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Genetic Counselors

Assess individual or family risk for a variety of inherited conditions, such as genetic disorders and birth defects. Provide information to other healthcare providers or to individuals and families concerned with the risk of inherited conditions. Advise individuals and families to support informed decisionmaking and coping methods for those at risk. May help conduct research related to genetic conditions or genetic counseling.   (O'Net 29-9092.00)

 
Reported job titles:   Cancer Genetic Counselor, Certified Genetic Counselor, Chromosomal Disorders Counselor, Clinical Coordinator, Pediatric Genetics, Coordinator of Genetic Services, Genetic Counselor   (view all job titles)
 
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  • Industries of Employment
  • Tasks
  • Knowledge
  • Skills
  • Abilities
  • Work Activities
  • Interests
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  • License Information
  • Education & Training Requirements
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    Wages
    for Genetic Counselors
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    No wage data for this occupation.
     


    Employment Trends
    for Genetic Counselors
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    No trend data for this occupation.
     


    Industries of Employment
    for Genetic Counselors
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    Industry Percent of Total
    2014
    Ambulatory healthcare services 40.3%
    Hospitals; state, local, and private 38.5%
    Educational services; state, local, and private 11.6%
    Self-employed workers, all industries 5.3%
    Management of companies and enterprises 2.5%
    source: Employment Projections, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, National Employment Matrix, released July 2016.
     


    Tasks
    for Genetic Counselors
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  • Provide genetic counseling in specified areas of clinical genetics such as obstetrics, pediatrics, oncology and neurology.
     
  • Provide counseling to patient and family members by providing information, education, or reassurance.
     
  • Interpret laboratory results and communicate findings to patients or physicians.
     
  • Discuss testing options and the associated risks, benefits and limitations with patients and families to assist them in making informed decisions.
     
  • Determine or coordinate treatment plans by requesting laboratory services, reviewing genetics or counseling literature, and considering histories or diagnostic data.
     
  • Interview patients or review medical records to obtain comprehensive patient or family medical histories, and document findings.
     
  • Analyze genetic information to identify patients or families at risk for specific disorders or syndromes.
     
  • Provide patients with information about the inheritance of conditions such as breast, ovarian, prostate and colon cancer; cardiovascular disease; Alzheimer's disease; and diabetes.
     
  • Read current literature, talk with colleagues, or participate in professional organizations or conferences to keep abreast of developments in genetics.
     
  • Write detailed consultation reports to provide information on complex genetic concepts to patients or referring physicians.
     
    source: Occupational Information Network: Genetic Counselors  updated June 2010
     


    Knowledge
    for Genetic Counselors
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  • Biology - Knowledge of plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, interdependencies, and interactions with each other and the environment.
     
  • Medicine and Dentistry - Knowledge of the 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.
     
  • Psychology - Knowledge of 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.
     
  • Therapy and Counseling - Knowledge of principles, methods, and procedures for diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of physical and mental dysfunctions, and for career counseling and guidance.
     
  • Customer and Personal Service - Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
     
  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
     
  • Mathematics - Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
     
  • Sociology and Anthropology - Knowledge of group behavior and dynamics, societal trends and influences, human migrations, ethnicity, cultures and their history and origins.
     
  • Chemistry - Knowledge of the chemical composition, structure, and properties of substances and of the chemical processes and transformations that they undergo. This includes uses of chemicals and their interactions, danger signs, production techniques, and disposal methods.
     
  • Clerical - Knowledge of administrative and clerical procedures and systems such as word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office procedures and terminology.
     
    source: Occupational Information Network: Genetic Counselors  updated June 2010
     


    Skills
    for Genetic Counselors
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  • Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
     
  • Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
     
  • Active Listening - 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.
     
