Becoming a Genetic Counselor

Genetic Counselors detect the hereditary and genetic disorders among the people by reviewing the patient’s family medical history. In addition, they explain the test procedures and offer full support to the patients and their family members. Other healthcare professionals and students also get help from the Genetic Counselors about genetic disorders and their consequences.

These professionals generally work at hospitals, universities, private clinics and research laboratories. They are trained in Molecular genetics, Genetic screening, Counseling ethics and techniques, Research methods, Prenatal diagnosis, Population studies and Birth defects. Their job responsibilities include:

  • Analyzing patient history
  • Performing genetic risk calculations
  • Conducting genetic testing
  • Educating families about potential health risks
  • Helping patients during diagnosis

Education Requirements:

  1. Earn a Bachelor’s Degree: A Bachelor’s Degree in Biology or any health related field is required to become eligible for a Master’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree program provides students with in-depth knowledge in science and mathematics. The coursework also include genetics, biochemistry and statistics.
  2. Earn a Master’s Degree: A Master’s Degree in Genetic Counseling is must for the aspiring Genetic Counselors. This program will focus on coursework on human genetics, laboratory research, counseling etc.
  3. Certification: The Genetic Counselors need to obtain the certification from the American Board of Genetic Counselors (ABGC). After completing the graduate degree, the candidates can sit for the written examination. The certification gives the candidates and edge in job search.

Salary & Job Outlook:

The average salary of Genetic Counselors was $49,038 – $92,349 per year in 2013, as per The job outlook remains average in this profession, as the requirement in this sector is not so high.