Bob Litt
Written By - Bob Litt

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Genomic medicine and genetic technology have advanced dramatically in the last decade, leading to a niche field called Genetic Counseling. Genetic counseling is a fascinating field that combines comprehensive training in human, molecular, and medical genetics with counseling skills and expertise. Genetic counselors are members of a healthcare team who provide information and support to families with members who have congenital disabilities or hereditary illnesses, as well as families that may be at risk for a variety of inherited diseases. They locate at-risk families, study the problem in the family, interpret disorder information, analyze inheritance patterns and recurrence risks, and discuss choices with the family.  To make up a comprehensive program, online genetic counseling programs typically cover biology, genetics, nursing, psychology, public health, and social work.

Masters in Genetic
Counseling Online

Table Of Contents

Featured Online Programs

Southern New Hampshire University

PROGRAM: Online Masters Degrees

Southern New Hampshire University is a private, nonprofit, accredited institution with more than 3,000 on-campus students and over 60,000 online students, making us one of the fastest-growing universities in the country. Founded in 1932, we’ve been relentlessly reinventing higher education ever since and have gained national recognition for our dedication to helping students transform their lives and the lives of those around them.

We’re proud to provide affordable, accessible education that students can pursue on our 300-acre campus in Manchester, NH, over our innovative online platform or at our regional centers in Manchester, Nashua, Portsmouth and Salem, NH, and Brunswick, ME.

SNHU has earned the Best Buy and Best of Business – Best Online Degree awards and is consistently ranked as a top Military Friendly® School by G.I Jobs®.

Best Master’s in Genetic Counseling Online Programs

Genetic Counseling is a highly scientific and complex subject. It is, therefore, crucial to find a top college that offers a quality degree. The best master’s in Genetic Counseling online programs should be backed by an experienced faculty, state-of-the-art research and clinical facilities, excellent infrastructure, value for money, accreditation, and much more. Based on these and other relevant factors, here is a list of the best online Genetic Counseling degree programs:

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College Name & AddressTuitionGraduation Rate
University of South Carolina
Columbia-Campus, Columbia, South Carolina 29208
University of South Florida(on-campus)
4202 East Fowler Ave, Tampa, Florida 33620
Johns Hopkins University
3400 N Charles St, Baltimore, Maryland 21218
Augustana University(on-campus)
2001 S Summit Ave, Sioux Falls, South Dakota 57197
University of Maryland(on-campus)
620 West Lexington St, Baltimore, Maryland 21201
Boise State University
1910 University Dr, Boise, Idaho 83725
Bay Path University
588 Longmeadow Street, Longmeadow, Massachusetts 01106
The University of Texas Health Science Center, Houston
7000 Fannin, Houston, Texas 77030
University of Colorado Denver(on-campus)
1380 Lawrence Street, Lawrence Street Center, Suite 1400, Denver, Colorado 80217
Indiana State University
210 N 7th St, Terre Haute, Indiana 47809

Source – Integrated Post Secondary Education Data System & University Data
*Tuition rates are for in-state and per year. Program specific rates may apply.
**NA – data not available

Understanding Master’s in Genetic Counseling Online Programs

A Genetic Counseling program is said to come under the larger umbrella of a Master of Public Health (MPH) program. The master’s in genetic counseling online program combines a solid academic foundation and hands-on clinical practice with independent research to prepare graduates for the fast-paced, evolving field of genetic counseling. With diverse clinical assignments such as prenatal, pediatrics, oncology, cardiology, neurology, and psychiatric genetics, students can obtain specialized skills and work toward a genetic counseling degree. They gain knowledge through a combination of direct classroom instruction and hands-on engagement with genetic counselors, medical geneticists, and other healthcare experts.

The master’s in genetic counseling program is designed to give students the skills and information they need to succeed and adapt in the field of genomic medicine.

Curriculum and Skills Gained in Master’s in Genetic Counseling Programs

A Master’s in Genetic Counseling degree program will typically comprise three parts – Coursework in Genetics, Coursework in Counseling, and multiple Clinical Rotations or Practicums, which may include pediatric, prenatal, adult, and specialty genetics clinics such as cardiology, neurology, industry, and ophthalmology, among others. Additionally, some programs may require a capstone project or thesis to be submitted towards the end of the program. Here are a few examples of online genetic counseling courses one can expect:

Introduction to Clinical Genetics

This course provides students a foundational understanding of genetic principles, molecular genetics, and clinical applications. This course equips future genetic counselors with the essential knowledge to analyze and communicate genetic information effectively in a clinical setting, preparing them for diverse challenges in the field.

