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Preparing for a Career in Genetic Counseling

Genetic counselors work with healthcare teams to provide information and support to families who are at risk for a variety of inherited conditions, or who have members with birth defects or disorders. They may analyze inheritance patterns and risks of recurrence and review available options with the family. They may serve as patient advocates, referring clients to appropriate healthcare professionals and services. Most programs are master’s-level degrees.

For career and prerequisite information, see these Web pages:

GENERAL Prerequisites

  • A minimum 3.0 GPA
  • Two courses of general biology with labs
  • At least one course in genetics
  • Two courses of general chemistry with labs
  • Two courses of physics with labs
  • College mathematics and a course in statistics
  • An introductory psychology course
  • Some course requirements may vary depending upon the school of choice, i.e., some schools may require organic and biochemistry, so check individual programs
  • GRE scores
  • Advocacy experience (i.e., peer counselor, RA advisor in college, volunteering with those with disabilities, working for a crisis hotline service, working at shelters, etc.)
  • Observing or interning with a genetic counselor
  • For information on recertification once you become a genetic counselor, please go here.

Specific Prerequisites: Please check individual school prerequisites for more information.