Richard A. Henson School of Science & Technology

Genetic Counseling Preparation

www.nsgc.org

Genetic Counselors are health care professionals who have obtained special graduate degrees and experiences in the areas of medical genetics and counseling. Genetic counselors are part of a health care team that provides support and information to families who have members with birth defects or genetic disorders and to families who may be at risk for a variety of inherited conditions.

The Master’s Degree in Genetic Counseling is the preferred degree in the United States. Courses typically include clinical genetics, population genetics, molecular genetics, psychosocial theory, ethics, and counseling techniques. Certification in Genetic Counseling is available by the American Board of Genetic Counseling (ABGC). The following website lists the accredited Genetics Counseling programs in the United States:

http://www.abgc.net/Training_Program_Accreditation/US_Accredited_Programs.asp

A bachelor’s degree is required to enter graduate programs, but no particular degree is required. Most genetic counselors have entered the profession from a variety of disciplines including medical laboratory science, genetics, nursing, psychology, public health, biology and social work. You should select a major that would be a good career for you if you decide against genetics counseling as a career or if you are unable to obtain admission into a program. Within your degree, you must include the required prerequisite classes in your selected major and do very well academically. Requirements vary by program, so it is important to consult the requirements at the accredited programs listed on the website above. However, the following courses are generally required:

Inorganic Chemistry (1 year with Lab)
CHEM 121, 122

Biochemistry (1 semester)
CHEM 417 or equivalent

Behavorial Science (1 year)
PSYC 300 and one additional PSYC course

Genetics
BIOL 360 or 370

Biology (1 year with Lab)

BIOL 210/213 for programs that only require general biology

BIOL 215/216 for programs that require Human Anatomy and Physiology;  highly recommended

Statistics
MATH 155

Volunteer or internship hours that involve counseling or patient contact are recommended and could be required by some programs.

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