Genetic counselors help people understand health conditions by looking into patterns from family history. They are healers and analyzers intent on finding solutions to health problems that might seem inevitable or untreatable.
Genetic counselors work in university medical centers, private and public hospitals, diagnostic laboratories, and physicians’ offices, conducting genetic testing and offering education and counseling to patients and their families. They are often responsible for answering questions from new patients and breaking down the complexities of lab screenings. They are compassionate, knowledgeable, and organized practitioners who identify potential disorders and defects that can affect patients’ daily lives.
To become a genetic counselor, candidates should pursue a master’s degree in genetic counseling or genetics. Some states also require a postsecondary certification or license approved by the American Board of Genetic Counseling. Roles for genetic counselors are expected to grow 21% by 2029, which is much faster than the average for all occupations. This rapid growth is attributed to ongoing technological innovations in lab testing and developments in genomics, the study of the whole genome.