National Vital Statistics System

Training and Instructional Materials

Birth and death information is an important source of statistical data for identifying public health problems, monitoring progress in public health, informing the allocation of research and prevention funds, and conducting scientific research. For these reasons, complete, accurate, and standardized reporting of vital events is critical.

The following materials are produced by the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) and provide detailed guidance on completion of vital records, as well as procedures involved in the classification, coding, and processing of data collected from vital records.

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Screenshot for Cause of Death Reporting Training

Online training in coding and classification of U.S. Standard Certificates and Reports. Select training offers continuing education credits.

Vital Statistics Guidance Series Topics - Births, Natural Disasters, Human Induced Disasters, Death, Autopsy

Topic-specific guidance and case reports designed to address issues impacting the quality of vital statistics reporting.

NVSS App Logo

Quick reference guide for certifying cause of death, with instructions and examples of how to fill out a death certificate.

Handbooks for coding and classification of vital records

Handbooks and guides detail the operation of the registration system, item-by-item instructions for completing each item on certificates and reports, and rationale for collecting the information.

Instruction Manual Cover Page

Manuals provide technical details on classification and coding, specifications for the U.S. standard certificates and reports, and comprehensive descriptions of computer edits used by NCHS in processing natality and mortality data.

Image of fingerprint

General and topic-specific guidance to help medical certifiers correctly report the cause(s) of death on the death certificate.

Page last reviewed: February 10, 2022