The field of genetic counseling is expected to grow 18% from 2021 to 2031, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Designed to fill that need, the Genetic Counseling Graduate Program, administered by the University of Arizona Health Sciences and located in the College of Medicine – Tucson’s Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, was the first of its kind in Arizona when the initial students were enrolled in 2019.
The rigorous two-year, 63-credit master’s program involves academic work, clinical rotations, and a research project. Graduates of the program are well-equipped to work in a variety of settings, from traditional health care organizations to commercial laboratories, and across different clinical specialties, including adult genetics, pediatrics, oncology, obstetrics, cardiology, public health and pharmacogenomics.
The cornerstone of genetic counseling is the communication of complicated genetic health information to patients and their families. Genetic counselors use their expertise to help clients interpret genetic testing results and understand the diagnosis. They can also help guide decisions about medical care, including screenings, surgeries, medications and more.
Genetic counselors can provide insight that can help determine the best treatment options, whether the issue is an inherited gene mutation that increases the risk of breast cancer or an undiagnosed pediatric condition. It is a field that requires lifelong learning of new techniques and new technologies. Recent advancements in precision medicine and an ever-expanding understanding of genetics make the field of genetic counseling ripe for new discoveries and new ways of helping patients