Genetic Counselor Jobs - Jobs in Genetic Counseling

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Genetic Counseling Jobs - Genetic Counselor Career Information
 


 

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CAREER GUIDE FOR GENETIC COUNSELOR

Standard Occupational Description: Counsel and provide information and support to families who have members with birth defects or genetic disorders and to families who may be at risk for a variety of inherited conditions. Genetic counselors are health professionals with specialized graduate degrees and experience in the areas of medical genetics and counseling. Genetic counselors usually work as members of a health care team providing information and support to individuals and/or families with genetic conditions.

SKILLS, KNOWLEDGE, ABILITIES AND TASKS

(Technical and Functional Expertise)

The American Board of Genetic Counseling defines four domains of genetic counseling practice-based competencies required in an entry-level genetic counselor.  These domains include communication skills; critical thinking skills; interpersonal, counseling and psychosocial assessment; and professional ethics and values.

Skills

Note: The technical and functional skills listed below are based on general occupational qualifications for Genetic Counselors commonly recognized by most employers.  Typically, you will not be required to have all of the skills listed to be a successful performer.  Recruitment and selection standards for an individual state job must be based on the specific knowledge, skills, and abilities for that job as indicated in the job announcement and job description in the Employee Work Profile.

  1. 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.
  2. Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
  3. Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
  4. Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
  5. Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  6. Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  7. Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
  8. Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.
  9. Actively looking for ways to help people.
  10. Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.

Knowledge

Note: The technical and functional knowledge statements listed below are based on general occupational qualifications for Genetic Counselors commonly recognized by most employers.  Typically, you will not be required to have all of the knowledge listed to be a successful performer.  Recruitment and selection standards for an individual state job must be based on the specific knowledge, skills, and abilities for that job as indicated in the job announcement and job description in the Employee Work Profile.

The Knowledge of:

  1. 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.
  2. Principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
  3. 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.
  4. Principles, methods, and procedures for diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of physical and mental dysfunctions, and for career counseling and guidance.
  5. Structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  6. Group behavior and dynamics, societal trends and influences, human migrations, ethnicity, cultures and their history and origins.
  7. Principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.

Abilities

Note: The technical and functional abilities listed below are based on general occupational qualifications for Genetic Counselors commonly recognized by most employers.  Typically, you will not be required to have all of the abilities listed to be a successful performer.  Recruitment and selection standards for an individual state job must be based on the specific knowledge, skills, and abilities for that job as indicated in the job announcement and job description in the Employee Work Profile.

The Ability to:

  1. Listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
  2. Communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
  3. Tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
  4. Combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
  5. Apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
  6. Read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
  7. Identify and understand the speech of another person.
  8. Communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.

Tasks-The National Society of Genetic Counselors lists these tasks.

Note:  The following is a list of sample tasks typically performed by Genetic Counselors.  Employees in this occupation will not necessarily perform all of the tasks listed. 

Tasks

  1. Provide information and support to families who have members with birth defects or genetic disorders and to families who may be at risk for a variety of inherited conditions.
  2. Identify families at risk, investigate the problem present in the family, interpret information about the disorder, analyze inheritance patterns and risks of recurrence and review available options with the family.
  3. Provide supportive counseling to families.
  4. Serve as patient advocates and refer individuals and families to community or state support services.
  5. Serve as educators and resource people for other health care professionals and for the general public.
  6. Engage in research activities related to the field of medical genetics and genetic counseling.
    Tasks

INTERESTED?

Like people, occupations have traits or characteristics.  These characteristics give important clues about the nature of the work and work environment, and give you an opportunity to match your own personal interests to a specific occupation.  When you choose a job in an occupation that matches your own interests you have taken an important step in planning a successful and rewarding career.

Genetic Counselor occupation has Social, Investigative and Artistic characteristics as described below:

Social — Social occupations frequently involve working with, communicating with, and teaching people. These occupations often involve helping or providing service to others.

Investigative — Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.

Artistic — Artistic occupations frequently involve working with forms, designs and patterns. They often require self-expression and the work can be done without following a clear set of rules.

LICENSURE, REGISTRATION, OR CERTIFICATION REQUIREMENTS

Generally licensure is not required for Genetic Counselor positions in state government. However certification may be required and can enhance professional growth and career progression.

Certification in genetic counseling is available by the American Board of Genetic Counseling (ABGC). Requirements include documentation of the following: a graduate degree in genetic counseling from an ABGC accredited training program; clinical experience in an ABGC-approved training site or sites; a log book of 50 supervised cases; and successful completion of both the general and specialty certification examination.

 

EDUCATIONAL, TRAINING, AND LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES

The National Society of Genetic Counselors http://www.nsgc.org/resourcelink.asp provide the following: Genetic counselors are health professionals with specialized graduate degrees and experience in the areas of medical genetics and counseling. Most enter the field from a variety of disciplines, including biology, genetics, nursing, psychology, public health and social work.

Genetic counseling is typically a post-baccalaureate program that takes two years to complete and for which a Master of Science degree is awarded. Applicants to genetic counseling programs should have completed a baccalaureate degree in fields such as biology or biosciences, psychology, nursing, or genetics. Most programs require at least one undergraduate course in genetics.

The curriculum in genetic counseling programs includes principles and practices of clinical medical genetics; methods of genetic testing theory and application of interviewing and counseling; social, ethical, and legal issues that pertain to the delivery of genetic services; health care delivery systems; principles of public health; teaching skills; and research methods.


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