What is a cancer registrar?

According to the National Cancer Registrars Association (NCRA), “cancer registrars capture a complete summary of the history, diagnosis, treatment, and disease status for every cancer patient. Registrars’ work leads to better information that is used in the management of cancer, and ultimately, cures."

Where do cancer registrars work?

Most cancer registrars work in hospitals. Other work settings include central or state cancer registries, standard setting organizations, government agencies, software vendors, pharmaceutical companies, insurance agencies, and staffing firms. Some cancer registrars are self-employed.

What is the employment outlook for cancer registrars?

“The demand for qualified cancer registrars is greater than ever” according to the NCRA. Visit NCRA's Cancer Registrar FAQsExternal Web Site Policy for more information.

What is a CTR?

The Certified Tumor Registrar (CTR) credential is awarded to cancer registry professionals who pass NCRA’s certification examination. The NCRA Council on Certification sets eligibility requirements for the exam. Go to the council’s web siteExternal Web Site Policy for more information. As of January 1, 2024 the CTR credential has been renamed ODS for Oncology Data Specialist.

How do I become a cancer registrar?

Formal educational programs are available. Many of the programs are offered online. The NCRA SchoolsExternal Web Site Policy site provides a list of their accredited programs.

State and local cancer registry organizations provide education and training. These organizations are valuable sources of information, mentoring, and networking. To find the cancer registry organization in your state or local area, go to the NCRA Resources: State & Local SearchExternal Web Site Policy.

SEER*EducateExternal Web Site Policy is a free online training platform for cancer registry training. Basic education and preparation for the certification exam, along with more advanced material, are available in SEER*Educate.

The SEER Program Training web site provides web-based training modules for basic cancer registration and surveillance, site-specific modules covering cancers of individual systems and organs in the human body, and informational modules.

NCRA offers a mentoring programExternal Web Site Policy for students and current CTRs. Mentees are matched with more experienced cancer registrar professionals to learn and grow in their careers.

Where can I obtain more information?