Cancer Registry Management
An NCRA-accredited Formal Education Program

Frequently Asked Questions

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> Registration

> Certificates, Transcripts and Certification

> Prerequisites

> Financial Aid
> Textbooks > Repeating Courses

> Course Availability

> NCRA Accreditation and Approval

> Course Structure and Work Experience

 

 

Registration


Can I get started now?

Yes, if you need to complete some or all of the prerequisites, AHIMA offers all four prerequisites in online, self-paced courses. See "How Do I Register?" below.

If you have already successfully completed all four prerequisites, then you are ready to take on the specialty courses. See "How Do I Register?" below.

How do I register?

  • STEP 1 — Review the Program Information
    Thoroughly review all of the Cancer Registry Management program information, to ensure your understanding of the prerequisites, requirements, scope of the program, and how the program works. If your questions are not addressed here, contact us.

  • STEP 2 — Complete the CRM Prerequisite Form
    ALL prospective students in the CRM program must first complete a CRM Prerequisite Form online. This form provides AHIMA with important information on how you previously completed the program prerequisites or how you plan to complete them. Submitting this form also establishes your record in our CRM Prerequisite Database, where we match incoming transcripts and track prerequisite completions. You need to complete this form only once, after which you will receive an e-mail confirmation with additional details and instructions. This form is submitted at no cost or further obligation.


  • STEP 3 — Send Official Transcripts
    If you previously completed some or all of your prerequisites at the college level with grades of "C" or better, then you should contact the school(s) to arrange to have official transcripts sent directly to AHIMA. Specific instructions and our mailing address for transcripts will be sent to you via e-mail after you complete the CRM Prerequisite Form (see Step 2 above).

  • STEP 4 — Register for Outstanding Prerequisites
    If you have not completed all four prerequisites (see list below) at the college level with grades of "C" or better, you may start our CRM program by registering for the prerequisites. These courses are available for immediate enrollment. Visit our course catalog to register:
    https://campus.ahima.org/abo/catalog/lms/Index.aspx?CategoryId=70

  • STEP 5 — Register for Specialty Courses
    After you complete the prerequisites, register online for the specialty courses. Here are the links to register online:
    https://campus.ahima.org/abo/catalog/lms/Index.aspx?CategoryId=71

Prerequisites


What are the prerequisites?

Prior to taking any of the specialty courses, students must first complete the following four courses, either through AHIMA or another post-secondary school:

  1. Human Anatomy and Physiology
  2. Medical Terminology
  3. Computer Basics in Healthcare
  4. Pathophysiology/Pharmacology

Does AHIMA need proof that prerequisites were taken?

Yes. If you plan to sit for NCRA's Certified Tumor Registrar (CTR) exam via Eligibility Route A (formerly Route 2), you must have successfully completed the four prerequisites before you can begin the specialty courses (clusters 2 and 3). You must have your school submit transcripts to us; the mailing address for transcripts will be sent to you in an e-mail, after you submit the online CRM prerequisite form. (RHIAs and RHITs do not need to submit transcripts however; see further FAQs in this list.) Please see Steps 2 and 3 in the "How do I register?" answer above.

I have satisfied some of the prerequisites, but not all. How do I register for INDIVIDUAL prerequisite courses, instead of all of CRM Cluster 1?

These courses are available for immediate enrollment. Visit our course catalog to register:
https://campus.ahima.org/abo/catalog/lms/Index.aspx?CategoryId=70

I am an RHIA/RHIT. Do I need to send transcripts for my prerequisites?

No, but you still must submit the online CRM Prerequisite Form. After submitting the prerequisite form, RHIAs and RHITs may register online for the specialty courses immediately, and proceed to request course activation; we will internally verify your credential at that time. RHIAs and RHITs interested in pursuing CTR exam eligibility under Route A (formerly Route 2) do not need to take the prerequisite courses for the CRM Program (A&P and Cluster 1). We waive the verification requirements for all four prerequisites, because successful completion of these courses is/was a requirement to sit for the RHIA and RHIT certification exams.

