Genetics counselors provide critical services to patients and to the health care field as a whole by:
working as members of a health care team, providing information and support to families with histories of birth defects or genetic disorders and to families who may be at risk for a variety of inherited conditions
identifying families at risk, investigating the problem present in the family, interpreting information about the disorder and analyzing inheritance patterns and risks of recurrence
providing supportive counseling to families, reviewing available options, serving as patient advocates and referring patients to support services
Students can enter the genetics counseling field from a variety of undergraduate disciplines, including biochemistry, biology, nursing, psychology and social work. Hiram College prepares future genetics counselors by engaging them in genetics research through the Center for Scientific Engagement.
Upon completing an undergraduate degree, students obtain a Master of Science degree from an accredited two-year graduate program in genetic counseling. Following graduation, genetic counselors become certified through the American Board of Genetic Counseling after passing rigorous board examinations.