Advanced Clinical Genetics Concepts

This program explores complex genetic topics, enhancing students’ clinical proficiency. This course explores advanced genetic principles, emerging technologies, and ethical considerations, ensuring genetic counselors acquire the expertise needed to address evolving challenges in clinical practice.

Clinical Biochemical Genetics for Genetic Counselors

This program focuses on the biochemical aspects of genetic disorders. This course equips students with the knowledge and skills necessary to interpret biochemical data, integrate it into genetic counseling practice, and effectively communicate complex information to patients.

Laboratory Genetics and Genomics for the Genetic Counselor

This program immerses students in the practical aspects of genetic testing. This course covers laboratory techniques, result interpretation, and effective communication of genetic findings, preparing genetic counselors to navigate the intricate landscape of genetic diagnostics in clinical practice.

Cancer Genetics Risk Assessment and Counseling

This program provides specialized training in assessing and counseling individuals at risk for hereditary cancer. This course explores genetic factors, risk assessment models, and communication strategies, enabling genetic counselors to guide patients through cancer-related genetic information with expertise and empathy.

Some common courses in a Master’s in Genetic Counseling program may also include:

  • Clinical Embryology and Prenatal Diagnosis
  • Medical Genetic Counseling Research Seminar
  • Research Strategies and Analysis in Clinical Genetics
  • Genetic Counseling Theory & Practice
  • Financial, Ethical, Legal & Social Issues in Genetics
  • Clinical Skills
  • Molecular Lab Rotation
  • Principles of Human & Medical Genetics
  • Reproductive Genetics
  • Biostatistics in Genetic Counseling
  • Pediatric & Biochemical Genetics
  • Clinical Embryology
  • Human and Molecular Genetics
  • Cancer Genetics & Genomics
  • Research Methods & Design in Genetic Counseling
  • Adult Genetics & Common Diseases
  • Applied Clinical & Laboratory Genetics
  • Techniques of Counseling                               
  • Foundations in Genetic Counseling            
  • Human Genetics                                              
  • Diagnostic Genetics                                         
  • Embryology
  • Multicultural Counseling
  • Foundations in Genetic Counseling
  • Cancer Genetics
  • Clinical Simulations
  • Research in Biology
  • Medical Genetics
  • Ethics of Genome Science and Genetic Counseling
  • Cytogenetics
  • Genome Science                                                     
  • Human Population Genetics
  • Human Lifespan Development
  • Research in Biology
  • Medical and Clinical Genetics

On exiting the program, graduates of a master in Genetic Counseling will demonstrate various skills, including the ability to:

  • abide by the professional standards of genetic counseling ethics, law, and philosophy;
  • facilitate culturally relevant sessions and support patient autonomy by using psychosocial skills;
  • use genetic expertise to fulfill the specific needs of each client;
  • understand genetic concepts such as the biological basis of inheritance, quantitative genetics, and risk assessment principles;
  • conduct a genetic counseling session by evaluating the patient’s needs and concerns, doing a genetic risk assessment, presenting appropriate genetic and medical information, giving supportive counseling, and aiding the family in accessing essential resources and support;
  • successfully educate patients, healthcare practitioners, and the public to produce future leaders in the fields of genetics and healthcare; and
  • demonstrate knowledge of genetic literature, including the competence to conduct library research, evaluate scientific papers critically, and contribute to clinical research.

Master’s in Genetic Counseling Degree Types

With Genetic Counseling being a scientific and highly technical subject, master’s studies in this field are usually offered in only one degree type – the Master of Science or MS in Genetic Counseling. Some colleges allow students to pick another domain, such as Public Health, specializing in Genetic Counseling (Master of Science in Public Health with a concentration in Genetic Counseling (MSPH-GC)).

MS Genetic Counseling

Master of Science (MS) in Genetic Counseling is a research-based, technically focused study of Genetic Counseling, complete with clinical practicums, hands-on training, and a substantial focus on counseling/psychology subjects as well. While some colleges may not require a thesis as part of the program, others may insist on one.

