Certification is a voluntary process for ensuring that health professionals remain up to date in the field. Just as doctors undergo certification, genetic counselors can be certified as well. The American Board of Genetic Counseling (ABCG) certifies genetic counselors. Certification is usually required because it is an important demonstration that the individual has met the standards necessary to provide competent genetic counseling.
Additionally, many hospitals and clinics require their genetic counselors to be certified.
To become ABCG-certified, a genetic counselor must:
- Obtain a master’s degree in genetic counseling from one of the 35 Accreditation Council for Genetic Counseling (ACGC) accredited programs in the United States and Canada
- Take and pass a rigorous certification exam
Because medicine is constantly advancing, genetic counselors who received their initial certification in 1996 or later must recertify every five or 10 years, depending on when they were certified. There are two ways genetic counselors can recertify: either by taking the certification exam, or by completing a specific amount of continuing education units (CEUs) and/or professional activity credits (PACs).
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