What is Genetic Counseling?
Genetic counseling is the process of helping people understand and adapt to the medical, psychological, and familial implications of genetic contributions to disease. This process integrates:
- Interpretation of family and medical histories to assess the chance of disease occurence 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, 2005
How Do You Become a Genetic Counselor?
A genetic counselor is a trained healthcare professional who completes a Master’s degree in Genetic Counseling (or an equivalent degree) and is certified by the American Board of Genetic Counseling. There are over 40 accredited Genetic Counseling Graduate Programs in the United States and Canada.
Ohio is the proud home of three genetic counseling training programs:
Case Western Reserve University | Cleveland, Ohio
Offers a Master of Science in Genetic Counseling or a Master of Science in Genetic Counseling and Master of Arts in Bioethics (dual degree program)
The Ohio State University | Columbus, Ohio
Offers a Master of Science degree in Genetic Counseling
University of Cincinnati & Cincinnati Children’s | Cincinnati, Ohio
For a complete list of programs, visit ACGC Program Directory. Each program may have different prerequisites for admission and a unique training format so we encourage you to check out their websites and reach out to the programs directly for additional information or questions!
For additional information regarding becoming a genetic counselor, please visit the NSGC Website.
Shadowing a genetic counselor is a great way to learn more about the profession and determine if it is the right career for you! Having a shadowing experience is also an important part of the application process for Genetic Counseling prgrams. If you are interested in shadowing a genetic counselor you can Find A Genetic Counselor in your area or reach out to a graduate program for contacts. Some hospital systems/employers may have prerequisites that need to be fulfilled prior to shadowing at the institution.
National Society of Genetic Counselors
The National Society of Genetic Counselors Student/New Member Special Interest Group compiled resources to help interested individuals learn about and prepare for genetic counseling training programs. Topics range from general information about genetic counseling, the application and interview process, frequently asked questions and much more. Check out this great collection of resources.
Genetic Counseling Experience Initiative
The Genetic Counseling Experience Initiative (GCEI) aims to increase exposure to genetic counseling by facilitating meaningful interactions with genetic counselors & prospective students. This includes virtual journal clubs and case series presentations. Follow along with GCEI in many platforms to see what they are presenting next.