Genetic counselors are health care professionals who support individuals seeking information about inherited diseases. They receive graduate-level education in both medical genetics and psychosocial counseling.
In High Demand
The workforce demand for genetic counselors continues to accelerate nationally, alongside the tremendous explosion of knowledge in the field of genetics and genetic testing.
Factors driving demand include the increasing use of genetic testing in routine care, personalized disease management and improved access to genetic testing.
Here are some ways a genetic counselor can make a difference in the lives of individuals:
- Empower individuals to understand how their genetic information impacts their life.
- Interpret and explain genetic test results.
- Provide psychosocial counseling to promote informed choices.
- Analyze family histories to assess risk for genetic disease.
- Educate individuals on management, prevention and resources for genetic conditions.
- Specialize in pediatrics, perinatal, oncology, neurology, cardiology and many other areas.
- Work in a variety of settings including clinical, research, laboratory, education, public health, industry and marketing.
While there are more than 50 accredited genetic counseling programs in the United States, the University of Kansas School of Health Professions will offer the only professional degree program leading to a master's degree in genetic counseling in the state of Kansas.
The program will be two years in length and will be held at the University of Kansas Medical Center. While there may be opportunities for online learning, all students in the program will need to relocate to the Kansas City area.
As a certified genetic counselor, Erin Youngs, M.S., CGC, has practiced at health care facilities in Kansas City and Oklahoma City for 14 years with a primary clinical focus in oncology. She has worked in genetic counseling program leadership roles for the last eight years serving as assistant director and program director in Oklahoma City before taking on her role for KU's program. View Youngs' faculty bio.
Assistant Program Director
Lauren Bartik, M.S., CGC, joined KU in 2022 as the assistant director of the genetic counseling master’s degree program. As a certified genetic counselor, Bartik has practiced at Children’s Mercy Hospital for ten years. Her primary specialty has been pediatrics with a focus on cardiology, craniofacial, inpatient consults and 22q11.2 deletion/duplication syndrome.
Members of program leadership are currently working on achieving candidate status through the Accreditation Council for Genetic Counseling. Once achieved, program leadership will submit a new program application. The review process for this application can take up to one year. Please check back for updates on our progress.
- National Society of Genetic Counselors: Become a Genetic Counselor
- Association for Genetic Counseling Program Directors: Information for Prospective Students
- Accreditation Council for Genetic Counseling: Program Directory