Destination CRA

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By Donna R. Morris, CRA, BS, R.T. (R) (MR)

When making the decision to travel, there is a fair amount of planning involved. One must consider where you want to go and the various key steps to reach the desired destination. Earning the Certified Radiology Administrator (CRA) credential is no different. Mapping out the journey will certainly help you to navigate the path successfully.

Step 1 – Set the destination and know why you want to get there

The Certified Radiology Administrator (CRA) credential was developed to validate the advanced level skills specifically required of an imaging leader. The first Certified Radiology Administrator Examination was held in New Orleans, LA in July 2002. Since then, over 1,100 CRA’s have earned this distinctive certification.

CRA’s are a community of imaging leaders who conduct themselves in a professional and ethical manner, exhibit a commitment to the profession, and lead their team by initiating strategies to maintain compliance with our every changing industry.

Step 2 – Pack your suitcase with the tools and supplies you need for the trip

Review the eligibility requirements for the CRA examination. The eligibility requirements are on a point system based on experience, education and credentials required of an imaging leader.

The CRA examination consists of 185 questions across the 5 domains of Human Resource Management, Asset Resource Management, Fiscal Management, Operations Management, and Communication and Information Management.

Conduct an inventory of what tools and skills you currently possess and what you may need to acquire while you pack. Both the AHRA Online Institute and the CRA website offer CRA practice tests, textbooks, and a whole host of webinars, articles, and other resources to help you sharpen and advance your skills.

Step 3 – Map the journey, grab your compass and set out on the trail

This is like going to the gym, the hardest part is walking in the door. Like any other trip that you have taken, remember that beautiful vista, sunrise, or sunset you enjoyed when you finally arrived that made all the preparation worthwhile? Andrew Carnegie said, “Anything in life worth having is worth working for” and I promise you a well planned trip toward earning the CRA is worth the effort.

Get that trip on the books by selecting your test date, completing the CRA application, and submitting your fee so you may arrive on time. It’s your ticket to get on board.

The 2020 schedule is:

Spring 2020 CRA Exam

  • Application Deadline: Monday, March 9, 2020
  • Exam Date: Choice of dates between May 1-31, 2020
  • Location: Choice of computer testing centers across the US
  • Time: 4 hour time blocks, options vary by site

Fall 2020 CRA Exam

  • Application Deadline: Monday, September 7, 2020
  • Exam Date: Choice of dates between November 1-30, 2020
  • Location: Choice of computer testing centers across the US
  • Time: 4 hour time blocks, options vary by site

Guess what?  You have planned the trip, set your itinerary, purchased your ticket, and the time has arrived to get going. If you need directions along the way, please do not hesitate to ask.

Step 4 – The trip is over, what’s next?

Once you have completed the journey and earned your CRA, talk to your Human Resources department about the value of the CRA, what it means to you and the organization, and ask them to consider including “CRA preferred” on the imaging leadership job descriptions.

As with any great adventure, share what you learned and experienced with someone who may be considering the CRA. They will surely benefit from the advice and encouragement.

Good Luck!


Donna R. Morris, CRA, BS, R.T. (R) (MR) is the Administrative Director of Hospital Imaging Services at Mary Washington Healthcare in Fredericksburg, VA. She can be reached at donna.morris@mwhc.com.

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