Genetic Counselor

Genetic counselors provide information and support to those who have birth defects
or genetic (inherited) disorders, or who are at risk for such conditions. Genetic counselors may conduct research on the cause or treatment of disorders, or they may work
to help families and individuals cope with the condition.
Genetic counselors:
• explain the likelihood that other family members will experience the same
• help individuals and families choose the best course of action, given the level
of risk, family goals and ethical or religious values.
• evaluate family medical histories to determine the role of heredity.
• help individuals and families learn the facts and understand how to manage
the disorder.
• perform research in the field of medical genetics and genetic counseling.
• educate and inform other health professionals and the general public.
Genetic counselors seeking further education may specialize in molecular, biochemical, medical or population genetics or psychology. They may specialize according to
types of conditions, such as muscular dystrophy, cancer or mental retardation. They
often work for universities, at research centers and teaching hospitals, while some are
employed by public health organizations or government agencies with specific genetic
health interests
Average Salary
$28,000 – $70,000
Educational Requirements
Students interested in becoming genetic
counselors should prepare by taking the
most challenging high school courses available in science, math and English, including
advanced placement courses.
Genetic counselors have master’s degrees
in genetic counseling and are certified. The
requirements for admission to master’s
level programs vary by school, but most
applicants have undergraduate training in
biology, chemistry or behavioral
Professional Associations
American College of Medical Genetics
9650 Rockville Pike
Bethesda, MD 20814-3889
(301) 530-7127
National Society of Genetic Counselors
233 Canterbury Drive
Wallingford, PA 19086-6617
(610) 872-7608,