Specializations in Master’s in Genetic Counseling Programs

In most instances, a master’s degree program will offer concentrations or specializations that drill down into the subject, allowing the student to qualify as a specialist in one particular subject area. With Genetic Counseling being a complex and specialty subject, no known concentrations are available. However, with the advancements in this space, the future may bring about specializations hitherto unknown.

Timeline For Graduating From Master’s in Genetic Counseling Online Programs

In most instances, graduating from a master’s in Genetic Counseling online program requires a minimum of 18 to 24 months. Part-time students can take up to five years to finish their degree. However, it must be noted that factors such as the quantum of research and the clinical hours required may directly affect timelines.

Accelerated Master’s in Genetic Counseling Online Programs

Accelerated Master’s in Genetic Counseling programs provide an expedited path for prospective students, allowing them to quickly gain expertise in the field. These programs are designed to meet the growing demand for genetic counselors. Prospective students benefit from a shorter timeframe and specialized training. Ensuring these programs are accredited for quality assurance and professional recognition is crucial. Here are two universities that offer accelerated master’s in genetic counseling programs:

University of Washington1 – 18 months

MGH Institute of Health Professions2– 21 months

Admission Requirements for Master’s in Genetic Counseling Online Programs

Most Genetic Counseling grad school requirements are standard across universities. To apply, students must have an undergraduate degree in genetics or a related discipline, such as biology, genetics, psychology, public health, and nursing. Those from other backgrounds will have to meet genetic counselor requirements and complete courses that can make them eligible to apply. Here is a quick run-down of admission requirements for a master’s in Genetic Counseling online program:

  • A Bachelor’s Degree in Genetics or a relevant field
  • A completed Application Form with the requisite Application Fee
  • Official Academic Transcripts with a Grade Point Average (GPA) of 3.0 or higher
  • A current Résumé covering relevant work/educational experience in the field
  • Three Letters of Recommendation
  • A Personal Statement

Master’s in Genetic Counseling Online No GRE Programs

The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is computer-based and adaptive and measures a candidate’s readiness for advanced-level academic study. Many universities and institutions require a GRE  score as part of their admission criteria for a diverse range of graduate programs, although it can be waived in exceptional cases. Students should consult the Program Guide or contact the college’s admissions office for the most up-to-date information. The University of Washington3 and the University of Connecticut4 provide a master’s in genetic counseling with no GRE requirement.

Important: All United States and Canada genetic counseling programs participate in the Genetic Counseling Admissions Match through National Matching Services (NMS). The GC Admissions Match has been created to improve the process of placing applicants into positions in master’s- level genetic counseling programs accredited by the Accreditation Council for Genetic Counseling (ACGC). The Match uses an algorithm and method that considers the preferences of both candidates and programs. Both candidates and programs will submit ranked lists of preferred placements to NMS by the deadlines specified on the NMS website after all program interviews. Applicants and programs will get the Match’s binding results simultaneously at a stipulated time. Students are advised to explore the National Matching Services (NMS)5 website for more information.

Accredited Master’s in Genetic Counseling Online Programs

Accreditation ensures that educational programs meet established standards, assuring quality and relevance. For prospective Master’s in Genetic Counseling students, choosing accredited programs is crucial. The Accreditation Council for Genetic Counseling (ACGC)6 is the primary accrediting agency for master’s programs in genetic counseling in the United States. ACGC accreditation guarantees a comprehensive curriculum, experienced faculty, and recognition by industry professionals, enhancing job prospects. It also ensures compliance with ethical guidelines, providing students with a solid foundation to excel in the dynamic field of genetic counseling. 

Universities can also be accredited nationally or by one of six regional accrediting agencies:

Find out more about accreditation in the Accreditation Guide.

Free Online Genetic Counseling Programs

Free courses offer a valuable avenue for knowledge enhancement. While not accredited, they provide accessible learning opportunities, allowing students to explore diverse subjects at their own pace. These courses serve as a resource for skill development and expanding understanding, contributing to continuous learning and personal growth without financial constraints. Here are a few free online courses for master’s in genetic counseling students can explore:

