Genetic Counselors

female-hands-holding-patient-hand
$89,990 Median Wage (2022)
300 Projected job openings (2022-2032)
16.10% Projected growth (2022-2032)

Assess individual or family risk for a variety of inherited conditions, such as genetic disorders and birth defects. Provide information to other healthcare providers or to individuals and families concerned with the risk of inherited conditions. Advise individuals and families to support informed decisionmaking and coping methods for those at risk. May help conduct research related to genetic conditions or genetic counseling.

Experience Requirements Overview

  • Job Zone Five: Extensive Preparation Needed
  • Extensive skill, knowledge, and experience are needed for these occupations. Many require more than five years of experience. For example, surgeons must complete four years of college and an additional five to seven years of specialized medical training to be able to do their job.
  • Most of these occupations require graduate school. For example, they may require a master's degree, and some require a Ph.D., M.D., or J.D. (law degree).
  • Employees may need some on-the-job training, but most of these occupations assume that the person will already have the required skills, knowledge, work-related experience, and/or training.

Education, Training and Experience

Required Level of Education: Master's Degree

Related Work Experience: N.A.

On-Site or In-Plant Training: N.A.

On-the-Job Training: Anything beyond short demonstration, up to and including 1 month

Detailed Work Activities

  • Analyze test data or images to inform diagnosis or treatment.
  • Explain medical procedures or test results to patients or family members.
  • Advise patients on effects of health conditions or treatments.
  • Evaluate patient functioning, capabilities, or health.
  • Communicate detailed medical information to patients or family members.
  • Interact with patients to build rapport or provide emotional support.
  • Analyze patient data to determine patient needs or treatment goals.
  • Develop medical treatment plans.
  • Order medical diagnostic or clinical tests.
  • Inform medical professionals regarding patient conditions and care.
  • Gather medical information from patient histories.
  • Collect medical information from patients, family members, or other medical professionals.
  • Record patient medical histories.
  • Refer patients to other healthcare practitioners or health resources.
  • Prepare reports summarizing patient diagnostic or care activities.
  • Conduct health or safety training programs.
  • Train medical providers.
  • Conduct research to increase knowledge about medical issues.
  • Develop healthcare quality and safety procedures.
  • Advise medical personnel regarding healthcare issues.
  • Maintain medical or professional knowledge.
  • Prepare healthcare training materials.

Work Values

Achievement

Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment. Corresponding needs are Ability Utilization and Achievement.

Working Conditions

Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions. Corresponding needs are Activity, Compensation, Independence, Security, Variety and Working Conditions.

Recognition

Occupations that satisfy this work value offer advancement, potential for leadership, and are often considered prestigious. Corresponding needs are Advancement, Authority, Recognition and Social Status.

Relationships

Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment. Corresponding needs are Co-workers, Moral Values and Social Service.

Support

Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees. Corresponding needs are Company Policies, Supervision: Human Relations and Supervision: Technical.

Independence

Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.

Tasks

  • Interpret laboratory results and communicate findings to patients or physicians.
  • Discuss testing options and the associated risks, benefits and limitations with patients and families to assist them in making informed decisions.
  • Analyze genetic information to identify patients or families at risk for specific disorders or syndromes.
  • Provide counseling to patient and family members by providing information, education, or reassurance.
  • Write detailed consultation reports to provide information on complex genetic concepts to patients or referring physicians.
  • Provide genetic counseling in specified areas of clinical genetics, such as obstetrics, pediatrics, oncology and neurology.
  • Determine or coordinate treatment plans by requesting laboratory services, reviewing genetics or counseling literature, and considering histories or diagnostic data.
  • Interview patients or review medical records to obtain comprehensive patient or family medical histories, and document findings.
  • Assess patients' psychological or emotional needs, such as those relating to stress, fear of test results, financial issues, and marital conflicts to make referral recommendations or assist patients in managing test outcomes.
  • Provide patients with information about the inheritance of conditions such as cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer's disease, diabetes, and various forms of cancer.
  • Read current literature, talk with colleagues, or participate in professional organizations or conferences to keep abreast of developments in genetics.
  • Prepare or provide genetics-related educational materials to patients or medical personnel.
  • Explain diagnostic procedures such as chorionic villus sampling (CVS), ultrasound, fetal blood sampling, and amniocentesis.
  • Refer patients to specialists or community resources.
  • Design and conduct genetics training programs for physicians, graduate students, other health professions or the general community.
  • Evaluate or make recommendations for standards of care or clinical operations, ensuring compliance with applicable regulations, ethics, legislation, or policies.
  • Engage in research activities related to the field of medical genetics or genetic counseling.
  • Collect for, or share with, research projects patient data on specific genetic disorders or syndromes.
  • Identify funding sources and write grant proposals for eligible programs or services.

Work Styles

Achievement/Effort

Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.

Persistence

Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.

Initiative

Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.

Leadership

Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.

Cooperation

Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.

Concern for Others

Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.

Social Orientation

Job requires preferring to work with others rather than alone, and being personally connected with others on the job.

Self-Control

Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.

Stress Tolerance

Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high-stress situations.

Adaptability/Flexibility

Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.

Dependability

Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.

Attention to Detail

Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.

Integrity

Job requires being honest and ethical.

Independence

Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.

Innovation

Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.

Analytical Thinking

Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.

Data Source: This page includes information from the O*NET 28.0 Database by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration (USDOL/ETA). Used under the CC BY 4.0 license. O*NET® is a trademark of USDOL/ETA. This page includes Employment Projections program, Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics program, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.