I previously completed a college-level PATHOPHYSIOLOGY course, which did not include Pharmacology. Will my transcript satisfy the CRM Pathophysiology/Pharmacology prerequisite?

Probably. The NCRA Formal Education program defines one of the prerequisites as Biology/Introduction to Medicine (Medical Sciences/Basic Sciences), including the following topic areas:

  1. Characteristics of cancer and other diseases
  2. Characteristics of the disease process

If you previously completed pathophysiology and/or another course that covered these topic areas, then the official transcript should satisfy the CRM Pathophysiology/Pharmacology prerequisite. All transcripts submitted to satisfy prerequisites are subject to review and approval. If we cannot make a determination based on the transcript, we may ask you to submit additional information, such as a course description from the school, to make a final determination.

I previously completed a college-level PHARMACOLOGY course, which did not include Pathophysiology. Will my transcript satisfy the CRM Pathophysiology/Pharmacology prerequisite?

No. Pharmacology is the study of drugs and their origin, nature, properties and effects upon living organisms. Pharmacology alone does not cover the topic areas as defined in the NCRA Formal Education program to satisfy this prerequisite.

Textbooks


Are textbooks required?

Yes. All courses require one or more textbooks. In some cases, the same textbook is used for more than one course. Books are not included in the course registration fees — students must purchase textbooks separately. See the required books page for more details.

Course Availability


Will classes start on a certain day of the month?

No. In the CRM program, each student receives access to the prerequisite courses immediately after enrollment. Students who register online and pay by credit card are immediately enrolled. Students who pay by check or purchase order are enrolled after AHIMA receives and processes the payment.

Students may register for the specialty courses at any time. Specialty course registrations are held in pending status up to three business days after payment is received, for prerequisite or credential verification. Following verification, students are enrolled and allowed to access the courses.

Course Structure and Work Experience


How are the courses structured?

All courses are online and self-paced. The course material is organized in modules and lessons. Each lesson includes textbook reading assignments, online text reading, links to articles and other Web resources, and interactive learning activities. There is an objective quiz for each module, and a final exam in each course. Some courses also include online discussion board activities. Each student completes the lessons and assignments at his/her own pace, but all coursework for a particular course must be completed within the specified 15-week valid period.

How do I contact the instructor?

These are online, self-paced courses, not instructor-led courses. There is no direct contact with an instructor; however, students may e-mail content and technical questions, and they will be answered by technical support personnel or a content expert (in most cases, one of the course authors will address content questions).

How do I complete the 160 hours of work experience to qualify for the CTR certification exam?

Each student is responsible to identify local healthcare providers where the work experience requirement can be completed. To assist with this endeavor, we will provide a set of resource documents which may be customized for personal use. We will also provide a Professional Practice Experience Checklist, which identifies the specific areas of experience and task-related time requirements for completion of the 160 hours of work.

When can/should I begin the work experience requirement?

We strongly recommend starting the work experience requirement only after completing at least the first five specialty courses in the CRM program. The theoretical foundation provided in those courses is essential to understanding the general concepts and principles of cancer registry functions and operations. Additionally, about half of the 160 hours of work experience focus on abstracting and ICD-O coding and staging, topics which are covered in courses four and five (Abstracting Methods and Oncology Treatment and Coding). The work experience supervisor will expect the student to have basic knowledge and skills in these areas.

You may choose to complete the work experience requirement concurrently with the final specialty course (Follow Up, Data Quality and Utilization), or you may choose to wait until you have completed all of the coursework to begin the work experience.

Certificates, Transcripts and Certification


Are certificates and transcripts provided for completing courses?

Yes, students who register for and successfully compete all 6 specialty courses will receive a Certificate of Completion and transcript for that program. After the final exam for the Follow-up, Data Quality and Utilization course (the sixth specialty course in the CRM program) is submitted, the program administrator will review the student's grades for completed CRM specialty courses, after which an official transcript will be created and mailed to the student. Please allow up to three weeks to receive the transcript. Students may use the transcript for the Certified Tumor Registrar (CTR) certification exam application.

Will I receive the CTR certification after completing this Formal Education Program?

