Journal of Genetic Counseling

, Volume 26, Issue 3, pp 567–575 | Cite as

Genetic Counselor Workforce Issues: a Survey of Genetic Counselors Licensed in the State of Indiana

  • Stephanie A. CohenEmail author
  • Megan E. Tucker
  • Paula Delk
Original Research


The aims of this study were to document movement of genetic counselors (GCs) out of clinical positions and identify factors that might help employers attract and retain clinical GCs. A confidential on-line survey of GCs ever licensed in the state of Indiana was conducted. Of the 46 respondents, most provide direct patient care (69.6 %), have worked in their current position for 5 years or less (72.1 %), and are experienced genetic counselors, having graduated between 6 and 15 years ago (43.5 %). One-third (32.6 %) reported thinking about leaving their current position at least monthly. GCs were more likely to think about leaving their current position when they provided direct patient care (p = 0.04) and worked in a hospital/clinic setting (p = 0.01). Among the 18 respondents that changed jobs in the past two years, 55.6 % currently work in a laboratory/industry setting and 44.4 % provide direct patient care, compared to 8 % of those in a stable position (N = 25) who work in a laboratory/industry setting (p < 0.01) and 88 % who provide direct patient care (p < 0.01). Genetic counselors who have changed jobs within the past 2 years were more satisfied with the possibility for advancement (p = 0.01), the recognition for work they do (p = 0.03) and feeling value from the organization (p = 0.04) in their current positions than those who have not changed jobs. Salary and flexibility were most often reported as reasons for changing jobs. This is the first documentation of the movement of GCs out of clinical roles into industry positions. This changing landscape may impact the access to clinical services and the training of genetic counseling students. This data will provide employers with data to help attract and retain GCs in clinical roles.


Genetic counselors Workforce issues Access 



Thanks to Todd Foster, PhD, who provided statistical analysis for this study. We would also like to thank the genetic counselors licensed in the state of Indiana who took the time to contribute by participating in this study.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

Author Stephanie Cohen, Author Megan Tucker and Author Paula Delk declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Human Studies and Informed Consent

All procedures followed were in accordance with the ethical standards of the responsible committee on human experimentation (institutional and national) and with the Helsinki Declaration of 1975, as revised in 2000 (5). Written informed consent was not required by St. Vincent Institutional Review Board (2015–038) because no identifying information was collected, but informed consent was implied when participants opted to take the survey.

Animal Studies

This article does not contain any studies with animals performed by any of the authors.

Supplementary material

10897_2016_26_MOESM1_ESM.docx (20 kb)
Supplemental Table 1 (DOCX 20 kb)
10897_2016_26_MOESM2_ESM.docx (16 kb)
Supplemental Table 2 (DOCX 16 kb)
10897_2016_26_MOESM3_ESM.docx (92 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 91 kb)


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Copyright information

© National Society of Genetic Counselors, Inc. 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stephanie A. Cohen
    • 1
    Email author
  • Megan E. Tucker
    • 2
  • Paula Delk
    • 3
  1. 1.Cancer Genetics Risk Assessment ProgramSt. Vincent HealthIndianapolisUSA
  2. 2.The Center for Genomic Advocacy/Genetic Counseling Graduate ProgramIndiana State UniversityTerre HauteUSA
  3. 3.IU School of MedicineIndiana University Genetic Counseling ProgramIndianapolisUSA

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