Certified Tumor Registrar (CTR)

  • Certified Tumor Registrar (CTR)

  • Cancer Registrars possess the clinical and technical knowledge and skills necessary to maintain components of the disease-related data collection systems consistent with medical, administrative, ethical, and legal and accreditation requirements of the health care delivery system.
  • In all types of facilities, and in various locations within a facility, cancer registrars manage and analyze clinical cancer information for the purpose of processing, maintaining, compiling and reporting health information for: Research; Quality Management and Improvement; Facility Planning and Marketing; Long-Term Follow Up; Cancer Program Development; Cancer Prevention and Surveillance; Survival Data; Compliance with Reporting Standards; Evaluation of the Results of Treatment; and National Accreditation Standards.

Work Activities/Work Locations

  • The primary responsibility of the cancer registrar is to ensure that timely, accurate, and complete data is incorporated and maintained on all types of cancer diagnosed and/or treated within an institution or other defined population.
  • Cancer Registrars capture a complete summary of the patient’s disease from diagnosis through their lifetime. The information is not limited to the episodic information contained in the health care facility record. The summary or abstract is an ongoing account of the cancer patient’s history, diagnosis, treatment and current status.
  • They participate in cancer program, institution, and community benefit activities as part of the active leadership structure.
  • Registrars provide benchmarking services, monitor quality of care and clinical practice guidelines, assess patterns of care and referrals, and monitor adverse outcomes including mortality and co-morbidity.
  • Cancer Registrars work in healthcare facilities such as hospitals, surgery centers, medical oncology and radiation oncology sites.
  • They are also employed by Central registries, consulting firms and cancer registry computer software companies.

 Education: 120 hours

 Patient Interaction: Low

 Physical Activity: Low

 Salary: $36,174

 Job Growth: Medium

Related Careers

Medical Writer

Medical Photographer

Medical Illustrator (MI)

Health Science Librarian (HSL)

Health Educator

Certified Tumor Registrar (CTR)

Getting Started

  • High school student should study health, medical terminology, biology, chemistry and computer courses.
  • Formal education is required see Education and Training above.
  • Due to standard requirements, accredited facilities choose to hire abstractors with the accreditation CTR.


  • To be eligible to take the CTR exam, candidates must meet education and experience requirements by the following routes.
  • Route 1A: Successful completion of an NCRA-Accredited Associate Degree Program with the successful completion of 160 hours of work practicum in a CTR-staffed Cancer Registry (may be part of an NCRA-approved program curriculum).
  • Route 2A: Successful completion of an NCRA-Accredited Certificate Program and successful completion of a minimum of an Associate’s degree or equivalent (60 college-level credits).
  • Route B: Successful completion of a minimum of an Associate degree or equivalent (60 college-level credits) including or in addition to specific coursework: two semesters of “Human Anatomy and Human Physiology” or equivalent and 1,950 hours (equal to one year full-time) experience in the Cancer Registry field.

Educational Institutions

Southwest Wisconsin Technical College

Programs offered outside of Wisconsin

American Health Information Management Association
Darton College (Online Program)
Davidson County Community College
San Jacinto College
Santa Barbara City College (Online Program)
Scott Community College (Online Program)


American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer
633 N. St. Clair Street
Chicago, IL, 60611-3211

American Health Information Management Association
233 N. Michigan Ave., 21st Floor
Chicago, IL, 60601-5809
312/233-1100 or 800/335-5535

National Cancer Registrars Association
1330 Braddock Place, Suite 520
Alexandria, VA, 22314

National Program of Cancer Registries
1600 Clifton Road
Atlanta, GA, 30329-4027

North American Association of Central Cancer Registeries
2050 W. Iles, Suite A
Springfield, IL, 62704-7412

Career Outlook

Number Employed in 2014 (Wisconsin): 3,960
Number Employed in 2014 (U.S.): 188,600
Expected Employment in 2024 (U.S.): 217,600
Percent Employment Growth (2014-2024): 15%
Expected Annual Openings: 7,120
Median Salary in 2014 (Wisconsin): $36,174

Salary information is located at Career One Stop

Wisconsin AHEC Health Careers Information Center provides the most current salary information available from CareerOneStop. CareerOneStop will have a lapse between when the information is gathered and when it is released.

  • The evidence-based medicine of today recognizes the skills and abilities of the cancer registrar. The increase in the number and types of health care facilities, central registries, consulting firms and registry software companies make the demand for qualified cancer registrars greater than ever.
  • There is tremendous potential for growth in government agencies, insurance, pharmaceutical and other health care industries as accurate, timely data increasingly impacts cancer control efforts.
  • Cancer Registrars who possess management and administrative skills, knowledge of medical sciences, programming, database management, data retrieval and analysis will find a ready market for those skills.