Health Career Center

Genetic Counselors

Genetic counselors are health specialists who’ve completed specialized training in medical genetics. As medical specialists, genetic counselors assist individuals who’ve been diagnosed with genetic disorders. Genetic counselors review charts detailing family history and teach patients and other medical specialists about genetic diseases. Since they possess specialized counseling skills, genetic counselors help patients and their loved ones understand potential genetic testing options and the consequences of such testing. Additionally, these specialists address ethical questions associated with genetic testing and treatment.

As members of medical teams, genetic counselors teach patients, doctors, and other medical specialists how to treat people with genetic disorders and participate in public awareness campaigns to educate the public about these disorders.

Career Opportunities
Genetic counselors are required to hold master’s degrees in genetic counseling before being permitted to practice professionally. After earning a degree, genetic counselors must pass thorough board examinations before certifying with the American Board of Genetic Counseling. Genetic counselors work in various clinical environments, including neurology, oncology, pediatric, prenatal, pre-conception, and other medical clinics. Some genetic counselors teach and conduct research at universities, and some setup and manage private practices.

Genetic counselors are also employed at research facilities, laboratories, healthcare administration departments, and schools. Job growth in the field of genetic counseling is expected to continue through the near future. Increased focus placed on personalized medicine is expected to increase demand for genetic counselors trained to explain complex scientific and medical data to patients, their loved ones, and other medical professionals.

Education and Training
Many American universities offer genetic counseling graduate programs. Students earning graduate degrees in this field are required to complete classes in medical ethics, counseling, molecular genetics, psychology, clinical genetics, and cytogenetics. Aspiring genetic counselors should enroll in an American Board of Genetic Counseling (ABGC) accredited graduate program. Before being certified, genetic counselors must pass the ABGC’s certification examination.

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Psychologists specialize in analyzing human behavior and brain function. They study all features of human experience, including child development, cognitive function, and human relationships. Psychology offers a wide array of career opportunities.

Salary: $30,000 - $78,654

Education: 4 - 8 Years (beyond high school)

Job Outlook: Excellent

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