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.
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.
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|
|District of Columbia||$79,300|
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:
How Long Does it Take to Become a Genetic Counselor?
Where do Genetic Counselors Work?
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.