Clinical Geneticist: Job Description, Duties and Requirements
Clinical geneticists focus on analyzing, evaluating and caring for patients with genetic diseases. They screen for inherited conditions and diseases derived from altered DNA. They must be licensed as physicians after completing a lengthy stretch of education and training.
Clinical Geneticist Job Description
Clinical geneticists are specialized physicians who diagnose and treat patients with inherited or otherwise genetically influenced health issues. They organize screenings for inborn errors, prescribe therapy and interact with genetic counselors.
A clinical geneticist evaluates patients at risk for inherited diseases, like Alzheimer's disease, and treats inherited disorders such as cystic fibrosis, hemophilia and sickle cell disease. Geneticists also treat different forms of cancer and other abnormal conditions associated with genetic alteration.
The American Board of Medical Genetics (ABMG) offers clinical certification for the areas of genetics, molecular genetics, biochemical genetics and cytogenetics (www.abmg.org). They offer additional certification in the subspecialties of molecular genetic pathology and medical biochemical genetics.
Duties of a Clinical Geneticist
Medical geneticists begin by evaluating the medical histories of their patients and their patients' families. They collect and analyze DNA samples using gel electrophoresis, Southern blot analysis, polymerase chain reaction analysis and other biochemical processes.
They may supervise the laboratory technicians who conduct testing and manage the collection of documents. Clinical geneticists also coordinate testing, management and treatment information with genetic counselors.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the employment of physicians is predicted to grow by 24% between 2010 and 2020 (www.bls.gov). In May of 2012, the BLS estimated the annual average salary of physicians to be $184,820.
Requirements for Becoming a Clinical Geneticist
Aspiring geneticists must finish as much as eight years of education plus approximately six years of residency to earn ABMG certification. Generally, individuals complete a biological or physical science bachelor's degree program in order to be prepared for medical school. After completing a Medical Doctor (M.D.) or Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (D.O.) degree program, students are eligible for a residency program.
An M.D. or a D.O. can serve a 2-year residency in internal medicine, pediatrics or another medical specialty followed by a genetics fellowship. Alternately, one can enter a 4-5 year residency that pairs genetics with another specialty. Another year of training is needed to be eligible for either ABMG subspecialty certification.
Like all physicians, geneticists must pass the multi-step United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) in order to practice; those on the D.O. path can take the USMLE or the Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensing Exam (COMLEX). The three steps are typically taken in the second year and then the fourth year of medical school and at the end of the resident's first year.
Related to Clinical Geneticist: Job Description, Duties and Requirements
- Recently Updated
Training in clinical genetics is available as post-doctoral residency programs. The programs offer advanced educational and...
Professionals in the field of health management and clinical administration plan, direct, coordinate and supervise the...
Clinical psychology is an academic discipline involving the research and diagnosis of psychological issues and disorders in a...
Clinical research as a field of study involves the testing of various medicines, products and treatments for effectiveness and...
- How to Become a Clinical Technologist: Step-by-Step Career Guide
- Top Schools with Clinical Psychology Doctoral Programs: List of Schools
- Top Schools with a Masters in Clinical Psychology Program
- Surgical Veterinary Aide Career Info
- Bank Underwriter: Profile of a Career in Bank Loan Underwriting
- Employee Benefits Manager: Job Description & Career Requirements
- Securities Lawyer: Job Description and Education Requirements
- Jobs and Salary Info for a Masters in Clinical Psychology Degree
- Doctorate in Clinical Research: Info for PhD Students
- Scientific Officer: Job Description, Duties, Salary and Outlook
- Schools with Equine Rehabilitation Programs: How to Choose
- Master's in Public Safety & Security: Degree Program Information