Genetic counseling (GC) is a dynamic, challenging and rapidly growing subspecialty within the field of human genetics. Genetic counseling is the process of helping people understand and adapt to the medical, psychosocial and familial implications of genetic contributions to disease. Genetic counselors work in a variety of settings, including adult, pediatric, prenatal, and cancer genetics clinics; public health genetics programs; human genetics research, and the biotechnology industry.
Calvin graduates are uniquely qualified for this career because of their passion for medicine and concern for the general well-being of others. Genetic counselors offer compassionate, individualized, one-on-one care.
Genetic counseling training programs prepare students to face the current and future demands of the rapidly evolving fields of genetic counseling, human genetics and genomics. Programs are typically two years in duration (inluding a summer semester) and graduates hold a master of science degree.
To work as a genetic counselor, you will need to meet the following requirements:
- Receive an MS degree in the field of genetic counseling
- Pass a national board examination
Since prerequisites vary among different programs, it’s best to refer to each school’s Web site. Most common prerequisites for genetic counseling Master’s programs consist of the following:
- At least two semesters of biology (Biology 123, 224, and 225)
- Chemistry, two semesters (Chemistry 103 and 104)
- Organic Chemistry, one semester (Chemistry 253)
- General Genetics, one semester (Biology 321)
- Biochemistry, one semester (Chemistry 303)
- Statistics, one semester (Math 143)
- Psychology, one semester (Psychology 151)
- GRE general test
- Advocacy experience in crisis intervention programs or related community based agencies
Many schools also recommend physiology, anatomy, biotechnogy and additional psychology courses.