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How to become a Oncology Data Specialist (ODS)

The ODS, Oncology Data Specialist, is a credential provided by the National Cancer Registrar Association (NCRA). It is earned by successful completion of the ODS exam and the ODS must maintain their credential through continuing education. 


RHIT Programs

The Registered Health Information Technician, or RHIT,  credential is obtained by completing a specific associates degree program along with a certification exam. There are currently four CAHIIM accredited programs in the state of Iowa. They are offered at Scott, Indian Hills, Northwest, and Northeast Community College's. Each of these programs are online based or have an online option. 

What is a cancer registry and what do cancer registrars do? 

According to NCI SEER, a cancer registry is an information system designed for the collection, storage, and management of data on persons with cancer. 

Cancer registrars are an integral part of the cancer registry as they are responsible for the collection and reporting of the data. 

About the ICRA


Members may be anyone employed in a cancer registry or anyone interested in the cancer registry field. Student memberships are also offered for $10 and are ideal for those in school who are considering a career in a cancer registry. Student members may attend workshops and meetings but are unable to hold office or vote. There is at least one ICRA meeting per year, usually during an educational workshop where continuing education credits are provided by NCRA. 


The ICRA board is comprised of a President, Vice president, Treasurer, and Secretary. Members hold these positions for two year intervals and any member in good standing may volunteer to be elected to the board. New changes implemented by the current board include: providing an exam stipend for new ODSs, providing reimbursement stipend to attend NCRA meeting early registration fee, and creating a new website based on member feedback. 


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