Genetic Counselor Career

genetic-counselor-500In today’s world, we are discovering more and increasing our knowledge about developing infants and the risks and proclivities for them to inherit certain diseases. Genetic Counselors are trained in understanding these many different illnesses and their outcomes. They are needed to not only provide information but also to assist in the emotional needs patients and loved ones may have when faced with a scary prognosis.

The role of Genetic Counselors, while focused in years past almost exclusively on prenatal health, has expanded to include specializations in cancer, cardiovascular health, pediatrics, psychiatry, neurology, metabolism, and genomic medicine. After an abnormal test or an ultrasound, physicians may refer patients to a Genetic Counselor to receive additional help and to provide healing in dealing with insurance companies.

Genetic Counselor Career Snapshot

Genetic Counselors can work in a variety of environments, including physicians’ offices, hospitals, colleges, and universities. Many are employed in medical establishments providing counseling for families at risk for genetic maladies, but many others will find employment working for insurance companies, assisting in research studies, and working for the government on projects involving public health.

Further details on a career as a genetic counselor are listed below (statistics from the May 2015 Bureau of Labor Statistics and Onet Online):


is the average yearly salary for genetic counselors.


increase in employment between 2014 and 2024.


have a Master’s degree.

Genetic Counselor Education

To be a Genetic Counselor, you will need to obtain your master’s degree in either genetic counseling or in genetics. You will also need to receive your board certification. Genetic Counselors will need to knowledgeable on certain diseases and the likelihood of their being carried by particular individuals.

Genetic Counselor Job Duties

Genetic Counselors work to provide assistance to physicians treating patients and offer assessments for families at risk for certain inherited conditions and birth abnormalities. They can provide counseling for relatives dealing with an autism diagnosis or developmental delay and may also do so for adults who are facing adult-onset illnesses. Genetic Counselors have an important role to play in the care of cancer patients, especially those who are dealing with more than one type of cancer.

Genetic Counselor Salaries

The pay reported in the lowest 10% bracket for Genetic Counselors was $49,760 according to data, while the compensation in the highest 10% was $109,650. The median annual wage received was $49,760. These figures reflect data collected from May 2015.

Genetic Counselor Job Outlook

This is a career path that is exploding with possibilities and growth. As continued research provides newer understandings of the relationship between genetics and the development of various infirmities, the need for Genetic Counselors ever increases. The field is predicted to expand by 29%, a rate faster than most other jobs, between 2016 and 2024.

Genetic Counselor Skills & Traits

Genetic Counselor Skill Set:Required Abilities:Tools Used by Genetic Counselors:Typical Work Activities:
• Reading Comprehension
• Active Listening
• Complex Problem Solving
• Active Learning
• Critical Thinking
• Written Comprehension
• Deductive Reasoning
• Inductive Reasoning
• Oral Comprehension
• Oral Expression
• Benchtop centrifuges
• Cryostats
• Deoxyribonucleic sequence analyzers
• Fluorescent microscopes
• Ultracentrifuges
•Translating and explaining information br>• Using relevant knowledge
• Getting information
• Caring for others
• Recording information

Related Careers

What Do Related Careers Pay?