen, because I was trying to interpret the fine print. Regardless, it was one of the most challenging, if not the most challenging test I had ever taken.

I share this story because on that day, I proved to myself that I had learned and understood many key concepts and skills along my journey and now had validated my knowledge of radiology administration. One thing that still amazes me is there are many high level imaging leaders who support the CRA exam and certification for their subordinates, yet have not taken the exam themselves. Something we, as RACC commissioners, hear consistently from CRAs is: “what can we do to get the credential more recognition?” To that I would say, challenge and encourage your peers to become Certified Radiology Administrators. Who can become the first hospital, division, region, or system to have all their leaders as Certified Radiology Administrators?

To all those imaging leaders out there that do not think the CRA will add value to what you have already accomplished in your career, I would challenge you to take the exam. See where you are with your knowledge of Human Resources Management, Financial Management, Asset Management, Communication and Information Systems, and Operations Management. These are the key areas that administrators and their subordinates are expected to understand in order to become highly effective leaders. I think you’ll find there are areas of growth for all of us, and we can all become better, more effective leaders.

After all, that is what leadership is all about, isn’t it?  Mentoring future leaders to become better than what we were. So lead by example, become a CRA and then promote and support it for others. We are all in this together, and together we can raise the importance of having Certified Radiology Administrator’s lead healthcare to the next level.

Curtis R. Bush, FACHE, MBA, CRA is the director of diagnostic and therapeutic imaging services at CHI Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center in Houston, TX. He can be reached at



  1. If you are considering taking the exam, but money is a concern, there is an Education Foundation scholarship available, The Kathryn Keeler Memorial Scholarship. Check the website for more details.

  2. Excellent article Curt, thanks for your amazing support and work to elevate our profession!

  3. Great article! I challenge all imaging leaders who have not yet taken the CRA exam to do so. It is so rewarding to get that affirmation that we have mastered the key domains!

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