What is a Genetic Counselor?
Job Description: Assess individual or family risk for a variety of inherited conditions, such as genetic disorders and birth defects. Provide information to other healthcare providers or to individuals and families concerned with the risk of inherited conditions. Advise individuals and families to support informed decisionmaking and coping methods for those at risk. May help conduct research related to genetic conditions or genetic counseling.
Life As a Genetic Counselor: What Do They Do?
- Discuss testing options and the associated risks, benefits and limitations with patients and families to assist them in making informed decisions.
- Collect for, or share with, research projects patient data on specific genetic disorders or syndromes.
- Explain diagnostic procedures such as chorionic villus sampling (CVS), ultrasound, fetal blood sampling, and amniocentesis.
- Interpret laboratory results and communicate findings to patients or physicians.
- Assess patients’ psychological or emotional needs, such as those relating to stress, fear of test results, financial issues, and marital conflicts to make referral recommendations or assist patients in managing test outcomes.
- Provide patients with information about the inheritance of conditions such as cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, and various forms of cancer.
Genetic Counselor Skills
These are the skills Genetic Counselors say are the most useful in their careers:
Reading Comprehension: Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
Active Listening: Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Complex Problem Solving: Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
Social Perceptiveness: Being aware of others’ reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
Speaking: Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Critical Thinking: Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
Other Genetic Counselor Job Titles
- Prenatal Genetic Counselor
- Senior Genetic Counselor
- Staff Genetic Counselor
- Clinical Coordinator, Pediatric Genetics
- Cancer Program Consultant
Genetic Counselor Job Outlook
In the United States, there were 3,100 jobs for Genetic Counselor in 2016. New jobs are being produced at a rate of 29% which is above the national average. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 900 new jobs for Genetic Counselor by 2026. The BLS estimates 300 yearly job openings in this field.
The states with the most job growth for Genetic Counselor are Utah, Arizona, and Colorado. Watch out if you plan on working in Nebraska, Idaho, or Missouri. These states have the worst job growth for this type of profession.
Do Genetic Counselors Make A Lot Of Money?
The typical yearly salary for Genetic Counselors is somewhere between $52,750 and $107,450.
Genetic Counselors who work in Texas, California, or Nevada, make the highest salaries.
Below is a list of the median annual salaries for Genetic Counselors in different U.S. states.
|State||Annual Mean Salary|
|District of Columbia||$79,300|
What Tools & Technology do Genetic Counselors Use?
Below is a list of the types of tools and technologies that Genetic Counselors may use on a daily basis:
- Microsoft Excel
- Microsoft Word
- Microsoft Office
- Microsoft PowerPoint
- Web browser software
- Microsoft Access
- Database software
- FileMaker Pro
How to Become a Genetic Counselor
Education needed to be a Genetic Counselor:
How Long Does it Take to Become a Genetic Counselor?
Who Employs Genetic Counselors?
The table below shows the approximate number of Genetic Counselors employed by various industries.
Those thinking about becoming a Genetic Counselor might also be interested in the following careers:
More about our data sources and methodologies.