Cancer registrars, also known as Oncology Data Specialists, are data information specialists that capture a complete history, diagnosis, treatment, and health status for every cancer patient in the U.S.  The data provides essential information to researchers, healthcare providers, and public health officials to better monitor and advance cancer treatments, conduct research, and improve cancer prevention and screening programs. Cancer registrars work closely with physicians, administrators, researchers, and healthcare planners to provide support for cancer program development, ensure compliance of reporting standards, and serve as a valuable resource for cancer information with the ultimate goal of preventing and controlling cancer.

Cancer registrars ensure that timely, accurate, and complete data are maintained on all types of cancer diagnosed and/or treated within a health care institution or within a defined population. The data is then used in a wide variety of public health decisions and provides rich information for cancer diagnosis and treatment education.

This program is fully accredited by the National Cancer Registrars' Association as of July 2017.  Students who complete this twelve-month post degree certificate program will be eligible to take the national credentialing exam for Oncology Data Specialist (ODS) available through the National Cancer Registrars’ Association (NCRA).

Cuyahoga Community College is accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools and is a S.A.R.A. institution (State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements) for online learning.

This program is available to be completed 100% online.

Program contact: Learn more

Financial Assistance funds cannot be applied towards this program.

This certificate will be automatically awarded when the certificate requirements are completed. If you do not want to receive the certificate, please notify the Office of the Registrar at

Learn more here and here about how certificate credits apply to the related degree.

Related Degrees and Certificates

Program Admission Requirements

  • Students must have at a minimum an Associate Degree (or higher) in allied health or nursing from an accredited College that includes the following courses:
    BIO-2331Anatomy and Physiology I4
    BIO-2341Anatomy and Physiology II4
    MA-1010Introduction to Medical Terminology2
    Select from the following:3
    Computer Applications
    Honors Computer Applications
  • Time limit on biology courses is seven years unless the student is currently working in the healthcare field. 
  • 2.0 GPA
  • 25 students accepted per academic year
  • Graduates of a Health Information Management degree program are best suited for this certificate. Current credential is not required for admission to the program.
  • Students who do not have a degree that includes the above courses must complete the courses before applying for the CTR program.
  • Students must submit the following documents to the Cancer Registrar Program Director using email attachments as part of the application process:
    • cover letter/email requesting admission to the program
    • professional business resume
    • Health Careers Application

Program Learning Outcomes

This program is designed to prepare students to demonstrate the following learning outcomes: 

  1. Identify and comply with diverse workplace cultures, specifically in regard to dress code, code of conduct, and relationships with internal and external stakeholders
  2. Apply federal, state, and organizational regulations in regard to confidentiality and security.
  3. Explain the significance of applying clinical knowledge pertaining to diagnostics, treatment modalities, extent of disease, and surveillance in order to ensure complete and accurate cancer reporting.
  4. Abstract and analyze health record information and convert to numerical data that aligns with industry principles and guidelines.
  5. Utilize oral and written skills to effectively communicate and interact with health care professionals, colleagues, administration, and internal and external customers to promote quality oncology research and statistical outcomes.
  6. Exhibit proficiency using Microsoft Office Suite (Excel, Word, Power Point, & Outlook) as well as other software technologies and discuss the potential of data exchange across systems.
  7. Apply knowledge of industry recognized data fields to effectively utilize cancer registry software.
  8. Effectively utilize virtual meeting software in a professional manner.
  9. Differentiate between the various roles and reporting structures, while prioritizing tasks according to immediate needs.

Suggested Semester Sequence

Plan of Study Grid
First SemesterCredit Hours
HIM-2500 Introduction to Cancer Registry and Disease Management 2
HIM-2510 The Cancer Disease Process and Management 3
HIM-2520 Oncology Coding and Staging 3
 Credit Hours8
Second Semester
HIM-2530 Oncology Treatment and Coding 3
HIM-2540 Abstracting Principles and Methodologies for Oncology 3
HIM-2550 Database Analytics, Quality and Tracking 3
 Credit Hours9
Summer Completion
HIM-2560 Oncology Database and Manuals 3
HIM-2871 Professional Practice Experience for Oncology Data Specialists 3
 Credit Hours6
 Total Credit Hours23

Courses are offered one at a time in an accelerated format averaging 5-weeks in duration each.  One course immediately follows the preceding course.

MATH-1140, MATH-1141, MATH-1200, MATH-1270, and MATH-1280 can no longer count towards fulfilling the college-level mathematics requirement.  These courses were re-classified as developmental mathematics by the state of Ohio in 2016.  Tri-C established a 5-year transitioning window for students who had completed these courses prior to 2016 to apply them towards meeting graduation requirements, which expired in Summer 2021. It is highly recommended to see a counselor to determine the appropriate math required for your current major.