Genetic Counselors

Health Science > Therapeutic Services

Projected Growth: Much faster than average

300+
Projected Job Openings

Extensive Preparation Needed

Job Description

Your job is to 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.

Common job titles of Genetic Counselors include:
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Experience and Education

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.

  • 100% said they needed a Master's Degree.

Tasks

    Analyze genetic information to identify patients or families at risk for specific disorders or syndromes.

    Provide patients with information about the inheritance of conditions such as cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer's disease, diabetes, and various forms of cancer.

    Prepare or provide genetics-related educational materials to patients or medical personnel.

    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.

    Interview patients or review medical records to obtain comprehensive patient or family medical histories, and document findings.

    Determine or coordinate treatment plans by requesting laboratory services, reviewing genetics or counseling literature, and considering histories or diagnostic data.

    Write detailed consultation reports to provide information on complex genetic concepts to patients or referring physicians.

    Provide counseling to patient and family members by providing information, education, or reassurance.

    Discuss testing options and the associated risks, benefits and limitations with patients and families to assist them in making informed decisions.

    Interpret laboratory results and communicate findings to patients or physicians.

    Provide genetic counseling in specified areas of clinical genetics, such as obstetrics, pediatrics, oncology and neurology.

    Explain diagnostic procedures such as chorionic villus sampling (CVS), ultrasound, fetal blood sampling, and amniocentesis.

    Read current literature, talk with colleagues, or participate in professional organizations or conferences to keep abreast of developments in genetics.

    Refer patients to specialists or community resources.

    Engage in research activities related to the field of medical genetics or genetic counseling.

    Evaluate or make recommendations for standards of care or clinical operations, ensuring compliance with applicable regulations, ethics, legislation, or policies.

    Collect for, or share with, research projects patient data on specific genetic disorders or syndromes.

    Design and conduct genetics training programs for physicians, graduate students, other health professions or the general community.

    Identify funding sources and write grant proposals for eligible programs or services.

Tools

Ultracentrifuges

Table top centrifuges

Phosphor imagers

Personal computers

Microplate readers

High speed centrifuges

Gel documentation systems

All Tools

Fluorescent microscopes

Differential interference microscopes

Cryostats

Benchtop ultracentrifuges

Automated deoxyribonucleic acid DNA sequencers

Technologies

Benetech PRA

BRCAPRO

Breast Cancer Risk Assessment Tool

CancerGene

CyrillicSoftware Cyrillic

FileMaker Pro

Ftree

All Technologies

Jurek Software Pedigree-Draw

Medgen PED

PedHunter

PediDraw

Pedigree drawing and management software

Progeny Software Progeny Clinical

SynDiag

Wageningen MapChart

Skills

Reading Comprehension

Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.

Complex Problem Solving

Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.

Active Listening

Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.

Speaking

Talking to others to convey information effectively.

Active Learning

Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.

Writing

Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.

Critical Thinking

Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

Social Perceptiveness

Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.

Science

Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.

Judgment and Decision Making

Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.

Instructing

Teaching others how to do something.

Service Orientation

Actively looking for ways to help people.

Systems Analysis

Determining how a system should work and how changes in conditions, operations, and the environment will affect outcomes.

Time Management

Managing one's own time and the time of others.

Learning Strategies

Selecting and using training/instructional methods and procedures appropriate for the situation when learning or teaching new things.

Monitoring

Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.

Coordination

Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.

Persuasion

Persuading others to change their minds or behavior.

Negotiation

Bringing others together and trying to reconcile differences.

Systems Evaluation

Identifying measures or indicators of system performance and the actions needed to improve or correct performance, relative to the goals of the system.

Abilities

Read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.

Cognitive Abilities › Verbal Abilities › Written Comprehension

Apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.

Cognitive Abilities › Idea Generation and Reasoning Abilities › Deductive Reasoning

Listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.

Cognitive Abilities › Verbal Abilities › Oral Comprehension

Communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.

Cognitive Abilities › Verbal Abilities › Oral Expression

Communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.

Cognitive Abilities › Verbal Abilities › Written Expression

Tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.

Cognitive Abilities › Idea Generation and Reasoning Abilities › Problem Sensitivity

Combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).

Cognitive Abilities › Idea Generation and Reasoning Abilities › Inductive Reasoning

Arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).

Cognitive Abilities › Idea Generation and Reasoning Abilities › Information Ordering

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Occupation Sections

Knowledge

Biology

Knowledge of plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, interdependencies, and interactions with each other and the environment.

Psychology

Knowledge of human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioral and affective disorders.

Medicine and Dentistry

Knowledge of the information and techniques needed to diagnose and treat human injuries, diseases, and deformities. This includes symptoms, treatment alternatives, drug properties and interactions, and preventive health-care measures.

Therapy and Counseling

Knowledge of principles, methods, and procedures for diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of physical and mental dysfunctions, and for career counseling and guidance.

English Language

Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.

Mathematics

Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.

Sociology and Anthropology

Knowledge of group behavior and dynamics, societal trends and influences, human migrations, ethnicity, cultures and their history and origins.

Education and Training

Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.

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