Genetic Counselors

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About the Job

Assess individual or family risk for a variety of inherited conditions, such as genetic disorders and birth defects. Provide information to other healthcare providers or to individuals and families concerned with the risk of inherited conditions. Advise individuals and families to support informed decisionmaking and coping methods for those at risk. May help conduct research related to genetic conditions or genetic counseling.

It is also Called

  • Staff Genetic Counselor
  • Senior Genetic Counselor
  • Reproductive Genetic Counseling Coordinator
  • Prenatal Genetic Counselor
  • Prenatal and Pediatric Genetic Counselor
  • Pediatric Genetic Counselor
  • Mitochondrial Disorders Counselor
  • Medical Science Liaison
  • Hereditary Cancer Program Coordinator
  • Genetic Counselor
View All

What They Do

  • Identify funding sources and write grant proposals for eligible programs or services.
  • Collect for or share with research projects patient data related to specific genetic disorders or syndromes.
  • Engage in research activities related to the field of medical genetics or genetic counseling.
  • Evaluate or make recommendations for standards of care or clinical operations, ensuring compliance with applicable regulations, ethics, legislation, or policies.
  • Design and conduct genetics training programs for physicians, graduate students, other health professions or the general community.
  • Refer patients to specialists or community resources.
  • Explain diagnostic procedures such as chorionic villus sampling (CVS), ultrasound, fetal blood sampling, and amniocentesis.
  • Prepare or provide genetics-related educational materials to patients or medical personnel.
  • Read current literature, talk with colleagues, or participate in professional organizations or conferences to keep abreast of developments in genetics.
  • Provide patients with information about the inheritance of conditions such as breast, ovarian, prostate and colon cancer; cardiovascular disease; Alzheimer's disease; and diabetes.

Interests

People who work in this occupation generally have the interest code: SIA.

This means people who work in this occupation generally have Social interests, but also prefer Investigative and Artistic environments.

Work Values

People who work in this occupation generally prize Relationships, but also value Achievement and Recognition in their jobs.

Things They Need to Know

  • Biology - Knowledge of plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, interdependencies, and interactions with each other and the environment.
  • Psychology - Knowledge of human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioral and affective disorders.
  • Medicine and Dentistry - Knowledge of the information and techniques needed to diagnose and treat human injuries, diseases, and deformities. This includes symptoms, treatment alternatives, drug properties and interactions, and preventive health-care measures.
  • Therapy and Counseling - Knowledge of principles, methods, and procedures for diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of physical and mental dysfunctions, and for career counseling and guidance.
  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.

Things They Need to Be Able to Do

  • Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
  • Complex Problem Solving - Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
  • Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Active Learning - Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
  • Writing - Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.

Education Required

Most of these occupations require graduate school. For example, they may require a master's degree, and some require a Ph.D., M.D., or J.D. (law degree).

Wages

In 2016, the average annual wage in Pennsylvania was $59,200 with most people making between $35,850 and $78,050

Outlook

2.00%
avg. annual growth

During 2014, this occupation employed approximately 50 people in Pennsylvania. It is projected that there will be 60 employed in 2024.

This occupation will have about 1 openings due to growth and about -1 replacement openings for approximately 0 total annual openings.



Pennsylvania Department of Education