Jefferson College of Life Sciences launched our MS program in Human Genetics & Genetic Counseling in the Fall of 2017. Since the program’s inception, 96.4% of matriculated students have graduated (attrition rate 3.6%), with 100% being employed in a genetic counseling or related position upon graduation. Of students who have taken the board examination to date, the pass rate is 96%, with a first time pass rate of 77%.
Employment of genetic counselors is projected to grow 21% from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations, as reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The rich clinical and health science environment at Jefferson, coupled with the program's unique approach to supporting mastery of material and skills, provides students confidence and knowledge for success.
The learning outcomes for our program are based on the 2019 Practice-Based Competencies for Genetic Counselors set forth by the Accreditation Council for Genetic Counseling:
Domain I: Genetics Expertise & Analysis
- Demonstrate and utilize a depth and breadth of understanding and knowledge of genetics and genomics core concepts and principles.
- Integrate knowledge of psychosocial aspects of conditions with a genetic component to promote client well- being.
- Construct relevant, targeted and comprehensive personal and family histories and pedigrees.
- Identify, assess, facilitate, and integrate genetic testing options in genetic counseling practice (including molecular and non-molecular testing that impacts assessment of inherited risk).
- Assess individuals’ and their relatives’ probability of conditions with a genetic component or carrier status based on their pedigree, test result(s), and other pertinent information.
- Demonstrate the skills necessary to successfully manage a genetic counseling case.
- Critically assess genetic/genomic, medical and social science literature and information.
Domain II: Interpersonal, Psychosocial & Counseling Skills
- Establish a mutually agreed upon genetic counseling agenda with the client.
- Employ active listening and interviewing skills to identify, assess, and empathically respond to stated and emerging concerns.
- Use a range of genetic counseling skills and models to facilitate informed decision-making and adaptation to genetic risks or conditions.
- Promote client-centered, informed, non-coercive and value-based decision-making.
- Understand how to adapt genetic counseling skills for varied service delivery models.
- Apply genetic counseling skills in a culturally responsive and respectful manner to all clients.
Domain III: Education
- Effectively educate clients about a wide range of genetics and genomics information based on their needs, their characteristics and the circumstances of the encounter.
- Write concise and understandable clinical and scientific information for audiences of varying educational backgrounds.
- Effectively give a presentation on genetics, genomics and genetic counseling issues.
Domain IV: Professional Development & Practice
- Act in accordance with the ethical, legal and philosophical principles and values of the genetic counseling profession and the policies of one’s institution or organization.
- Demonstrate understanding of the research process.
- Advocate for individuals, families, communities and the genetic counseling profession.
- Demonstrate a self-reflective, evidenced-based and current approach to genetic counseling practice.
- Understand the methods, roles and responsibilities of the process of clinical supervision of trainees.
- Establish and maintain professional interdisciplinary relationships in both team and one-on-one settings, and recognize one’s role in the larger healthcare system.