Radiology training in the Republic of Ireland

Last revised by Yusra Sheikh on 4 Nov 2019

Radiology training in the Republic of Ireland is organized under the auspices of the Faculty of Radiologists at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland. The duration of training is 5 years leading to a Certificate of Completion of Specialist Training which is a requirement for entry to the Specialist Division of the register of the Irish Medical Council.

Prerequisites and entry

A minimum of 2 years clinical experience (i.e. 1 year internship and 1 year residency in a clinical specialty) are required. However, due to the competitive nature of the programme, many successful candidates will have more clinical experience with completed membership or first part fellowship examinations or research degrees.

Allocation to training base hospitals is non-computer matched. Admission to the training programme is typically for 4 years initially. The Irish academic year starts in the second week of July and entry to the radiology training programme is once yearly.

Structure and content

The specialist trainee, called Specialist Registrar in Radiology (SpR), is based at an approved hospital for the majority of the first 4 years of training, with subspecialist rotations to other centers for pediatric radiology and neuroradiology.

The first year of training consists of first opportunities to learn and acquire radiology skills. In addition, there is a formal curriculum to encompass basic sciences, physics, radiological anatomy, radiological techniques, clinical skills and techniques and radiography. This is supported by twice weekly lectures, tutorials and workshops. Part I of the fellowship examination (see below) takes place towards the end of the first year.

During  years 2, 3 and 4 of training, SpRs receive structured training in all the constituent subspecialties of clinical radiology.

In year 4, part II of the fellowship examination (see below) takes place and has recently changed (in 2018) from one final exam into two examinations (part A and part B) similar to the UK part II exam.

Year 5 is an elective subspecialist year ("advanced training") where SpRs can choose a particular area of interest. SpRs either stay in Ireland or spend their 5th year of training overseas, traditionally in North America but increasingly in the UK, Australia or continental Europe.

On completion of 5 years of training, whether all or 4 out of 5 years were spent in Ireland, SpRs are awarded a Certificate of Completion of Specialist Training, and can work as specialists in radiology. Completion of radiology training in Ireland entitles candidates to direct entry to specialist divisions of medical practitioner registration systems throughout Europe.

Specialist examination

Postgraduate examinations in diagnostic radiology lead to the award of Fellowship of the Faculty of Radiologists at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (FFRRCSI).

The examination consists of part I (during first year of training) and part II (during the fourth year of training). Both parts are held twice a year to allow for repeats.

Part I consists of a MCQ paper, a digital image examination with MCQ paper, and two viva voces on physical basis of medical imaging, radiological anatomy, radiography and special investigations, contrast media and pharmacological aids.

Part II is made up of two components: part IIa and part IIb. Part IIa is held in September and consists of two exam papers, both containing 100 questions. A combination of Single Best Answers (SBAs) and Extended Match Questions (EMQs) is used. Part IIb is held in November and consists of: two viva voces in clinical radiology (two examiners per viva, each examiner has 20 minutes for questions, thus 80 minutes in total), a written paper (seven cases each with a short clinical vignette, one hour time limit) and a rapids reporting session (30 cases in 30 minutes, variable number of normal and abnormal films).

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