Youre a What Genetic CounselorReport as inadecuate

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Occupational Outlook Quarterly, v55 n2 p34-35 Sum 2011

When it first emerged about 50 years ago, genetic counseling focused primarily on prenatal testing to detect genetic conditions. But counseling services have evolved to keep pace with a greater knowledge of genetics and wider application of genetic diagnostic testing. Today, there are several types of genetic counselors, and their expertise covers thousands of genetic conditions and spans the entire human life cycle. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics does not have data on employment or wages for genetic counselors. According to the American Board of Genetic Counseling, however, there are roughly 2,400 certified genetic counselors in the United States. And they earn a median annual salary of about $63,000, according to data from the National Society of Genetic Counselors. Genetic counselors must have a master's degree in genetic counseling from a program accredited by American Board of Genetic Counseling. There are currently 30 of these master's programs nationwide, and admission to them usually requires completion of significant undergraduate coursework in biological science. The programs combine scientific aspects of genetics with counseling study and take about 2 years to finish. In addition, most employers require certification, and some states require licensure.

Descriptors: Genetic Disorders, Counselors, Allied Health Occupations, Occupational Information

Bureau of Labor Statistics. Division of Information and Marketing Services, 2 Massachusetts Avenue NE Room 2850, Washington, DC 20212. Tel: 202-691-5200; Fax: 202-691-6235; e-mail: ooqinfo[at]; Web site:

Author: Mullins, John


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