Workforce Resources and Research

NCRA is the industry leader in cancer registry salary and workforce research. NCRA has worked with partner organizations to identify needs, launch research initiatives, coordinate studies, and promote the outcomes. Many of the studies have been designed to provide hospital and central registries with national workload and time management data that can be used to better inform decision-making about staff size and configuration.

Important Notice: NCRA has changed the name of its credential. Oncology Data Specialist (ODS) is the new name for the Certified Tumor Registrar (CTR) credential. Please note that any reference to the CTR credential should be understood to be the ODS credential. For more information regarding the name change, visit ODS Name Change 

Remote Work and Cancer Registrars

The option to work remotely existed prior to COVID-19, but its onset in 2020 made working from home the mainstream for many cancer registrars in the United States. NCRA conducted a member survey in 2023 to quantify the growth in remote work and to understand its impact on the profession. Vanessa Hoffmann, BS, ODS, NCRA’s immediate past president, presented the poster entitled “Quality Data and Quality of Life: Impacts on the Remote Cancer Registry Workforce” at the International Association of Cancer Registries Scientific Conference, November 13-16, 2023, in Granada, Spain. Read the Remote Work poster.  



Given NCRA’s long history of cancer registry workforce research a new information series has been launched. The “NCRA Best Practice Guidance Series” begins a formalized approach to organize and deliver recommended direction on a variety of cancer registry workforce procedures, management and activities to guide registry operations including staffing considerations.

With the launch of the “Series” NCRA inaugural issue is introducing best practice recommendations on an area of outsourcing service evaluation, selection and management. “Why Your Staff are Your Top Resource When Considering Outsourcing Services in Support of the Cancer Registry” is being released this month and is sure to become a vital reference for facilities considering outsourcing services.  Look for additional releases in the “Series” as NCRA continues its commitment to workforce research in the future. 

Outsourcing and Perception

As follow-up to its 2017 Strategic Management Plan, NCRA formed an Outsourcing and Perception Task Force to gather information on 1.) the perception of cancer registrars and, 2.) the role of outsourced vendors supporting the work of the cancer registry. The input provided by the respondents has enabled NCRA to begin to frame new efforts to best support its members and the cancer surveillance community about changing dynamics of the cancer registry workforce. The result was  NCRA’s Report on the 2020 Outsourcing and Perception Survey. Based on this survey, a four-year collaboration between volunteers and staff has produced the first of the NCRA Best Practice Guidance Series: Why Your Staff Are Your Top Resource When Considering Outsourcing Services in Support of the Cancer Registry. As part of the effort to standardize data quality approach/practices, this report identifies, defines, and supplies guidance in support of outsourcing best practices.

With its release, NCRA outlines the importance of including an ODS-certified manager or cancer registry lead on the procurement team to assist with improved outsourcing outcomes. NCRA recommends involving ODS-certified manager/staff from the initial evaluation to determine need through the final decision of contracting outsourcing services. Including an ODS-certified manager/staff lead in the process will ensure high-quality data collection and the implementation of cancer registry best practices. Download NCRA Best Practice Guidance Series: Why Your Staff Are Your Top Resource When Considering Outsourcing Services in Support of the Cancer Registry.

 NCRA Outsourcing Policy Position 

The NCRA Outsourcing & Perception Task Force was formed to better understand and learn the answers to industry specific questions related to outsourcing, and to assess perceptions about the Oncology Data Specialist (ODS). It’s first effort studied the role of outsourcing vendors in the cancer registry and that research is provided on this page (above). In follow-up to the research outcomes the NCRA Board of Directors approved a position statement in support of outsourcing best practices and believes that including a ODS-credentialed manager/staff lead at the beginning of the procurement process will ensure high-quality data collection and the adherence to cancer registry best practices. Read this NCRA Policy Position here.



Salary Considerations

NCRA’s Salary Considerations for Cancer Registrars: 2022 provides registrars and human resource departments with accurate and timely salary information to inform the hiring practices of this critical health information profession. Learn more: NCRA’s Salary Considerations for Cancer Registrars

NCRA’s Survey on COVID-19’s Impact on Cancer Registrars and Registries

NCRA wanted to better understand that impact of COVID-19 on hospital-based cancer registrars and registries. To that end, NCRA distributed an online survey in May 2020 and received a 55 percent response rate from “lead” cancer registrars. Read the Report on NCRA’s COVID-19 Survey.

Human Resources: A Fact Sheet on Cancer Registrars and the Oncology Data Specialist (ODS) Credential

NCRA’s fact sheet on cancer registries and the work of cancer registrars can be shared with human resources departments to outline the work of registrars and the value of the Oncology Data Specialist (ODS) credential. Download the HR Fact Sheet


Workload and Time Management Study: Guidelines for Central Cancer Registry Programs

The study provides central cancer registries with national workload and time management data they can use to compare to their own registry. The comparisons can help inform decision-making about staff size and configuration. In addition, the findings provide central cancer registry administrators with the data needed to advocate, plan, and budget for their cancer registry programs.  Download Summary PDF.  

NCRA's Workload and Staffing Study: Guidelines for Hospital Cancer Registry Programs 

The study provides hospital cancer registries with national staffing and workload data to inform staff planning and budgeting. The guidelines also serve as a tool for managers in advocating for adequate staffing to meet cancer registration goals.  Download Summary PDF.

NCRA published a study in 2006 on the cancer registry workforce entitled Frontline Workers in Cancer Data Management:  Workforce Analysis Study of the Cancer Registry Field. Read the final report.