The Genetic Counseling Program
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 basic 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.
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. The NSGC 2014 Professional Status Survey reports the median salary for clinical genetic counselors as $67,000.
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. Information about conferences, job announcements, and other opportunities 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
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
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 are high, with 100% of the graduates of the Class of 2013 employed in the genetic counseling field within three months of graduation.