What is Genetic Counseling?

Genetic counseling is the process of providing families with information regarding the inheritance and implications of genetic conditions to help them make informed medical and personal decisions. Genetic counselors are health professionals with specialized graduate degrees and experience in the areas of medical genetics and counseling. They work as members of a health care team, providing 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 frequently work with physicians and other healthcare providers to discuss available testing options, interpret information about the disorder, analyze inheritance patterns and risks of recurrence and review available options with the family. They also serve as a resource for other health care providers and the general public.

Genetic counselors practice in a wide variety of settings from hospitals/clinics, laboratories, insurance companies, government agencies, and advocacy groups among others. They can also specialize in a variety of specialties including prenatal, pediatrics, cardiology, neurology, metabolic disorders, cancer etc.

For more information about the genetic counseling profession, visit the National Society of Genetic Counselors at www.nsgc.org or the Indiana Network of Genetic Counselors at http://www.ingc.info/site/

What is the career outlook for genetic counselors?
The genetic counseling profession is expected to continue growing more quickly than the average career.  This is likely due to the expanding role of genetic counselors in clinical, academic, commercial, public health, and other areas. Click on the links below to read more about the growing profession of genetic counseling.