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Genetic Counselors
SOC Code: 29-9092.00

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.

Sample of reported job titles: Certified Genetic Counselor; Clinical Coordinator, Pediatric Genetics; Coordinator of Genetic Services; Genetic Counselor; Hereditary Cancer Program Coordinator; Medical Science Liaison; Prenatal and Pediatric Genetic Counselor; Reproductive Genetic Counseling Coordinator; Senior Genetic Counselor; Staff Genetic Counselor

Tasks

  • 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.
  • Analyze genetic information to identify patients or families at risk for specific disorders or syndromes.
  • Provide counseling to patient and family members by providing information, education, or reassurance.
  • Write detailed consultation reports to provide information on complex genetic concepts to patients or referring physicians.
  • Provide genetic counseling in specified areas of clinical genetics, such as obstetrics, pediatrics, oncology and neurology.
  • 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.
  • Assess patients' psychological or emotional needs, such as those relating to stress, fear of test results, financial issues, and marital conflicts to make referral recommendations or assist patients in managing test outcomes.
  • Provide patients with information about the inheritance of conditions such as cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer's disease, diabetes, and various forms of cancer.
  • Read current literature, talk with colleagues, or participate in professional organizations or conferences to keep abreast of developments in genetics.
  • Prepare or provide genetics-related educational materials to patients or medical personnel.
  • Explain diagnostic procedures such as chorionic villus sampling (CVS), ultrasound, fetal blood sampling, and amniocentesis.
  • Refer patients to specialists or community resources.
  • Design and conduct genetics training programs for physicians, graduate students, other health professions or the general community.
  • Evaluate or make recommendations for standards of care or clinical operations, ensuring compliance with applicable regulations, ethics, legislation, or policies.
  • Engage in research activities related to the field of medical genetics or genetic counseling.
  • Collect for, or share with, research projects patient data on specific genetic disorders or syndromes.
  • Identify funding sources and write grant proposals for eligible programs or services.

Technology Skills

  • Analytical or scientific software - Ftree; Pedigree drawing and management software
  • Data base user interface and query software - Database software; FileMaker Pro; Microsoft Access
  • Internet browser software - Web browser software
  • Medical software - Benetech PRA; BRCAPRO; SynDiag; Wageningen MapChart (see all 12 examples)
  • Office suite software - Microsoft Office
  • Presentation software - Microsoft PowerPoint
  • Spreadsheet software - Microsoft Excel
  • Word processing software - Microsoft Word

Tools Used

  • Benchtop centrifuges - Table top centrifuges
  • Cryostats
  • Darkfield microscopes - Differential interference microscopes
  • Deoxyribonucleic sequence analyzers - Automated deoxyribonucleic acid DNA sequencers
  • Fluorescent microscopes
  • Gel documentation systems
  • Microplate readers
  • Personal computers
  • Ultracentrifuges - Benchtop ultracentrifuges; High speed centrifuges
  • X ray radiography examination equipment - Phosphor imagers

Knowledge

  • Biology - Knowledge of plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, interdependencies, and interactions with each other and the environment.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Education and Training - Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.

Skills

  • Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
  • 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.
  • Active Learning - Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
  • 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.
  • Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Writing - Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
  • Judgment and Decision Making - Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
  • Science - Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.
  • Instructing - Teaching others how to do something.
  • Service Orientation - Actively looking for ways to help people.
  • Systems Analysis - Determining how a system should work and how changes in conditions, operations, and the environment will affect outcomes.
  • Time Management - Managing one's own time and the time of others.
  • Coordination - Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
  • Learning Strategies - Selecting and using training/instructional methods and procedures appropriate for the situation when learning or teaching new things.
  • Monitoring - Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
  • Negotiation - Bringing others together and trying to reconcile differences.
  • Persuasion - Persuading others to change their minds or behavior.
  • Systems Evaluation - Identifying measures or indicators of system performance and the actions needed to improve or correct performance, relative to the goals of the system.

Abilities

  • Written Comprehension - The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
  • 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).
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Written Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
  • 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 Recognition - The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
  • Speech Clarity - The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
  • Near Vision - The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
  • Category Flexibility - The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
  • Flexibility of Closure - The ability to identify or detect a known pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) that is hidden in other distracting material.
  • Fluency of Ideas - The ability to come up with a number of ideas about a topic (the number of ideas is important, not their quality, correctness, or creativity).
  • Mathematical Reasoning - The ability to choose the right mathematical methods or formulas to solve a problem.
  • Originality - The ability to come up with unusual or clever ideas about a given topic or situation, or to develop creative ways to solve a problem.
  • Selective Attention - The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.

Interests

  • Interest code: SIA
    • 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.

Work Context

  • Electronic Mail - 100% responded “Every day.”
  • Face-to-Face Discussions - 100% responded “Every day.”
  • Telephone - 100% responded “Every day.”
  • Letters and Memos - 68% responded “Every day.”
  • Contact With Others - 57% responded “Constant contact with others.”
  • Importance of Being Exact or Accurate - 57% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Indoors, Environmentally Controlled - 83% responded “Every day.”
  • Spend Time Sitting - 70% responded “More than half the time.”
  • Deal With External Customers - 57% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Freedom to Make Decisions - 52% responded “Some freedom.”
  • Frequency of Decision Making - 52% responded “Every day.”
  • Duration of Typical Work Week - 52% responded “40 hours.”
  • Structured versus Unstructured Work - 52% responded “Some freedom.”
  • Time Pressure - 39% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
  • Work With Work Group or Team - 55% responded “Very important.”
  • Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results - 30% responded “Very important results.”
  • Consequence of Error - 30% responded “Fairly serious.”
  • Level of Competition - 35% responded “Moderately competitive.”

Education

Percentage of RespondentsEducation Level Required
100%Master's degree

Work Styles

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Dependability - Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
  • Initiative - Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
  • Analytical Thinking - Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
  • Stress Tolerance - Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations.
  • Adaptability/Flexibility - Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
  • Independence - Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
  • Social Orientation - Job requires preferring to work with others rather than alone, and being personally connected with others on the job.
  • Achievement/Effort - Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
  • Leadership - Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
  • Persistence - Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
  • Innovation - Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.

Work Values

  • Relationships - Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment. Corresponding needs are Co-workers, Moral Values and Social Service.
  • Achievement - Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment. Corresponding needs are Ability Utilization and Achievement.
  • Recognition - Occupations that satisfy this work value offer advancement, potential for leadership, and are often considered prestigious. Corresponding needs are Advancement, Authority, Recognition and Social Status.

Wages & Trends

  • Median wages (2017)
    • $37.25 hourly, $77,480 annual
  • Employment (2016)
    • 3,000 employees
  • Projected growth (2016-2026)
    • Much faster than average (15% or higher)
  • Projected job openings (2016-2026)
    • 300

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