CourseIntroduction to DNA and Genealogy7
Provided byAlison
DescriptionThis course offers a comprehensive exploration of how DNA testing enhances genealogical research. Covering ethical aspects and exploring Civil registration records, the course provides valuable insights into unraveling family history. This free resource is ideal for anyone interested in understanding the intersection of DNA and genealogy.
CourseWhat is Genetic Counseling8
Provided byClass Central
DescriptionThis introductory course offers a comprehensive overview of genetic counseling practice. Recommended for students in the MSc Genomic Counseling Program, it is equally valuable for clinicians or scientists seeking insights into the genetic counselor’s role. The interactive format facilitates global connections among course members and genetic counselors.
CourseDNA: Biology’s Genetic Code9
Provided byClass Central
DescriptionIn this course, students explore the complexities of DNA. They learn its identification as genetic material, characteristics, and encoded information. They will also learn to investigate DNA organization, replication mechanisms, and manipulation methods, witnessing their transformative impact on biological sciences. This course is a comprehensive journey into the genetic code that defines life.

How to Pay for Master’s in Genetic Counseling Online Programs

In the United States, the cost of a genetic counseling graduate program can usually burn a huge hole in one’s wallet. Fees for an online master’s in Genetic Counseling vary by the graduate school and are revised upwards, much like most other degree programs. Students should check with the university to determine the current academic year’s fee. Additionally, students should be aware that the cost of a master’s degree in Genetic Counseling goes beyond tuition. A Master’s in Genetic Counseling student’s total cost includes medical insurance, other fees, educational supplies, living expenses, and tuition. Fortunately, students can research and apply for many types of financial aid to help reduce the hefty cost of a master’s degree. The following are some examples of funding mechanisms:


Scholarships help meritorious students pay for their education by lowering or eliminating costs. After analyzing the student’s biography and doing a full background check that includes the statement of purpose, recommendation letters, work experience, and academic credentials, the institution chooses the scholarship recipient.


Grants are awarded to students who require financial aid to complete their graduate studies. Unlike scholarships, typically provided based on merit, grants are primarily awarded based on the family’s finances. Universities that award need-based grants also consider applicants’ grades and test scores.

Graduate Teaching Assistantships

In exchange for services to the university, Teaching Assistantships provide a fee waiver or stipend. Working as assistants for professors, assisting them with instructional constraints, assisting in a lab or workshop, and teaching and demonstrating for undergraduates are all possibilities. Research Assistantships are similar but allow graduate students to help a professor with their research while also reducing their workload.

Student Loans

Students may qualify for federal, bank, or private loans that require interest payments. It should be noted, however, that late or deferred payment will almost always result in increased student debt.


In the United States, students fill out FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) to access federal financial aid for higher education, including grants, work-study, and loans.

The best Financial Guide expounds on the various funding mechanisms available for higher education.

Scholarships for Master’s inGenetic Counseling Online  Students

With the high annual fees of Master’s in Genetic Counseling programs, scholarships are vital for prospective students. They provide financial relief, making education more accessible. Aspiring students should actively seek and apply for scholarships to reduce their financial burden, enabling them to pursue their educational goals in this specialized and rewarding field.

Careers and Salary Outlook for Master’s in Genetic Counseling Online Graduates

Genetic counseling is a rapidly expanding field with numerous job prospects. Genetic counselors operate in various settings, including clinics, laboratories, industry, and research. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)[10] predicts that jobs in Genetic Counseling will expand at a rate of 16% between 2022 and 2032, substantially higher than the average for all occupations. Beyond counseling, certified graduates can pursue managerial roles in genetics centers or teaching positions. This expanding field offers a dynamic and rewarding professional journey. Here are a few careers for students with an online master’s degree in genetic counseling:

OccupationGenetic Counselors10
Median Annual Salary$89,990
Job Growth (up to 2032)16% (much faster than average)
Job DescriptionGenetic counselors evaluate clients’ susceptibility to inherited conditions, including congenital disabilities. They discuss genetic test outcomes with individuals and families, assisting them in decision-making based on the results. Additionally, they provide information to other healthcare professionals.
OccupationMarriage and Family Therapists11
Median Annual Salary$56,570
Job Growth (up to 2032)15%(much faster than average)
Job DescriptionA Genetic Counselor working as a Marriage and Family Therapist addresses emotional and relational aspects of genetic information. They counsel individuals and families, assisting them in navigating the psychological and familial implications of genetic conditions. 
OccupationCytogenetic Technologist12
Median Annual Salary$77,783
Job Growth (up to 2032)No Data Available
Job DescriptionA Cytogenetic Technologist conducts microscopic examinations for cytogenetic studies on biological samples, scrutinizing chromosomes for prenatal diagnosis, congenital anomalies, fertility issues, and hematological disorders. They take charge of cell harvesting, image analysis, and result reporting.
OccupationGenetic/Molecular Technologist 13
Median Annual Salary$77,800
Job Growth (up to 2032)No Data Available
Job DescriptionThe Genetic/Molecular Technologist examines chromosomes for prenatal diagnosis, congenital disabilities, fertility issues, and hematological disorders. They conduct microscopic analyses for cytogenetic studies on biological specimens.

