Beginning as a young child, one is always posed the question “what do you aspire to be when you grow up?” However, it can be difficult to know as one’s interests can often change, and there is a wide array of careers from which to choose. Although, some of these careers may be unknown. One such is a medical career called a clinical geneticist.
A clinical geneticist serves as a counselor in order to advise patients on how to deal with a medical condition and what the potential risks are for passing it on to future generations. They can help to counsel patients by researching families in order to gain a better understanding of the cause of the particular disease or condition. They can also perform lab tests by collect and analyzing DNA samples using gel electrophoresis, southern blot analysis, PCR analysis, and other biochemical processes. This is done in order to determine if the patient is a carrier of a particular disease.
Some individuals may seek out a genetic counselor in order to determine whether they have inherited arrhythmia. Inherited arrhythmias include coronary heart disease and predispose adults to sudden cardiac arrest and death. Recently the genes which cause inherited arrhythmias have been identified, and DNA sequencing technology has been improved so that patients with inherited arrhythmias can be genetically tested.
Others may also seek out a genetic counselor if they have genetic diseases such as sickle cell anemia, Tay Sachs, Down syndrome. The individual may wish to be genetically tested if they are pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant and wish to determine the chance of passing on a genetic disease to their children.
Clinical geneticists, earning a salary range of $85,000 to $210,000, work in clinics that specialize in genetic disorders, and may work alongside a genetic counselor in order to coordinate testing, management, and treatment options.
In order to become a clinical geneticist, one must attend medical school. In order to prepare for this, most professionals in this career have a bachelor’s degree in biology or physical science. In attending medical school, one should earn a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine degree. One can then precede to a residency program and earn ABMG certification. Prior to beginning practice, one must additionally pass the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE).
- Education Portal. (2014). “Clinical Geneticist: Job Description, Duties and Requirements.” 2014. Web. <http://education-portal.com/article/Clinical_Geneticist_Job_Description_Duties_and_Requirements.html>.
- Mizusawa, Yuka. “Recent Advances in Genetic Testing and Counseling for Inherited Arrhythmias.” Science Direct. Elsevier B.V., n.d. Web. < http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1880427616000119>.
- Strauss, E. “Hearst Newspapers. Responsibilities of a Clinical Geneticist.” N.d. <http://work.chron.com/responsibilities-clinical-geneticist-7756.html>.