“The demand for qualified cancer registrars is greater than ever” according to the National Cancer Registrars Association (NCRA). Recently, the cancer registry field has seen an increase in the number of registrars leaving the field and retiring, as well as an influx in the number of remote cancer registrar openings throughout the United States. This has led to an increase in demand for more, higher qualified CTRs and non-CTRs. With the Covid-19 pandemic, and an increasing shift to a more remote work environment, cancer registrars are leaving hospitals and other healthcare facilities on a more permanent basis at an alarming rate. Finding these well qualified CTRs and non-CTRs to fill these positions has become more challenging for facilities, contract companies, and even hospitals.
A cancer registrar who once thought they were limited in where they could work unless they wanted to get up and move, now has a multitude of opportunities available to them than ever before. No longer does a cancer registrar feel trapped to staying in one location or even one position. What once felt like a locked in career unless someone else quits and an opening arises within an organization, now has an endless array of opportunities. A registrar can now work anywhere without ever leaving their home. They can challenge themselves with other opportunities in the field that once were unthought of, except for a lucky few who lived in certain geographic locations. Cancer registrars no longer have to focus on just abstracting or reviewing cases for reportability or doing follow-up. They can now advance into supervisory positions, teaching positions in a community college, bloggers, speakers, or even owners of their own contract company.
With the transition to a more remote working society, and the increase in the number of contract companies hiring remote cancer registrars to work almost anywhere in the United States and even internationally, the race is on to find qualified registrars to fill these large number of vacancies. Companies are having to reconsider their hiring standards and qualifications to meet their clients’ needs and to remain competitive amongst other organizations in the registry contracting field. One common practice used by many organizations is the use of a bonus referral program. Bonuses are offered to employees who refer other abstractors to a company in hopes to attract high qualified CTRs and non-CTRs. Another best practice utilized by many companies includes attending in-person recruitment meet-and-greets at state and national cancer registrar conventions, as well as at school and community job fairs. Not only are certified cancer registrars being actively sought, but non-certified candidates as well. These non-certified candidates can assist an organization with tasks of case finding, follow-up, and more, while obtaining the additional training and qualified hours needed to sit for their certification exam to become a CTR.
The Cancer Registry career field and the widespread opportunities to work almost anywhere has advanced like never before. What once was thought to be a secretive career, rarely ever known outside a hospital or the cancer registry community has now become a more sought-after career. “The long-term career prospects for cancer registrars are very good. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment opportunities for this occupation are expected to rise by as much as 31% between 2020 and 2026.” Certified and non-certified Cancer Registrars as well as contract companies, hospitals and other healthcare facilities have truly benefited from technology and the ability to work from home or even on the road.