Certifications and Licensure for Master’s in Genetic Counseling Online Students

Although a master’s degree in Genetic Counseling is the stepping stone to a rewarding career in the field, graduates must undertake a Genetic Counselor certification that will lead to licensure. Certification, ensures professionals meet industry standards, showcasing their competence in providing genetic counseling services. These certifications are crucial to establishing credibility and securing employment in the field.

The gold standard and most popular certification in this domain is the American Board of Genetic Counseling (ABGC)14 Certification Examination.

Certified Genetic Counselor (CGC®)15

Individuals who successfully complete the American Board of Genetic Counseling (ABGC) Certification Examination earn the Certified Genetic Counselor (CGC®) credential. Eligibility for the examination requires a master’s degree in genetic counseling from a program accredited by the Accreditation Council for Genetic Counseling (ACGC).

Individuals who have obtained the CGC certificate would have demonstrated that they have excellent specific knowledge, skill, and practice standards in their field. Most employers require their genetic counselors to be certified. The CGC must acquire a license in places that need genetic counselors to hold one, especially in State/Government jobs.

Additional Resources for Master’s in Genetic Counseling Online Students

Genetic Counseling has two sides: an objective side, covered by science, facts, and data, and a subjective side, covered by varying issue-based inputs and information. While the objective ‘Genetics’ requires frequent updating of knowledge through scientific journals and the latest developments in genetics, the latter “Counseling” requires more exposure and experience, along with an exchange of views, case studies, discussions, etc. Networking, digging through resources, and connecting with like-minded peers are great ways to enhance knowledge and skill on both the objective and subjective sides of Genetic Counseling. Here are a few resources for Genetic Counseling students to get started:

  • National Society of Genetic Counselors
    The National Society of Genetic Counselors (NSGC) promotes the professional interests of genetic counselors and serves as a conduit for professional communication. Belonging to the NSGC provides members with access to continuing education opportunities, professional resources, advocacy, and a forum to discuss and debate all issues relating to human genetics and the genetic counseling profession.
  • My Gene Counsel
    For anyone considering a career in Genetic Counseling, this blog post includes a list of resources and information. The site offers podcasts, short videos, documentaries, movies, journals, magazines, books, and guides.
  • The DNA Exchange
    The DNA Exchange is a community of genetic counselors interested in publicly discussing genetics-related issues. It is a centralized and public platform for Genetic Counselors to communicate their thoughts and ideas on personal, clinical, and professional concerns in genetics.
  • Minority Genetic Professional Network (MGPN)
    Intending to diversify the field, the Minority Genetic Professional Network, a project of the Western States Regional Genetics Network (WSRGN), provides mentorship to students and professionals in the field of clinical genetics at all stages, including prospective students for genetic counseling programs.
  • American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG)
    The American Society of Human Genetics envisions a future where everyone realizes the benefits of human genetics and genomics research. Through excellence in research, education, and advocacy, ASHG seeks to improve human genetics and genomics in science, health, and society. This professional organization hosts meetings, seminars, and publications and has many resources on careers, learning, and advocacy.

FAQs About Master’s in Genetic Counseling Online Programs

Why should I become a genetic counselor?

Genetic counselors have the experience and skills necessary to play a critical role in individualized treatment. As a result, opportunities for genetic counselors are increasing. For students who want to work at the cutting edge of genomic medicine, becoming a Genetic Counselor leads to a rewarding and expanding healthcare career with a high level of job satisfaction, especially in terms of patient counseling, training possibilities, scientific content, and personal progress.

How to become a genetic counselor?

Can I do a master’s in Genetic Counseling without clinical practicums?

Can I do a Genetic Counseling degree online?

Is a Genetic Counselling master worth it?

What can I do as a Genetic Counselor?