Advise families about potential hereditary disorders.
What does a Genetic Counselor do?
Genetic counselors research birth defects and genetic disorders while counseling families who have or are at risk for the disorders. The work is a two-fold profession combining science and therapy into one.
Studying genetic disorders helps you explain to families what to expect from them and identify the risks of passing them on. Often, a genetic counselor has past experience in genetics or therapy and has moved up to this specialized field.
On a typical day as a genetic counselor, you meet with families and explain how a genetic disorder occurs and what this means for the family members. For example, a couple may want to know the likelihood of their future children inheriting birth defects. You understand the side effects of the disorder and can explain the potential risks to them.
In your job, you also offer support and a helping hand to families during stressful times. Children with significant birth defects need even more attention and care than the average child, and parents may find themselves frazzled from the work and unsure how best to help their son or daughter.
In between your counseling sessions, you study available data and research on disorders. Tracking a disorder throughout a family’s history lets you discover what patterns it follows and how often it appears. These factors play a key role in helping families handle the disorder. Your medical experience helps you help them lead a better, healthier life.