No. Certificates of Completion are awarded, but program completion does not automatically lead to a certification. We encourage you to visit the following Web site for complete information on NCRA's Certified Tumor Registrar (CTR) Exam, eligibility requirements, and to obtain the CTR brochure and Exam Candidate's Handbook and Application: www.ctrexam.org.

Under Eligibility Route A (formerly Route 2). there are three qualification requirements to sit for the CTR exam:

  1. Cancer Registry Education: Successful completion of an NCRA-accredited Cancer Registry Management Formal Education Program
  2. College Education: Successful completion of a minimum of an Associate ’s degree or equivalent (4 semesters/6 quarters)
  3. Experience: Successful completion of 160 hours of work practicum in a CTR-staffed Cancer Registry

For a list of NCRA-accredited Formal Education programs, visit www.ncra-usa.org/education/formal.htm.

Does the price of the CRM program include the registration fee for the CTR exam?

No, the price does not include the registration fee for the CTR exam. For more information on the exam, please visit www.ctrexam.org.

I am currently working in the cancer registry field, but I would like to get my CTR certification. What courses do I need to take?

We recommend that you review CTR Eligibility Requirements in the Examination Candidate Handbook, which can be downloaded at www.ctrexam.org. If you are currently eligible to sit for the exam, we strongly recommend that you compare your current level of knowledge to the Content Outline in the Candidate Handbook and then review our course descriptions to determine which courses would meet your educational needs.

Financial Aid


Is financial aid available for the CRM program?

No. Unfortunately, AHIMA does not participate in federal grant, loan, or veterans benefit programs (including guaranteed student loans offered through local banks). Many employers provide tuition reimbursement programs through in-service grants, scholarships, and work-study programs. Check with your employer for details concerning financial assistance. Some employers require that a course or program be accredited. To see which of our programs are accredited, visit our Accreditations page.

Community or civic groups also sponsor scholarships, and can be found through local libraries and other organizations.

Repeating Courses


What if I can't complete my coursework in the 15 weeks allowed?

The standard policy is that no extensions are granted. If a course is not completed in the 15 weeks, students may re-register at the normal registration fee. Our registration system will not allow you to register a second time for the same course; so, if you need to retake a course, contact us first at distance.education@ahima.org and we will provide instructions on how to submit a new registration.

What if I do not pass a course?

Students may re-register for the individual course, at the normal registration fee. Our registration system will not allow you to register a second time for the same course; so, if you need to retake a course, contact us first at distance.education@ahima.org and we will provide instructions on how to submit a new registration.

NCRA Accreditation and Approval


Does this NCRA-accredited Formal Education Program satisfy the cancer registry educational component of Eligibility Route A requirements?

YES, the National Cancer Registrars Association (NCRA) has accredited the AHIMA Cancer Registry Management Program, pursuant to their formal education standards and requirements.

Please note: there are a total of three (3) qualification requirements to sit for the CTR exam under Eligibility Route A (formerly Route 2):

  1. Cancer Registry Education: Successful completion of an NCRA-accredited Cancer Registry Management Formal Education Program
  2. College Education: Successful completion of a minimum of an Associate ’s degree or equivalent (4 semesters/6 quarters)
  3. Experience: Successful completion of 160 hours of work practicum in a CTR-staffed Cancer Registry

I would like to apply to sit for the CTR certification exam under Eligibility Route 1, which requires two semesters/three quarters of college-level courses in Human Anatomy and/or Physiology. Can I take AHIMA online courses to satisfy this educational requirement?

Yes, the NCRA Council on Certification has approved the following:

  1. AHIMA’s Human Anatomy and Physiology course will satisfy one (1) semester of the 2-semester anatomy &/or physiology education requirement for Eligibility Route 1.
  2. AHIMA’s Pathophysiology/Pharmacology course will satisfy one (1) semester of the 2-semester anatomy &/or physiology education requirement for Eligibility Route 1.

Successful completion of both courses will fully satisfy the education requirement for Eligibility Route 1. These courses are available for immediate enrollment. Visit our course catalog to register:
https://campus.ahima.org/abo/catalog/lms/Index.aspx?CategoryId=70