There has never been a more exciting time to pursue a career in Medical Genetics. The rapid pace of scientific discovery is improving the ability to diagnose, manage, treat and prevent genetic conditions more profoundly than ever before, and this trend is predicted to continue. Likewise, our increased understanding of the genetic basis of common, chronic health problems affecting both children and adults will increase the demand for genetic services as well as for the providers of these services.
The American Board of Medical Genetics and Genomics (ABMGG), which certifies MD, DO and PhD medical geneticists, has been designated as the 24th primary specialty board of the American Board of Medical Specialties.
Clinical geneticists are physicians who become board eligible by completing a medical genetics residency; trainees sometimes elect to combine this residency with training in internal medical, pediatrics or obstetrics and gynecology. A brochure, Graduate Medical Education in Medical Genetics and Genomics, is available in pdf format. A complete list of accredited medical genetics residency programs is available from the ACGME website. Specific admissions requirements can be obtained by contacting the programs directly.
Clinical laboratory geneticists can hold either MD, DO or PhD degrees. These individuals oversee and work in laboratories that perform diagnostic genetic tests. These may be in the areas of cytogenetics, biochemical genetics or molecular genetics, and they may be testing for inherited or acquired genetic alterations. Clinical laboratory geneticists develop and implement new tests, provide ongoing assurance of the quality of routine tests, interpret test results and communicate these results to healthcare providers. Training involves an additional 2-year (24-month) fellowship following the completion of a PhD degree or a medical genetics residency for single specialty certification, and one additional year for each additional laboratory specialty. A complete list of accredited clinical laboratory genetics training programs is available at the ABMGG website. Specific admissions requirements can be obtained by contacting the programs directly.
Genetic counselors are members of the medical genetics team who integrate the science of medical genetics with the art of counseling in order to help people cope with genetic diagnoses, manage genetic risks, and make testing decisions. Genetic counselors work in clinical, research, public health and other settings where genetics education, tests or services are delivered. Genetic counselors hold Master’s degrees from genetic counseling graduate programs, and are nationally certified by the American Board of Genetic Counseling (ABGC). A list of accredited genetic counseling graduate programs is available on the ABGC website. More information about genetic counseling as a career can be found on the National Society of Genetic Counselors (NSGC) website.
Additional information about Graduate Programs in Human Genetics in the US and Canada can be found at GenEdNet.org. The programs are listed by institution; each program will have its own admissions requirements, which can be learned by contacting the program directly.