Genetic Counselors are health professionals with specialized graduate degrees and experience in the areas of medical genetics and counseling.
In clinical settings, genetic counselors provide information and support to individuals who have or are at risk of having birth defects or genetic conditions, as well as to their families. They analyze family history information, interpret information about specific disorders, discuss the inheritance patterns, assess the risk to individuals, and review available options for testing or management with families. In addition to informative counseling, genetic counselors also provide supportive counseling to help individuals and families cope with and adapt to their altered circumstances.
Some genetic counselors also work in research settings, where they use the same diagnostic skills to discover how disorders are inherited and evaluate what can be done to treat them.
Genetic counselors often have teaching roles, in addition to their clinical or research work. They are involved in educating medical residents, medical students, genetic counseling students, physicians, other health care providers, and the general public, about human genetics.
Most students enter the field by receiving a bachelor's degree from a variety of disciplines, including biology, genetics, nursing, psychology, public health and social work. In order to become a Certified Genetic Counselor (CGC©), one must obtain a Master's degree in Genetic Counseling from an ACGC Accredited Program. Once all requirements have been met, one may apply and sit for the Certification Examination.
Median Salary 2018
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary of a Genetic Counselor in 2018 was $80,370.
Want to know more?
- O*NET: Genetic Counselors
- Science Buddies: Genetic Counselors
- National Society of Genetic Counselors
- American Board of Genetic Counseling (ABGC)
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