In an effort to keep up with the changing trends and needs within the healthcare system, the genetic counselling field is constantly adapting to expand the breadth of services provided by the highly skilled professionals it boasts.
There is an increasing demand for genetic expertise in various fields, which opens up many new opportunities for genetic counselling professionals. This includes working in administration, management, business development, research, public and professional education, internet companies and websites, public health, clinical laboratories, public policy, and consulting (Human Genome Project Information, 2008; National Society of Genetic Counselors [NSGC], 2012b). Additionally, the NSGC 2012 Professional Status Survey (PSS) reports that cardiovascular medicine, genomic medicine, neuropsychiatric genetics, assisted reproductive technologies, and preconception/preimplantation diagnosis to be emerging specialties with the genetic counseling field.
According to the NSGC 2012 PSS, the average salary for a full-time genetic counselor is $68, 000 (US dollars) but can reach up to $170, 000 depending on specialty area, experience, and location.
Overall, 91% of genetic counselors who participated in the NSGC 2012 PSS reported they were satisfied with their job. Respondents reported being most satisfied with the professional opportunities (e.g. scientific content, learning opportunities, and counseling patients) and the opportunity for personal growth. However, there was dissatisfaction with opportunity for advancement and earning potential (NSGC, 2012a).
The National Human Genome Research Institute (2012) asserts that as the medical field directs more attention to genetic science and personalized medicine, the need for healthcare professionals with the knowledge and training to assess and communicate genetic-related issues will rise substantially. Genetic counsellors are increasingly in demand.
Individuals can prepare themselves for an evolving career in genetic counseling by taking advantage of opportunities outside of the typical clinical setting. By keeping an open mind and trying new experiences, new facets of the profession can be explored. The field is rapidly progressing, which constantly provides new challenges and opportunities for its professionals.