Preparing for the CRA Exam
By Brenda DeBastiani, CRA, FAHRA, RT(R)
Wow, what a fun and rewarding past couple of months! I had the pleasure of meeting many of you for the first time at the AHRA Annual Meeting this year (including meeting some of my fellow RACC commissioners for the first time, too). It was so beneficial to meet as a group and share ideas as a team. Even though I have talked to many people on the AHRA Forum, on conference calls, and via email, it was great to put faces with names! I was so excited to see so many familiar faces at the CRA Reception too – what a great turn out!
At the RACC booth in the exhibit hall, it was such a pleasure speaking to so many fellow radiology administrators who were interested in taking the CRA exam. The most common question asked was, “How can I best prepare to take the CRA exam?” My immediate answer was to take the practice tests, determine weak areas, and then study resources to improve those weak areas! I also mentioned the various reference books, five of which are available through AHRA.
When I was preparing to take the CRA exam in 2007, I had to “dig” for articles and books and was only able to find less than half of the recommended reading material. I borrowed books from various people, including a friend who is a marketing professor at a local university, a friend who was my Human Resources generalist, and a friend who was working towards getting her master’s degree and had accounting books available for me to study (it takes a village to raise us CRAs!).
It is great that there is now a collection of resources readily available. AHRA also offers a CRA Exam Workshop at its three conferences each year. This course can help you prepare for the CRA exam, but it cannot take place of in-depth studying of the reference material. Use the CRA Exam Workshop to determine the areas that you need to study and to get an idea of the exam layout, and then go tackle those study/reference materials. New this fall, the workshop will be offered online, coinciding with the AHRA Virtual Fall Conference. The online version will be offered year-round, so you won’t have to wait for a conference to attend the workshop. No matter which way you decide to prepare for the CRA exam, I hope that many more of you earn your CRA in November.
The RACC Nominations Committee is in the process of setting up interviews for RACC commissioner nominees. I am excited to find out who will join our team in 2016. Remember that the new CRA Commissioners were nominated by CRAs and will be elected by CRAs’ votes.
As a team, the RACC has accomplished a great deal in the past few weeks. We have been working with the examination certification team to ensure the exam given remains first class and relevant to the industry and study material. There is never a dull moment for our team. I want to personally thank Kathryn Keeler, CRA Certification Coordinator, for all of her hard work. Thanks to her, our team stays focused and organized so that we always meet our deadlines. I also want to thank Rick Perez for being a great leader of our team.
Personally, I am finally finishing up my Bachelor of Arts degree (will graduate in December 2015). I am looking forward to seeing that college diploma, but I have to tell you that the CRA credential is more meaningful to me since it truly represents all that I have learned during my radiology career. What are you working on right now? What are your thoughts? Please feel free to contact me if you have any suggestions for the RACC.
Brenda DeBastiani, CRA, FAHRA, RT(R) is the director of imaging at Monongalia General Hospital in Morgantown, WV. She can be reached at DebastianiB@monhealthsys.org.