Update on master's genetic counseling training programs: Survey of curriculum content and graduate analysis summary
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The field of genetic counseling is a recognized specialty in medical genetics with the primary practitioners being masters degree prepared individuals. Since the inception of the first master's degree genetic counseling (MGC) training program in 1969, more than 1000 genetic counselors have graduated from established training programs in United States and Canada. The MGC programs involve a 2-year academic curriculum of both didactic course work and supervised clinical field work (clinical praticums). A recent survey of 17 existing MGC training programs (16 U.S. and 1 Canadian) reveals that MGC graduates average a total of 1349 actual contact hours (range 854–1952 hours) during their 2-year degree program course of study. Clinical experience gained through clinical practica accounts for 58% of required coursework, followed by didactic coursework in basic science (21%) and counseling (16%), respectively. A few programs also have requisite laboratory practica, which accounts for 5% of overall content hours. The 17 existing MGC programs produce approximately 100 graduates annually. Although the number of programs has grown since inception of the first MGC program in 1969, the mean number of graduates per program remains fairly constant. By year 2002, the estimated total number of master's degree trained genetic counselors will approach 2200.
Key wordsmaster's genetic counseling programs genetic counselors training curriculum graduate levels manpower
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