The Certified Tumor Registrar (CTR®) credential marks a milestone in 2018 - its 35th anniversary. This nationally recognized credential sets the standard for professional excellence in the cancer registry field, and it’s widely used in the recruitment and retention of registry personnel. In the past 35 years, more than 7,000 individuals have attained the CTR credential, and more than 5,200 are currently maintaining it.
In 1974, when the National Tumor Registrars Association (NTRA) — the precursor to the National Cancer Registrars Association (NCRA) — was established, the creation of a professional credential was a key goal. The credential would help to distinguish the profession and highlight the critical role cancer registrars play in collecting the data that informs cancer research, prevention, and treatment programs. To that end, the NTRA instituted the Certification Examination Committee, and many dedicated pioneers in the field of cancer registry management were tapped to serve.
“Working on the first Certification Examination Committee was one of the highlights of my career as a cancer registrar,” said Barbara Lee Peace, CTR, chair of the inaugural Certification Examination Committee. “The committee was determined to establish a credential that would accurately test the skills, tasks, and responsibilities of the cancer registrar. We also wanted the credential to serve as a sign of professional excellence and a way for employers to identify highly qualified candidates.”
Six hundred and twenty-one candidates sat for the first exam March 12, 1983. The early exams were paper-and-pencil tests offered one Saturday in March in only a handful of major cities. Today, the computer-based exam is offered during three, three‐week‐long testing periods at nearly 300 proctored testing centers throughout the country.
The importance of the CTR credential has grown over the years. This is most evident in Standard 5.1 of the Commission on Cancer (CoC) Accreditation Program. Additionally, human resource departments regularly seek employees to be CTR-certified and to properly maintain their professional credential. NCRA’s Council on Certification is responsible for updating the CTR examination on a regular basis so it reflects current practices.
NCRA applauds all CTRs on their achievement in attaining this important credential. NCRA will commemorate the CTR credential’s 35 th anniversary at its 2018 Annual Educational Conference in New Orleans.