Genetic counseling is a rewarding career, as evidenced by the explosive growth in genetic counselors; since 2006, the number of genetic counselors has grown by more than 100 percent and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statics projects a growth rate of 29 percent for genetic counseling positions through 2026. But, there is still a great need for more genetic counselors.
For many genetic counselors, the first step to becoming a genetic counselor is to earn an undergraduate Bachelor’s degree that includes coursework in genetics, biochemistry, psychology and statistics. Ideal candidates also have experiences such as patient advocacy, counseling, scientific lab or healthcare volunteer work.
Upon completion of a degree, certification through the American Board of Genetic Counseling (ABGC), demonstrates that the individual has met the standards necessary to provide competent genetic counseling. Many hospitals and clinics insist their genetic counselors be ABGC-certified.
- Clinical experience in various genetic specialties
- Coursework in human genetics, psychosocial counseling, bioethics, research methodology, genetic testing technology and more
- Research other independent study projects
- Additional activities including education, advocacy experiences, case conferences, etc.
More Information about Becoming a Genetic Counselor
For more information about becoming a genetic counselor, including information on the application process and accreditation, please visit NSGC's patient-focused site here.