The Genetic Counseling Program

Class of 2015
Welcome, Class of 2015!

The Master of Science in Genetic Counseling program offers a degree in a recognized specialty in medical genetics. The two-year, full-time graduate program is designed to provide students with the proficiencies and knowledge base required of a successful practitioner. The program includes scientific, medical, psychological and clinical courses combined with practical experience.

Students are taught to understand the complex environment in which the genetic counselor must work and learn to apply knowledge from the life sciences and psychology in order to address the needs of patients, community lay groups, and health and human services professionals. A research project/thesis during the second year is required for graduation.

The program meets the requirements of the Accreditation Council of Genetic Counseling for curriculum content, clinical experience and overall program design and has been granted full accreditation status. Therefore, students who graduate from the Arcadia University Genetic Counseling program are qualified to sit for the certification examination offered by the ABGC.

Class of 14
Class of 2014

A Growing Profession

Genetic Counseling is a growing profession that combines expertise in scientific knowledge and finely developed counseling abilities. The majority of graduates work in major medical centers. The range of positions open to genetic counselors continues to expand and now includes general genetics services (pediatric and adult), clinical services devoted to one diagnosis (a specialty clinic), community support organizations, public health departments and services, administration, research, commercial laboratories, and private practice. The continuing growth in genomic testing predicts expansion for the profession.

Recent data suggest that there are sufficient numbers of positions available for new graduates in the field. The mean starting salary for a genetic counselor with a master¹s degree is $65,000, based on the Professional Status Survey of the National Society of Genetic Counselors (NSGC). The NSGC is a strong professional organization which provides ongoing education and communication for genetic counselors through annual conferences, webinars, a newsletter and the Journal of Genetic Counseling

US News & World Report named “genetic counselor” as a 2009 top 10 best career in terms of job satisfaction and job market outlook, with the national median pay at $71.000. 

Potential applicants are urged to contact the NSGC for information about careers in genetics at www.nsgc.org.

Academic and Clinical Facilities

Arcadia's typical class size is 12-14 students per year. Arcadia’s Genetic Counseling program has its very own house, located just across the street from Arcadia’s main campus. The Genetic Counseling house is a comfortable central location for all members of the program. Students spend a great deal of time here, especially during the first year. The house has its own classroom equipped with a SMART Board projector, a common area with several computers and plenty of comfortable seating, a kitchen, a library, and a dedicated reading room. Job opportunities, conference information and other resources are posted in the common area. The Genetic Counseling program faculty are within easy reach as well; their offices are just upstairs. Students have access to the building 24/7, and many choose to study here after class or on the weekends.

The wealth of genetics services in the Philadelphia area provides students with a broad range of clinical experiences in settings that include community hospitals and university-based medical centers. All clinically oriented courses are taught by experienced members of the genetics community.

Practica and Clinical Internships

The first-year practica are based at any of 24 different institutions throughout the Philadelphia area. In the second year, a total of 58 clinical internship sites are available. These sites include 22 prenatal, eight pediatric, 11 cancer, and numerous specialty clinics in the areas of reproductive genetics, neurogenetics, metabolic genetics, cardiovascular genetics and others. The clinical internships are supervised by board-certified genetic counselors and/or board-certified clinical geneticists. The location of these sites extends from Trenton, NJ, to Newark, DE, and from Camden, NJ, to Harrisburg, PA.

Employment and Achievement

The Arcadia University Genetic Counseling program has graduated more than 180 students who are working in more than 28 states. Arcadia graduates have achieved professional recognition in various areas. Many students have had thesis projects presented as abstracts or published in professional journals.

100 Percent of Alumni Recommend Arcadia's Program

Results of the 2010 Alumni Survey found that 100 percent of those who completed the survey would recommend Arcadia¹s Genetic Counseling program to prospective students. Ninety-eight percent also felt that their Arcadia training had prepared them well for work in the field. Employment rates were high, with 72 percent finding work within three months of graduation and 94 percent hired within 12 months.

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