Cancer Registrars


Employment Prospects


Cancer registrars may find employment in hospitals, health care facilities, or private registries such as research facilities, universities, pharmaceutical research departments, or population registries. These might include state, federal, or regional facilities such as government maintained registries, Centers for Disease Control, and the National Institute of Health.

Starting Out

Aspiring cancer registrars may find entry level positions as data processors at cancer registries or in related medical records-keeping. After gaining some experience in the industry, they can be promoted to full-fledged cancer registrars.

Advancement Prospects

The opportunity for career advancement in this field is good. Candidates most frequently begin at entry level positions, as a cancer registrar or abstractor, which involves basic data collection and entry. However, with experience and continuing education and interest, employees can accomplish positions as analysts, focusing on integration of the data into more helpful and meaningful reports. Within hospitals or health care facilities, as well as state, regional or federal registries, employees may climb the career ladder to become coordinators or supervisors, and ultimately registry managers or directors, increasing their responsibilities and pay. 

Tips for Entry

Get certified. It will give you an edge over other applicants. While not mandated by all employers, the status of having the certification increases your likelihood of obtaining employment and increased income.

A strong background in biology, physiology, or anatomy is helpful in being a cancer registrar. If this wasn't your primary focus when attending high school or college, take classes at a local community college to enhance your knowledge.

Do your research on available registry jobs in your area by searching hospital and cancer center Web sites, the job bank of the NCRA, as well as Web sites listing available employment such as,, and

Attend a conference or program sponsored by the NCRA or your state organization to obtain more information and network with others who are interested and active in the field. To learn more, visit the NCRA Web site at:

Brush up on your computer skills. Data processing is a key element of the cancer registry.