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Genetic Counselor

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Life As a Genetic Counselor

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.

Genetic Counselor Responsibilities

  • Prepare or provide genetics-related educational materials to patients or medical personnel.
  • Interpret laboratory results and communicate findings to patients or physicians.
  • Write detailed consultation reports to provide information on complex genetic concepts to patients or referring physicians.
  • Explain diagnostic procedures such as chorionic villus sampling (CVS), ultrasound, fetal blood sampling, and amniocentesis.
  • Determine or coordinate treatment plans by requesting laboratory services, reviewing genetics or counseling literature, and considering histories or diagnostic data.
  • Collect for, or share with, research projects patient data on specific genetic disorders or syndromes.

Skills Needed to be a Genetic Counselor

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.

Types of Genetic Counselor Jobs

  • Coordinator of Genetic Services
  • Senior Genetic Counselor
  • Prenatal Genetic Counselor
  • Staff Genetic Counselor
  • Cancer Program Consultant

Job Demand for Genetic Counselors

In 2016, there was an estimated number of 3,100 jobs in the United States for Genetic Counselor. 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.

Forecasted Number of Jobs for Genetic Counselors in U.S.

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.

Salary for a Genetic Counselor

Genetic Counselors make between $52,750 and $107,450 a year.

Salary Ranges for Genetic Counselors

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
Alabama $48,800
Arizona $80,160
California $89,530
Colorado $87,290
District of Columbia $79,300
Florida $54,730
Georgia $82,370
Illinois $83,580
Indiana $74,950
Maryland $68,370
Massachusetts $83,540
Michigan $71,710
Minnesota $78,550
Missouri $72,780
Nevada $95,830
New Jersey $85,420
New York $86,810
North Carolina $71,600
Ohio $77,110
Oregon $80,870
Pennsylvania $73,410
South Carolina $81,140
Tennessee $75,680
Texas $92,960
Utah $85,330
Washington $84,450
Wisconsin $82,070

What Tools do Genetic Counselors Use?

Although they’re not necessarily needed for all jobs, the following technologies are used by many Genetic Counselors:

  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft Word
  • Microsoft Office
  • Microsoft PowerPoint
  • Web browser software
  • Microsoft Access
  • Database software
  • FileMaker Pro

How to Become a Genetic Counselor

Learn what Genetic Counselor education requirements there are.

Genetic Counselor Degree Level

How many years of work experience do I need?

Genetic Counselor Work Experience

Who Employs Genetic Counselors?

Genetic Counselor Sectors

The table below shows some of the most common industries where those employed in this career field work.

Genetic Counselor Industries

Similar Careers

Those thinking about becoming a Genetic Counselor might also be interested in the following careers:


Image Credit: Staff Sgt. Katie Spencer via Public domain

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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