Aspiring genetic counselors must complete master's degree in a science-intensive field, such as a premed program, chemistry, biology, or biochemistry.
These programs provides students with the scientific and mathematical knowledge necessary for success.
The preparation timeline below provides an example premed curriculum:
In order to be accepted into a graduate program, students must pass the Graduate Requisite Examination (GRE) with a sufficient score to be accepted into the school they're interested in.
The GRE is a 6-section, 4-hour comprehensive exam that is broken down as following:
|1 Analytical Writing Section
|2 Quantitative Reasoning Sections
|2 Verbal Reasoning Sections
|1 Unscored Section
Completing a master's degree in genetic counseling at a properly accredited university is essential. Topics of study include molecular genetics, cytogenetics, ethics, counseling, and both clinical and population genetics.
Candidates should ensure that all courses and programs have Accreditation Council for Genetic Counseling (ACGC) accreditation.
The preparation timeline below provides an example graduate genetic counseling curriculum:
Once the counselor earns a degree, the American Board of Genetic Counseling (ABGC) offers an exam which confirms the student as a certified genetic counselor.
Becoming certified is not a requirement to enter the field but does typically lead to more opportunities and an edge in the hiring process. However, a certification speaks to the individual's authority and trustworthiness on the subject, so earning one is highly advisable. 5
Many states require counselors to become licensed before beginning to practice. Genetic counselors should check their state and local registration.