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PRE-GENETIC COUNSELING PROGRAM

Discover a Career at the
Intersection of Genetics and Human Health

We hope to help build out a safe, diverse and inclusive industry that better represents the greater population by sharing resources and support for individuals that may be interested in working in this amazing field.

PRE-GENETIC COUNSELING PROGRAM

Discover a Career
at the Intersection
of Genetics and
Human Health

We hope to help build out a safe, diverse and inclusive industry that better represents the greater population by sharing resources and support for individuals that may be interested in working in this amazing field.

Learn More About Genetic Counseling Through
Talking to Professionals and Exploring Resources

Learn more about Genetic Counseling by attending the quarterly Genome Medical roundtable. In this interactive workshop, we will hear real patient stories and discuss bioethical cases as a group. We look forward to hearing your ideas and experiences through this open discussion. There will also be time dedicated to answering your questions, which can either be sent in ahead of time through the registration or posted in the chat during the event. We look forward to seeing you at the event!

Webinar Registration:

Learn More About Genetic Counseling Through Talking to Professionals

Speak directly with GCs as we talk through a day-in-the-life, why the profession is important, and how you have the skills to do it.

November 16, 2021 at 12 PM PT / 3 PM ET

Register Now



February 22, 2022, at 12pm PT/3pm ET:

Not able to attend on these dates? Sign up for an email notification about when the next quarterly webinar will be hosted.

Learn More About Genetic Counseling Through
Talking to Professionals and Exploring Resources

Learn more about Genetic Counseling by attending the quarterly Genome Medical roundtable. In this interactive workshop, we will hear real patient stories and discuss bioethical cases as a group. We look forward to hearing your ideas and experiences through this open discussion. There will also be time dedicated to answering your questions, which can either be sent in ahead of time through the registration or posted in the chat during the event. We look forward to seeing you at the event!

Webinar Registration:

Learn More About Genetic Counseling Through Talking to Professionals

Speak directly with GCs as we talk through a day-in-the-life, why the profession is important, and how you have the skills to do it.

November 16, 2021 at 12 PM PT / 3 PM ET

Register Now
Join us for our future webinar dates!

February 22, 2022, at 12pm PT/3pm ET:

Register Now

Not able to attend on these dates? Sign up for an email notification about when the next quarterly webinar will be hosted.



Seeking Additional Resources?

Explore Example Sessions, Podcasts, Internship Opportunities and More

Download Resources

The most helpful action you can take is speaking directly with GCs through the webinar, in your area, or virtually. In addition though, there are many more resources available online to explore what it means to be a genetic counselor and what you can do to prepare. Books, blogs, podcasts, and social media from genetic counselors dive into their experiences and practices. Recorded example counsel sessions provide a window into GCs in action. And internship opportunities allow direct work in this intersection of genetics and human health.

Seeking Additional Resources?

Explore Example Sessions, Podcasts, Internship Opportunities and More

Download Resources

The most helpful action you can take is speaking directly with GCs through the webinar, in your area, or virtually. In addition though, there are many more resources available online to explore what it means to be a genetic counselor and what you can do to prepare. Books, blogs, podcasts, and social media from genetic counselors dive into their experiences and practices. Recorded example counsel sessions provide a window into GCs in action. And internship opportunities allow direct work in this intersection of genetics and human health.

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Genetic Counselor?

A genetic counselor (GC) is the person who orders and conveys genetic test results to patients. They interface directly with patients, harnessing communication, teaching, and counseling skills, as well as work to solve puzzles to better understand which single or combined gene variants could be causing a patient’s symptoms and/or family history. Genetic counselors have broad genetic knowledge and the ability to interpret scientific literature. A genetic counselor is a lifelong learner as the field of genetics is constantly evolving. There are a number of different subspecialties that a GC can work in, such as prenatal, cancer, cardiac, pediatrics, and much more. The settings for a GC’s role also varies from academic medical centers and private/public hospitals, to diagnostic labs and health maintenance organizations. The same educational program prepares GCs for any of these fields and allows for career flexibility.

What is genetic testing? Why would a patient seek genetic testing?

