The Genetic Counseling Professional
The American Board of Genetic Counseling has described the genetic counselor as follows:
A genetic counselor is a health care professional who is academically and clinically prepared to provide genetic counseling services to individuals and families seeking information about the occurrence, or risk of occurrence, of a genetic condition or birth defect.
The genetic counseling process involves the collection and interpretation of family, genetic, medical and psychosocial history information. Analysis of this information, together with an understanding of genetic principles and the knowledge of current technologies, provides clients and their families with information about risk, prognosis, medical management, and diagnostic and prevention options. Information is discussed in a client-centered manner while respecting the broad spectrum of beliefs and value systems that exist in our society. The genetic counseling process ultimately facilitates informed decision-making and promotes behaviors that reduce the risk of disease.
Genetic counselors practice as part of a health care team. Some examples of the types of settings in which genetic counselors work include: hospitals and medical centers, public health agencies, colleges and universities, diagnostic laboratories and biotechnology companies, research institutions, private practice and governmental agencies.
Following successful completion of a genetic counseling graduate program accredited by the American Council for Genetic Counseling (ACGC), most genetic counselors take the Accreditation Board of Genetic Counseling certification exam. Depending upon the presiding laws in the location in which they practice, genetic counselors may be required to obtain state licensure as well. Regardless of their role in clinical care, education,industry or elsewhere, genetic counselors have multiple opportunities both online and via travel to local, regional and national conferences to earn continuing education units for maintenance of their board certification. There are also numerous outlets in the genetic counseling community for genetic counselors to further their skills in leadership, business, political advocacy and professional networking. Genetic counseling is a dynamic, exciting and expanding career field, and we invite you to further explore all of the diverse opportunities that the career offers.
Learn more about Genetic Counseling and Board Certification by visiting
- National Society of Genetic Counselors at http://nsgc.org/p/cm/ld/fid=172
- American Board of Genetic Counseling at http://www.abgc.net/ABGC/AmericanBoardofGeneticCounselors.asp