What does a Genetic Counselor do?
|Citation||Retrieved in 2017 from BLS.org|
Separate from other health science professions, a genetic counselor focuses on giving their patients power through knowledge. They explain your family history and the chances of a condition to occur or reoccur. They also counsel individuals or entire families for the promotion of informed choices and the adaptation to the risks and conditions. They can also work as pharmaceutical consultants for companies and in private practices.
How to Become a Genetic Counselor
Genetic counselors generally have at least a master’s degree in genetic counseling or genetics. Some go on to earn a Ph.D. Coursework includes biology, human development, epidemiology, psychology, and public health. Most degree programs require students to complete clinical rotations that interact directly with patients prior to graduating.
Job Description of a Genetic Counselor
Genetic counselors work in a vast array of laboratory, clinical, and research settings. Their career options include counseling pregnant women, couples that are planning pregnancy, couples having trouble conceiving, those at risk for having a child with a genetic condition, and women who have experienced miscarriages.
They also counsel families, parents, children, and teenagers who have genetic conditions such as deafness, sickle cell disease, birth defects, and developmental disabilities. They counsel people with genetic and medical conditions or those with a family history of conditions that include cardiovascular disease, cancer, Alzheimer disease, and Huntington disease.
Genetic counselors also advise physicians and other people who have ordered genetic testing about the most appropriate genetic test and about how to interpret the test. They can also work in public health settings and improve access to services.