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Genetic counselors specialize in determining risk factors for hereditary diseases in patients. These highly trained medical experts work in hospitals, private clinics, research laboratories, and universities. Their tasks include analyzing genetic data and patient histories, performing genetic risk calculations, educating patients and their families about potential risk factors and advising patients as to how to cope with the diagnosis.
A master's degree in genetic counseling is essential for anyone wishing to practice in this field. In addition, many states have made licensure mandatory, for which certification as a genetic counselor is usually required. The graduate program is rigorous and includes coursework in genetic screening, molecular genetics, birth defects, prenatal diagnosis, population studies, counseling ethics and research methods. A keen eye for detail and strong analytical, problem-solving, research, communication, and interpersonal skills are essential attributes in this role.
Expect to undergo an exhaustive interview. Prospective employers will go to great lengths to make 100% that you are the right fit for the job, both in terms of job knowledge as well as the manner in which you communicate with patients. They will ask you why you chose to become a genetic counselor and what do you think are your strengths as they relate to this job. They will also ask you about your perceived weaknesses and if you are doing anything to overcome those weaknesses. You can prepare compelling answers to any question the interviewer asks you by taking a look at commonly asked interview question listed at Mock Questions.