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Genetic Counseling Profession
Genetic counselors are Master’s-trained health care professionals who combine their knowledge of basic science, medical genetics, epidemiological principles, and counseling theory with their skills in genetic risk assessment, education, interpersonal communication and counseling to provide services to clients and their families for a diverse set of genetic or genomic indications.
Genetic counselors help people “. . . understand and adapt to the medical, psychological and familial implications of genetic contributions to disease.” The process of genetic counseling “. . . integrates the following: interpretation of family and medical histories to assess the chance of disease occurrence or recurrence; education about inheritance, testing, management, prevention, resources and research; counseling to promote informed choices and adaptation to the risk or condition.” (National Society of Genetic Counselors’ Definition Task Force, 2006.)
Genetic counselors are employed in many settings such as medical centers, physician offices, health maintenance organizations, advocacy organizations, governmental agencies, public health departments and biotechnology companies. Those in clinical practice provide education and counseling in areas including reproductive genetics, infertility and preimplantation genetic diagnosis, pediatric genetics, newborn screening follow-up, cancer genetics, neurogenetics, and cardiovascular genetics. Many genetic counselors are actively involved in teaching and research. The profession is growing rapidly with the number of certified genetic counselors increasing over 400 % since 1992.
For more information about the Genetic Counseling profession, please visit the National Society of Genetic Counselors (NSGC) at