, Volume 14, Issue 1, pp 71-81

Consideration of Genetic Counseling as a Career: Implications for Diversifying the Genetic Counseling Field

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Abstract

Under-representation of racial/ethnic minority counselors has been an ongoing issue in the genetic counseling field. A better understanding of genetic counseling awareness and career consideration may help to increase the number of applicants to genetic counseling training programs from racial/ethnic minorities. This study sampled high school and college students (n = 233) to examine their awareness and perceptions of genetic counseling. Ethnicity, gender, parental level of education, and interest in biology were significant predictors of a subject’s genetic counseling awareness; previous awareness of genetic counseling, interest in psychology, and level of education were significant predictors of whether a subject would consider genetic counseling as a career. The findings suggest that knowledge of genetic counseling is lower among racial/ethnic minorities, but that racial/ethnic minorities are just as likely to consider genetic counseling as a career. Awareness of genetic counseling prior to university education may increase racial/ethnic minority representation among potential applicants to genetic counseling training programs.