Allied Health Professions/
Genetic counselors are health professionals with specialized graduate degrees and experience in the areas of medical genetics and counseling. Most enter the field from a variety of disciplines, including biology, genetics, nursing, psychology, public health and social work.
The genetic counseling profession is rapidly expanding and diversifying. Heightened public awareness, coupled with scientific advances in adult disorders and reproductive technologies, have increased the demand for genetic counselors in clinical, teaching, administrative, commercial, private practice and consulting environments. This trend is expected to continue well into the 21st century.
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Currently, numerous training programs offer master's degrees in genetic counseling in the United States. Coursework typically includes clinical genetics, population genetics, cytogenetics and molecular genetics coupled with psychosocial theory, ethics and counseling techniques.
Clinical placement in medical genetics centers approved by the American Board of Genetic Counseling (ABGC) is an integral part of the degree requirements.
There are also programs for nurses seeking post-graduate degrees with specialty training in genetics.
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After earning a degree, genetic counselors become certified by sitting for a certification exam administered by the ABGC.
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Allied Health Professions
Last updated: December 11, 2013
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