Genetics

Genetics + Metabolism Residency Program

A career in Genetics or Genetic Counseling is extremely rewarding. The field of medical genetics and genomics is comprised of several different specialties.

Genetic counseling

Genetic counselors are professionals who have specialized education in genetics and counseling to provide personalized help patients may need as they make decisions about their genetic health. Today, there are close to 5,000 certified genetic counselors.

Genetic counselors have advanced training in medical genetics and counseling to interpret genetic test results and to guide and support patients seeking more information about such things as: 

  • How inherited diseases and conditions might affect them or their families.
  • How family and medical histories may impact the chance of disease occurrence or recurrence.
  • Which genetic tests may or may not be right for them, and what those tests may or may not tell.
  • How to make the most informed choices about healthcare conditions.

Most genetic counselors work in a clinic or hospital and often work with obstetricians, oncologists and other doctors. Like doctors, genetic counselors can work in a variety of settings and provide different services. They may provide general care, or specialize in one or more areas, including:

  • Prenatal and Preconception – for women who are pregnant or thinking about becoming pregnant
  • Pediatric – for children and their family members
  • Cancer – for patients with cancer and their family members
  • Cardiovascular – for patients with diseases of the heart or circulatory system and their family members
  • Neurology – for patients with diseases of the brain and nervous system and their family members.

Focus on research

Additionally, some genetic counselors focus on research, including collecting information such as detailed family histories and pregnancy information, that helps researchers and advances care for people with genetic conditions.

Learn more about how to become a genetic counselor >

Clinical Geneticist

Clinical geneticists are physicians who care for patients in clinical settings and often carry out clinical or translational research related to patient care. They have broad training in the evaluation, diagnosis, management and treatment of inherited conditions in patients across all ages from birth to adulthood.

Because of the wide-ranging effects of inherited conditions, clinical geneticists work at the intersection of many other medical disciplines. Advances in genetic and genomic technology, including massively parallel and whole genome and exome sequencing, offer unprecedented opportunities to diagnose and treat genetic conditions. 

Clinical geneticists have medical degrees such as MD, DO or equivalent degrees and have completed at least one residency year in a primary specialty followed by two years of medical genetics and genomics residency training. Combined medical genetics and genomics training programs are also available with pediatrics, internal medicine, maternal fetal medicine, and reproductive endocrinology and infertility.

Learn more about how to become a genetic counselor >


Clinical Laboratory Geneticists

Clinical laboratory geneticists direct specialized clinical laboratories that perform testing for inherited and acquired genetic disorders. Clinical laboratory geneticists are an integral part of the healthcare team and work in diverse laboratory settings such as academic medical centers, reference laboratories and the biotechnology industry.

Biochemical laboratory geneticists use mass spectrometry and other biochemical laboratory technologies to evaluate patients for inherited metabolic disorders. LGG-certified individuals use genetic and genomic laboratory methodologies to investigate the molecular basis of inherited and acquired conditions in patients. Clinical laboratory geneticists also interpret genetic, genomic and biochemical test results in the context of a patient’s medical and family history and nongenetic test results, and they provide comprehensive reports to ordering clinicians that include descriptions of the clinical implications of the test results for the patient and discussion of the implications, if any, for the patient’s family members. Both biochemical laboratory geneticists and LGG-certified geneticists also frequently conduct translational research, teach and carry out other educational and administrative activities.

Clinical laboratory geneticists hold PhD, MD, DO or other similar degrees. They have completed a two-year fellowship in clinical biochemical genetics or LGG training program; candidates seeking training in both specialties complete additional training for the second specialty.

Learn more about how to become a clinical laboratory geneticist >