Genetic testing is a powerful tool used to understand the underlying genetic changes that may lead to a personal or family history of genetic conditions. By sequencing the DNA of an individual (with a cheek swab, saliva sample, or in some cases a blood or tissue sample), you can find variants (also called mutations) that may be disease causing. This is useful because a genetic confirmation can be necessary to diagnose some diseases, and with a diagnosis or known elevated risk of disease, comes additional preventative care like specific treatments, relevant screenings, or a chance to make lifestyle changes that may help to prevent the disease. When the patient and their medical team know their variants, they all can also select the proper treatments, communicate risk of disease in their children, and discuss disease risk with their extended family who may also want to seek genetic testing.

Who would know about the genetic test results? Can they be misused?

Genetic results are Personal Health Information (PHI) and are protected under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), meaning only health professionals directly working on a patient’s case will see the information for the purpose of providing specific care to the patient. Patients may also fear that a diagnosis or known long-term elevated risk for contracting a disease could be used to discriminate against them by health insurance or future employers. Civilians are specifically protected against this by Title II of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA). Genetic testing is kept private and is a vital tool for understanding and optimizing patient health.

Why become a Genetic Counselor?

If you have a passion for science and want to work directly with people, genetic counseling is a great career choice. The GC profession has been ranked one of the best science careers, with high satisfaction (94% of professionals feeling “satisfied” or “very satisfied” in 2018), low unemployment (only 1% reported being unemployed at any time between 2016 and 2017), and high growth of openings (the profession has grown by over 100% in the last 10 years and is expected to grow another 75% in the next 10 years). There is a ton of flexibility and room for growth in this interdisciplinary mix of people and science.

Do you see patients?

In many subspecialities of genetic counseling, yes! There are many clinical roles, where GCs work directly with patients in a face-to-face or telehealth clinic. There are also non-direct roles where the GC utilizes their communication, patient advocacy, and genetic skills to curate variants found during testing, manage genetic testing products/programs, create patient or provider educational materials, and much more.

How do I become a Genetic Counselor?

To become a Certified Genetic Counselor (CGC), you’ll need a Master of Science in Genetic Counseling (from an ACGC accredited program) and pass the Board exam (administered by ABGC). The GC program will prepare you for your career in whichever subspeciality you may want to pursue. You’ll have classes that teach you genetics, research, and counseling, as well as observations to see how active GCs work and clinical rotations to practice directly with patients. Ultimately, the program is preparing you to learn because this is such a rapidly evolving field that you’ll spend the rest of your career learning the most recent science.

To apply for these GC programs, there is a written application and interviews. Applicants who receive an interview and the Programs participate in a ranking process and Match Day occurs each Spring (typically in late April).

What is the Match System/School Ranking?

Genetic Counseling programs use the National Match Service because the programs want to stay small to provide a specialized learning environment. After interviews, applicants rank all of their schools in order of preference and schools rank all their applicants. Each accepted applicant is matched with a program based on their mutual highest choice. It should be noted that it may take more than 1 attempt to match with a graduate program. This is the same matching system used in Medical Residency. Here’s a video explaining the matching algorithm in further detail.

What should I do in college to prepare?

When applying, you want to have both the pre-requisite courses completed as well as various exposures or experiences. Pre-reqs vary by program so you will want to check out the list at the specific schools you’re looking at, but they generally include chemistry, biology, genetics, biochemistry, psychology or sociology, and statistics. It’s also good to have some kind of counseling experience (like working on a crisis hotline or peer counseling environment), disability experience (working with kids or families with different abilities), research experience, and/or teaching experience. It’s also important to speak with and shadow genetic counselors.

How do I find shadowing opportunities?

It can be challenging to find GCs in your area whose clinics are able to host shadowing opportunities. There are online recordings of counseling sessions whether or not in-person shadowing becomes available. It’s also definitely worth reaching out to GCs in your area for informational interviews, many are very open to speaking, at least briefly, and will be able to answer questions you may have. The National Society of Genetic Counselors (NSGC) has a Find a Genetic Counselor search tool in which you can filter by counselors who have included “Student Contact Welcome” in their profile.