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Genetic counselors assess individual or family risk for a variety of inherited conditions, such as genetic disorders and birth defects.

Median Annual Salary:

$80,370

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Job Description

Genetic counselors identify specific genetic disorders or risks through the study of genetics. A genetic disorder or syndrome is inherited. For parents who are expecting children, counselors use genetics to predict whether a baby is likely to have hereditary disorders, such as Down syndrome and cystic fibrosis, among others. Genetic counselors also assess the risk for an adult to develop diseases with a genetic component, such as certain forms of cancer. Counselors identify these conditions by studying patients’ genes through DNA testing. Medical laboratory technologists perform lab tests, which genetic counselors then evaluate and use for counseling patients and their families.

Patient Contact

High

Employment Outlook

Employment of genetic counselors is projected to grow 27 percent from 2018 to 2028, 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 opportunities to conduct more types of analyses.

Education

Masters – 5+ Years

The University of South Carolina, Columbia offers a Master's degree in Genetic Counseling