Cancer registrars are data information specialists who collect and report cancer statistics. Cancer registrars capture a complete history, diagnosis, treatment, and health status for every cancer patient in the U.S.

Cancer registrars collect the data that 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.

  • Identify cases
  • Manage the cancer registry database
  • Ensure data completeness
  • Comply with standards
  • Analyze and present data
  • Run customized reports
  • Inform community needs assessments
  • Track patient survival data

Most registrars work for hospitals or central cancer registries.

Cancer registrars who have earned the Certified Tumor Registrar (CTR) credential earn approximately $25,000 more than non-credentialed cancer registrars.

What are the qualifications needed to take the Certified Tumor Registrar (CTR) credentialing exam?

Candidates must meet education and experience requirements to be eligible to take the CTR exam. Southwest Tech offers two of the three eligibility paths (A1 and A2). CTR Exam Flowchart They are detailed below and outlined in the  CTR Exam Eligibility Chart.


To determine the best path for you, start by answering these questions:


Do you have less than 60 college credit hours? This is Path A-1.

Individuals who have not completed an Associate Degree and have little college coursework can enroll in an Associate Degree in Cancer Information Management Program.

  • Successful completion of an NCRA Accredited Associate Degree Program, which requires a practicum under the supervision of a CTR.
  • Follow the CIM Associate Degree to see the course curriculum

Do you have an Associate Degree (in any field) or the equivalent of 60 college credit hours? This is Path A-2.

Individuals could reach the 60 college-credit hour minimum by supplementing college credits earned through an NCRA Accredited Cancer Information Management Certificate Program.

  • Successful completion of 60 college credit hours.
  • Successful completion of an NCRA Accredited Certificate Program, which requires a practicum under the supervision of a CTR. (College credits earned in the certificate program can be applied towards the 60-college credit minimum.)

Are there prerequisites required to enroll in the CIM Advanced Technical Certificate?

The certificate programs require four prerequisites:

  • Human Anatomy and Physiology I
  • Human Anatomy and Physiology II
  • Medical Terminology
  • A course in healthcare technology and information systems (Foundations of HIM)

A course is defined as a minimum of three college credit hours. Successful completion is defined as having earned a grade of “C” or better; course auditing is not accepted.

IMPORTANT: The four prerequisites are required for candidates seeking to enroll in an NCRA Accredited Certificate Program. There are NO exceptions. Work experience is NOT a substitute for meeting the prerequisite requirements.

Students that enroll in the CIM Advanced Technical Certificate will be required to provide documentation that they have completed the prerequisites prior to admission to the program.

Why Choose Cancer Information Management?

  • The program is 100% online and was created with the working adult in mind.
  • Work behind the scenes in the healthcare system without having direct patient care.
  • Serve as a valuable resource for cancer information with the ultimate goal of preventing and controlling cancer.

Accreditation Status

Links to additional information:

  • Overview
  • Is This Program for You?

    Students entering the Cancer Information Management program should:

    • Be interested in working in health care, but not directly with patients.
    • Be detail oriented.
    • Have an aptitude for science, but also like management, law, and computers.
    • Enjoy working with professionals: physicians, nurses, lawyers, administrators and executives.
    • Have a strong knowledge of medical terminology.
    • Employ good critical thinking and communication skills.

    Program Basics

    • Associate degree, requiring a minimum of two years to complete.
    • All courses offered online allowing for 100% flexibility.
    • Financial aid is available to those that qualify
    • Students must achieve a grade of C or better in each course of the program curriculum to be eligible to progress
    • Some credits transferrable for a Bachelor's degree in Health Information Management
  • Curriculum & Costs
  • Cost of Attendance (COA) 23-24

    Cost of Attendance (COA) is a total of all the usual expenses of being a student. The COA sets the maximum amount of financial aid a student can receive.

    Category Amount
    Tuition and Fees $4,713
    Living Expenses (Housing and Food) $9,614
    Books and Supplies $2,061
    Personal Expenses $2,245
    Transportation $2,007
    Charger Tech 360 Fee $600
    Loan Fees $83
    Yearly Total (Living Away from Home) $21,323
    1 Semester Total (Living Away from Home) $10,662

    Based on Wisconsin Residents.

    Approximate school costs are for a full-time (12 credit) student over a semester span of 17 weeks.

    Fees are legislated by the Wisconsin Technical College System Board.

    These costs are estimates and are subject to change without notice.

