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Genetic Counselor

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Life As a Genetic Counselor

Career 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.

List of Genetic Counselor Job Duties

  • Provide patients with information about the inheritance of conditions such as cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, and various forms of cancer.
  • Determine or coordinate treatment plans by requesting laboratory services, reviewing genetics or counseling literature, and considering histories or diagnostic data.
  • Evaluate or make recommendations for standards of care or clinical operations, ensuring compliance with applicable regulations, ethics, legislation, or policies.
  • Interpret laboratory results and communicate findings to patients or physicians.
  • Identify funding sources and write grant proposals for eligible programs or services.
  • Read current literature, talk with colleagues, or participate in professional organizations or conferences to keep abreast of developments in genetics.

Things a Genetic Counselor Should Know How to Do

Below is a list of the skills most Genetic Counselors say are important on the job.

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

  • Staff Genetic Counselor
  • Prenatal and Pediatric Genetic Counselor
  • Clinical Coordinator, Pediatric Genetics
  • Cancer Genetic Counselor
  • Mitochondrial Disorders Counselor

Is There Going to be Demand for Genetic Counselors?

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. Due to new job openings and attrition, there will be an average of 300 job openings in this field each year.

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.

Do Genetic Counselors Make A Lot Of Money?

The salary for Genetic Counselors ranges between about $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.

How much do Genetic Counselors make 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

Tools & Technologies Used by Genetic Counselors

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 do I Become a Genetic Counselor?

Individuals working as a Genetic Counselor have obtained the following education levels:

Genetic Counselor Degree Level

How Long Does it Take to Become a Genetic Counselor?

Genetic Counselor Work Experience

Where do Genetic Counselors Work?

Genetic Counselor Sectors

The table below shows the approximate number of Genetic Counselors employed by various industries.

Genetic Counselor Industries

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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