A genetics counselor may provide a multitude of services in a number of different specialties in medicine. Their position may include working directly with adults, children, pregnant women and couples that wish to have children, among others. Areas covered by these counselors with adults include genetic diseases and diagnosis, counseling, and analysis of certain tumors; with children, they include congenital diseases such as cystic fibrosis. For pregnant women and couples trying to conceive, the genetic counselor's main goal is typically identifying possible genetic defects and inborn errors of mutation.
Genetic counselors generally work alongside physicians of a variety of specialties, such as oncologists, surgeons and obstetricians, among others. They may provide advice and support to these doctors, as well as lab personnel and other professionals in their facility. Additionally, they may prepare academic papers, present at conferences, and provide support at booths, if required by their employer. Genetics counselors generally work full time in office and laboratory settings, although alternative and/or additional hours may be required depending on their employer's needs.
A master's degree from a relevant program accredited by the American Board of Genetic Counseling is generally required for this position. Genetic counselors must also be board certified by the American Board of Medical Genetics or the American Board of Genetic Counseling, as well as licensed in the state in which they wish to practice.
Genetic Counselor Tasks
Prepare and maintain all required treatment records and reports.
Set-up, track and review laboratory test results.
Evaluate clients' genetic probabilities based on review of client information.
Collaborate with other staff members to perform clinical assessments and develop treatment plans.
Collect information about clients through interviews, observation, and tests.