Webpage Dedicated to Genetic Counselors
Genetic counseling means providing information regarding the medical, psychological, and familial implications of inherited risks for disease, including: interpretation of family and medical histories to assess the chance of disease occurrence or recurrence, and education about inheritance, testing, management, prevention, resources and research. Any person employed as or practicing as a Genetic Counselor in California, or providing genetic counseling to residents of California, is required to have a valid Genetic Counselor License or a Temporary Genetic Counselor License issued by the State of California. Health and Safety Code Section 124980(m) excludes communications that occur between patients and other appropriately trained and licensed health care professionals, such as physicians, from the definition of genetic counseling for licensure requirements.
Genetic Counselors work in a wide variety of clinical settings such as prenatal, pediatric, cancer, neurology, and cardiology in order to provide genetic counseling services. They are found in hospitals, clinics, laboratories, academic settings, public health facilities and health education programs.
Senate Bill 1364 (Johnston, Chapter 941, Statutes of 2000) required the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) to establish regulations and standards for the issuance of licenses for master level Genetic Counselors and doctoral level geneticists; limited the use of the title of Genetic Counselor to persons licensed by the Department; and set minimum qualifications for licensure and renewal.
Assembly Bill 2300 (Emmerson, Chapter 550, Statutes of 2010) allowed CDPH to license applicants meeting specified requirements for Genetic Counselor and Temporary Genetic Counselor Licenses prior to finalizing regulations.
More than half of the U.S. states currently require the licensure of Genetic Counselors, have introduced licensure legislation, or are preparing to introduce bills. Licensure of Genetic Counselors in California is approved and administered by the Program Standards and Quality Assurance Branch within CDPH’s Genetic Disease Screening Program (GDSP). GDSP began issuing Genetic Counselor Licenses and Temporary Genetic Counselor Licenses from July 1, 2011. More than 380 Genetic Counselor or Temporary Genetic Counselor Licenses have been issued to date. Click HERE for the current text of the Regulations pertaining to the licensure program.
Information on accredited genetic counseling training programs, the Board certification examination, and recertification requirements is available at the American Board of Genetic Counseling website at: www.abgc.net. Link to forms to verify ABGC active candidate or diplomat status http://www.abgc.net/Certification/certification.asp.
Information on continuing education (required for Genetic Counselor License renewal) is available at the National Society of Genetic Counselors website at: www.nsgc.org.
Information on maintenance of Board certification for Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D) medical geneticists (required for Genetic Counselor License renewal) is available at the American Board of Medical Genetics website at: www.abmg.org.
Contact Information for the Program Standards and Quality Assurance Branch:
General Phone Number to Genetic Disease Screening Program:
Direct Fax Number to PSQA:
Genetic Disease Screening Program
Program Standards and Quality Assurance Branch
850 Marina Bay Pkwy, F-175
Richmond, CA 94804