Movement of Genetic Counselors from Clinical to Non-clinical Positions: Identifying Driving Forces


A previous study of genetic counselors (GCs) in the state of Indiana identified movement out of clinical positions within the past 2 years. The aims of this study were to determine if this trend is nationwide and identify reasons why GCs are leaving their positions and factors that might help employers attract and retain GCs. An email was sent to members of the American Board of Genetic Counseling with a link to an online confidential survey. There were 939 responses (23.5% response rate). Overall, 52% of GCs report being highly satisfied in their current position, although almost two thirds think about leaving and one third had changed jobs within the past 2 years. Of those who had changed jobs (n = 295), 74.9% had been working in a hospital/clinic setting but only 46.3% currently do, demonstrating a major shift out of the clinic (p < 0.001). The top three reasons cited for leaving a position were work environment/institutional climate, salary/benefits, and a lack of feeling valued/recognized as a professional. These results confirm that GCs are moving out of clinical positions and document elements of job satisfaction. We suggest points for employers to consider when trying to recruit or retain GCs.

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Correspondence to Stephanie A. Cohen.

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Stephanie Cohen and Megan Tucker 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). Necessity of written informed consent was waived per IRB review.

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

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Cohen, S.A., Tucker, M.E. Movement of Genetic Counselors from Clinical to Non-clinical Positions: Identifying Driving Forces. J Genet Counsel 27, 792–799 (2018).

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  • Genetic counselors
  • Job satisfaction
  • Workforce
  • Genetic counseling