  • Complex Problem Solving - Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
     
  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
     
  • Social Perceptiveness - Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
     
  • Writing - Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
     
  • Active Learning - Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
     
  • Judgment and Decision Making - Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
     
  • Monitoring - Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
     
    source: Occupational Information Network: Genetic Counselors  updated June 2010
     


    Abilities
    for Genetic Counselors
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  • Written Comprehension - The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
     
  • Oral Comprehension - The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
     
  • Oral Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
     
  • Written Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
     
  • Deductive Reasoning - The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
     
  • Inductive Reasoning - The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
     
  • Problem Sensitivity - The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
     
  • Information Ordering - The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
     
  • Speech Clarity - The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
     
  • Speech Recognition - The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
     
    source: Occupational Information Network: Genetic Counselors  updated June 2010
     


    Work Activities
    for Genetic Counselors
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  • Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others - Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.
     
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge - Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
     
  • Assisting and Caring for Others - Providing personal assistance, medical attention, emotional support, or other personal care to others such as coworkers, customers, or patients.
     
  • Getting Information - Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
     
  • Documenting/Recording Information - Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
     
  • Communicating with Persons Outside Organization - Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.
     
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates - Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
     
  • Analyzing Data or Information - Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
     
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems - Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
     
  • Performing for or Working Directly with the Public - Performing for people or dealing directly with the public. This includes serving customers in restaurants and stores, and receiving clients or guests.
     
    source: Occupational Information Network: Genetic Counselors  updated June 2010
     


    Interests
    for Genetic Counselors
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  • 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.
     
    source: Occupational Information Network: Genetic Counselors  updated June 2009
     


    Work Styles
    for Genetic Counselors
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  • Concern for Others - Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
     
  • Integrity - Job requires being honest and ethical.
     
  • Dependability - Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
     
  • Attention to Detail - Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
     
  • Self Control - Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
     
  • Cooperation - Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
     
  • Social Orientation - Job requires preferring to work with others rather than alone, and being personally connected with others on the job.
     
  • Stress Tolerance - Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations.
     
  • Analytical Thinking - Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
     
  • Initiative - Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
     
    source: Occupational Information Network: Genetic Counselors  updated June 2010
     


    State of Vermont License Information
    that may be required for Genetic Counselors
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    No state licenses listed for this occupation.
     


    Education and Training Requirements
    for Genetic Counselors
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  • Job Zone Five: Extensive Preparation Needed
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  • Education: Most of these occupations require graduate school. For example, they may require a master's degree, and some require a Ph.D., M.D., or J.D. (law degree).
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  • Training: Employees may need some on-the-job training, but most of these occupations assume that the person will already have the required skills, knowledge, work-related experience, and/or training.
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  • Experience: Extensive skill, knowledge, and experience are needed for these occupations. Many require more than five years of experience. For example, surgeons must complete four years of college and an additional five to seven years of specialized medical training to be able to do their job.
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    source: Occupational Information Network: Genetic Counselors  updated June 2010
     


    Schools
    offering instructional programs related to Genetic Counselors
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      Related Instructional Programs
     
    • Genetic Counseling/Counselor.
     
     Search for schools offering these programs at
     
     
     
    source: National Center for Education Statistics 2000 Classification of Instructional Programs .
     


    Other Resources
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  • Health Care Careers
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  • A source for occupational characteristics, such as age, gender, race, and years of education and an alternative source for occupational wage rates. Limited to people looking for jobs and the jobs advertised through VDOL Vermont Job Link.
  • Look for statewide information over the latest 12 months for Genetic Counselors.
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  • Occupational Outlook Handbook
  • The Occupational Outlook Handbook is a nationally recognized source of career information, designed to provide valuable assistance to individuals making decisions about their future work lives. Revised every two years, the Handbook describes what workers do on the job, working conditions, the training and education needed, earnings, and expected job prospects in a wide range of occupations.
    Go to Occupational Outlook Handbook
    Handbook occupations related to Genetic Counselors :
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    Related Occupations
    Occupations with skill requirements similar to Genetic Counselors
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  • Advanced Practice Psychiatric Nurses
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    source: Occupational Information Network: Genetic Counselors 
     

     
     
     
    Vermont.gov State of Vermont Department of Labor