Genetic counselors assess individual or family risk for a variety of inherited conditions, such as genetic disorders and birth defects. They provide information and support to other healthcare providers, or to individuals and families concerned with the risk of inherited conditions.
Genetic counselors work in university medical centers, private and public hospitals, and physicians’ offices. They work with families, patients, and other medical professionals. Most genetic counselors work full time.
How to Become a Genetic Counselor
Genetic counselors typically need a master’s degree in genetic counseling or genetics, and board certification.
Employment of genetic counselors is projected to grow 29 percent from 2014 to 2024, much faster than the average for all occupations. Ongoing technological innovations, including improvements in lab tests and developments in genomics, which is the study of the whole genome, are giving counselors the opportunities to conduct more types of analyses.
This occupation supported 2,100 jobs in 2012 and 2,400 jobs in 2014, reflecting an increase of 14.3%. In 2012, this occupation was projected to increase by 42.9% in 2022 to 3,000 jobs. As of 2014, to keep pace with prediction, the expected number of jobs was 2,200, compared with an observed value of 2,400, 9.1% higher than expected. This indicates current employment trends are much better than the 2012 trend within this occupation. In 2014, this occupation was projected to increase by 33.3% in 2024 to 3,100 jobs. Linear extrapolation of the 2012 projection for 2022 results in an expected number of 3,100 jobs for 2024, 0.0% lower than the 2014 projection for 2024. This indicates expectations for future employment trends are about on track with the 2012 trend within this occupation.