Genetic counselors are health professionals with specialized graduate degrees and experience in the areas of medical genetics and counseling. Most enter the field from a variety of disciplines, including biology, genetics, nursing, psychology, public health, and social work.

Genetic counselors work as members of a health care team, providing information and support to families who have members with birth defects or genetic disorders and to families who may be at risk for a variety of inherited conditions. They identify families at risk, investigate the problem present in the family, interpret information about the disorder, analyze inheritance patterns and risks of recurrence and review available options with the family.

Genetic counselors also provide supportive counseling to families, serve as patient advocates and refer individuals and families to community or state support services. They serve as educators and resource people for other health care professionals and for the general public.

The Board of Registration of Genetic Counselors is charged with evaluating the qualifications of applicants for licensure and granting licenses to those who qualify. It establishes rules and regulations to ensure the integrity and competence of licensees.

The Board promotes the public health, welfare, and safety by ensuring that licensed Genetic Counselors have the proper training and experience, have completed an accredited degree program and meet other requirements set forth by the Board.


This information is provided by the Division of Health Professions Licensure within the Department of Public Health.