  • Requirements
  • Admission and Program Requirements

    • Submit Application
    • To make sure your classes are the right fit, we consider any previous college credit you've earned, Accuplacer or ACT scores, high school GPA, or an assessment at your registration session. Submit High School Transcripts, College Transcripts, and Test Scores to: Southwest Tech, Attn: Admissions, 1800 Bronson Blvd, Fennimore, WI 53809
    • Admissions Meeting: After applying and submitting transcripts, make an admissions meeting with the advisor by clicking "Make an appointment" with the program Advisor.

    Requirements for Online Students

    Chromebooks are not compatible with some testing features within Schoology (our Learning Management System). Southwest Tech recommends not to use Chromebooks for classes.

    • Cable/broadband/DSL internet with a minimum speed of 1.5Mbps. You can test your local internet speed at www.speedtest.net. Run this test from the location you will be working from.

      Higher bandwidth and speed will greatly assist you in your online learning environment, so where possible, a faster internet speed is recommended. Cable internet tend to be faster than DSL or 4G wireless, although DSL or 4G wireless may also work depending on other factors. Your computer, other software (such as anti spyware), other users on the system, and system configurations can all influence your ultimate line speed. Many instructors use videos as a part of their instruction, as well as synchronous meeting times (Skype, Adobe Connect, etc). Having an acceptable internet connection speed will be important to your success.

    • Convenient access to a computer that has one of the following current versions of Internet Browsers:
      • Microsoft Internet Explorer
      • Mozilla Firefox
      • Google Chrome
      • Safari
      Call 608.822.2302 for verification of other browsers.
    • An active e-mail account (all Southwest Tech students are issued a free email account)
    • Word processing software (Microsoft Word is the recommended word processing software at Southwest Wisconsin Technical College). Free Microsoft Office software is available to all Southwest Tech students at https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/education/products/office
    • Availability of 10-15 hours per week for each 3-credit course
    • Self-motivation and self-discipline

    Helpful Academic Background

    • Keyboarding and basic computer skills
    • Biological Sciences

    Program Fees

    • This program is eligible for Financial Aid.
    • Estimated cost for each semester can be found under the Curriculum tab. Please note that costs are approximate and are based on the current academic year.
    • Please discuss additional fee questions with the program advisor or instructor.
  • Outcomes
  • Program Outcomes

    • Demonstrate knowledge of the cancer program organization's structure, operations and functions including Cancer Conference, Cancer Committee and Commission on Cancer.
    • Define the standard setters, agencies and organizations involved in cancer data abstraction and data standardization, as well as their responsibilities.
    • Apply fundamental concepts of the oncology disease process incorporating diagnostic and staging procedures (lab, imaging, surgery and pathology) and treatment modalities (surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy and immunotherapy) with an emphasis of major cancer sites.
    • Analyze documentation to identify and report neoplasms, patient demographics, code diagnostic findings and cancer information including primary site, histology, stage and treatment.
    • Monitor and maintain case abstraction through annual lifetime follow up for treatment, recurrence, cancer status and patient status for outcome information.
    • Conduct statistical analysis and prepare data presentations related to epidemiology, incidence, quality measures and survival outcomes.

    Graduates are eligible to take the national certification exam with the National Cancer Registrars Association (NCRA) .

  • Career Opportunities
  • Individuals with the CTR credential will qualify for employment in:

    • Hospital cancer programs
    • Cancer treatment centers
    • Oncology physician group practices
    • Military and Veterans Administration hospitals
    • State and federal cancer registries
    • Companies providing cancer registry software
    • Contract cancer registry service providers

    Southwest Tech's Career Connections Center offers Services to assist students looking for job placement.

  • Transfers
  • Prior Learning
  • Credit for Prior Learning

    Experience Pays! You've Been There... You've Done That... Let's See If You Can Get Credit For It!

    Credit for prior learning gives you opportunities to earn credit for college-level knowledge that you have already acquired. This may be the result of work or volunteer experiences, certifications, apprenticeships, military training, extensive self-instruction, or professional development. Credit for Prior Learning affords you the opportunity to accelerate the completion of your educational goals.

    For more information on Credit for Prior Learning see our Credit for Prior Learning page.

    At any time, you may Request Credit for Prior Learning.

    Cancer Information Management (ATC) Courses that may have Credit for Prior Learning options:

    Course # Course Title
    Challenge Exam
    (Demonstration)
    Challenge Exam
    (Standard)
    CLEP
    Credential
    Portfolio
    10-530-117Cancer Registry Management PracticumYes
    Portfolio requires CTR Credential and approval of instructor. CIM ATC students are not required to have the following prerequisites: Intro to Health Informatics, Intro to Diversity, and Intro to Psychology.