Todd Boyland, CEO, RSTI Training, Shares His Experience Taking the CRES Exam

Written by Todd Boyland, CRES, CPSM

I recently took the CRES exam to ensure our students are receiving the best preparation possible at RSTI. Upon successfully completing the certification exam the week of 5/10/21, I wanted to share my experience with you in hopes that you find it helpful if you’re considering certification in the future.

In my opinion, 5-10+ years of imaging systems experience will provide a solid foundation for taking the CRES exam, but expect to spend time studying to be successful.

Applicants are expected to understand a wide array of industry disciplines across many knowledge areas, including:

  • A&P (Anatomy & Physiology)
  • X-Ray fundamentals
  • Modality fundamentals & types of exams: DR, R&F, MG, US, MRI, NM/PET, CT
  • Scenario-based troubleshooting & problem solving
  • Electronics circuit troubleshooting
  • Networking, PACS, software, and computer technology
  • Regulatory environment, safety, and compliance

There were many questions based on the factors affecting radiographic image quality. RSTI’s Phase 1 & Phase 2 cover these factors in depth, and include:

  • kV, mA, time
  • Quantity & quality
  • Density, contrast, and sharpness
  • SID, OID, SOD, and Inverse Square Law
  • HVL
  • Grids
  • Filters
  • Focal Spot

There were many situational problem-solving questions and troubleshooting scenarios. The scenarios aren’t designed to have a clear cut, binary answer, but rather force you to think critically through the best approach to that particular problem.

An example might be:

A technologist is performing an upper GI procedure. When they press the footswitch, the X-Ray indicator illuminates, but no image appears on the monitor. They have rebooted the system 3 times, but the problem persists. What should you do?

A.   Call the OEM and initiate a service call
B.   Ohm out the undertable tube filaments
C.   Listen to the X-Ray generator while pressing the fluoro footswitch to see if it sounds like the generator is producing radiation
D.   Replace the in-room monitor

The A&P questions revolved around different organs of the body (heart, brain, pancreas, liver, etc.), and understanding their components and function.

There were many questions on TCP/IP troubleshooting, PACS, HL7, as well as networking and computer hardware questions.
The electronics questions displayed a circuit diagram w/ a power supply, resistors, capacitors, and a transistor. You were given voltages at various points in the circuit and had to determine which component had failed.

Surprisingly, there were still a handful of film processing questions on the exam. So, make sure you know your developer/fixer/washer/dryer cycles from back in the day.

RSTI’s CRES Prep course runs twice a year, during the week preceding each testing cycle. We have spent a lot of time updating our course content to reflect the knowledge areas that engineers need to brush up on to succeed on the exam. The course is now offered as an eLearning online offering, with live instruction. Our CRES Prep course won’t guarantee you success on the exam if you don’t have the requisite industry experience. But it will provide well-rounded engineers (who are willing to do some study prep) with the review and practice necessary to score well on the CRES exam.

If you’re considering taking the CRES exam next time around, contact us for details on our CRES Prep course.

Good luck in the next testing cycle!

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