Genetic Counselor

After a person completes the necessary training to become a genetic counselor, he or she will be able to determine how personal genomes effect human beings. Genetic counselors help patents determine whether they have predispositions to heart disease, diabetes, cancer, Parkinson's, or many other diseases, and recommend potential gene therapies. If it is discovered that a patient has a predisposition to disease, a genetic counselor can recommend preventative treatment.

Even before genome sequencing technology existed, genetic counselors advised patients about solutions to possible health problems. For example, a genetic counselor could advise a patient with a predisposition to heart disease about heart attack prevention solutions.

About 90 percent of genetic counselors are extremely pleased with their career choice. Genetic counselors do not have to work with people currently suffering from debilitating diseases. They help patients explore possible preventative treatment strategies and usually about little more than an hour our two with patients and their families. There is a growing job market for genetic counselor jobs.

Genetic counselors have many career options. In the past, they usually advised pregnant women about prenatal options. After the decoding of the human genome, genetic counselors can reasonably predict a person's likelihood of developing a specific disease. Genetic counselors also work with pharmaceutical companies to screen and advise participants in clinical trials.

Genetic counselors have few promotion opportunities. Some become professors, but most remain as genetic counselors. However, genetic counselors have opportunities to publish articles for academic journals, speak to legislators, and speak to community groups.


Potential genetic counselors usually have a bachelor's degree in genetics, biology, nursing, public health, social work, or psychology. Then, to become one, a candidate needs to earn a master's degree from one of the 32 accredited programs and pass the American Board of Genetic Counseling Examination.

Salary Data

Median (8 years of experience): $67,200

25-75 percentile (8 years or more experience): $65,500-77,900

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