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How do I become a genetic counselor?

Have you recently learned about genetic counseling and planning to take the next step by exploring what it takes to become a GC? Take a look at this blog post to better understand the process to become a genetic counselor. Once you're ready to dive deeper on any of the requirements you can visit other blog posts or YouTube videos where I share helpful time-saving tips.

Be sure to visit my digital download shop where you can find a helpful and detailed guide to the GC application process:

  1. Research various genetic counseling programs cost, location and the requirements needed to apply:

  2. Step one obtain a bachelors degree with a GPA over 3.0

  3. Take all prerequisite courses that are required to apply to graduate school. These requirements differ per school so be sure to visit the admissions website for each program you are interested in to determine which courses are required. Frequently required courses include the following:

    1. General Biology

    2. General Chemistry

    3. General Genetics

    4. Organic Chemistry

    5. Biochemistry

    6. Psychology

    7. Statistics

  4. Gain experiencing in advocacy roles, counseling settings, research settings and/or laboratory settings.

  5. Gain an understanding of genetic counseling by shadowing genetic counselors, informational interviews with genetic counselors, genetic counseling assistant (GCA) positions, attending GC-related webinars, listening to genetics-related podcasts/Youtubers, and reading books.

  6. Take the GRE if is required by any of the programs for which you would like to apply.

  7. Submit your application materials including CV, personal statement, letters of recommendation, and transcripts by to each program by the application deadline (typically December or January of each year, but dates vary for each program).

  8. By February, about two months after you submit your application material, you will find out whether any programs have invited you for interviews.

  9. Interviews are completed in February- April of each application cycle.

  10. After you complete all interviews and the programs complete interviews with all invited applicants, each applicant and each program will submit their rankings.

  11. MATCH DAY is typically scheduled in late April. Students will find out if they matched with a program or if they did not. GC Programs will receive their class roster. Please know many applicants do not match on their first cycle. People who do not match can request feedback from each program they applied to and determine whether they want to reapply in the following cycle or if they would prefer to explore different career/education paths, or maybe both concurrently.

  12. GC grad school will begin in the summer or fall, about four months after match day. GC students complete a 18-22 month Master's program from an accredited program which will include

    • Clinical experience in various genetic specialties

    • Coursework in human genetics, psychosocial counseling, bioethics, research methodology, genetic testing technology and more

    • Research other independent study projects

    • Additional activities including education, advocacy experiences, case conferences, etc.

13. Most students will apply for and secure their first GC job before even graduating! The job opportunities are plentiful.

14. After completing a program, a GC will sit for a certification exam. Upon passing, a genetic counselor will become a CGC or Certified Genetic Counselor.

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