ODS Exam

Testing Dates and Deadlines

March 31 - April 22, 2023; application deadline: March 24

June 30 - July 22, 2023; application deadline: June 23

October 13 - November 4, 2023; application deadline: October 6

Request information on the 2024 ODS Exam Details

Candidate Handbook & Application

Download the Handbook and Application. Complete and save the PDF fillable application form, then submit your completed application, supporting documentation for your chosen eligibility and the payment form to NCRA.  Candidates are encouraged to submit their completed application and paperwork as soon as they qualify. Submitting before the application deadline will assist candidates with scheduling an exam date/time

ODS Exam Testing and COVID-19

Refer to PSI’s COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).

ODS Credential

The Oncology Data Specialist(ODS) credential demonstrates a requisite knowledge and professional competence needed within the cancer registry. candidates receiving a passing score on the exam will be entitled to use “ODS” after their name and will receive a certificate from NCRA’s Council on Certification. to maintain a certified status, a credentialed professional must complete 20 hours of continuing education credits every two years, plus pay an annual fee. 

ODS Exam Eligibility

The first step is to determine eligibility. requirements include education and experience in the cancer registry field. Review the ODS exam eligibility chart. Need your individual eligibility to be reviewed? complete the ODS exam eligibility request form and submit it as noted on the form. Please allow 6-8 weeks to process. questions? e-mail ctrexam@ncra-usa.org.

ODS Exam Testing Windows

Once eligibility requirements are met, candidates can take the exam during one of the three, three-week long testing periods held annually. Applications must be submitted by the deadline noted for the desired exam date. 

Exam Registration

 Exam registration fees: NCRA member rate: $325; non-member rate: $425.
 Two forms of identification are required for exam candidates at testing centers. 

Testing Locations

There are over 200 testing locations throughout the U.S. Carrels at testing centers are 39 inches wide and the desks are 35.5” wide and 27” deep. to maximize desk space, the computer monitors are mounted on the rear carrel. 

Notification of Results

 Upon completing the exam, candidates will receive an exam completion report, but not the formal test results. 
 Candidates will be notified of their formal test results by email within six weeks from the last day of the testing period. Scores on the major areas of the exam and on the total exam will be reported.
 Candidates must receive a passing score on the total exam (closed-book + open-book) to be certified.

General Content of the 2023 ODS Exam

The 2023 ODS exam is composed of one-hundred eighty (180), multiple-choice test items, based on four domains of practice noted below. Test questions are prepared by Subject Matter Experts (SME) in the cancer registry profession from diverse backgrounds and job descriptions.  

  • Legal and Ethical Aspects in the Cancer Registry Profession; 30 items [Closed book]
  • Cancer Registry Operations; 45 items [Closed book]
  • Cancer Registry Data Identification; 45 [Closed book]
  • Cancer Registry Coding and Abstraction; 60 items [Open-book]

References for the 2023 ODS Exam

The list of references for the 2023 ODS exam includes testable resources including specific references necessary for the open‐book section of the exam.


Content Outline for 2023

The content outline starting in 2023 covers four domains of practice. The content outline was updated according to a recent role delineation study which captured current practice in the cancer registry field.