Like many Masters-level health professionals, genetic counsellors receive their training from accredited, graduate-level training programs with a curriculum tailored to the profession. These programs are typically two years long and include didactic learning, research and laboratory exposure, and a mandated number of supervised clinical practice hours in a variety of settings (Prenatal, Pediatric, Adult, Specialty and Cancer Genetics).


To graduate, genetic counselling trainees must demonstrate they have the required knowledge base, practice-based competencies, and awareness of their scope of practice. Trainees graduate as “Board Eligible” genetic counsellors.

Most Canadian genetic counsellors become certified by the Canadian Board of Genetic Counselling (CBGC) and or the American Board of Genetic Counseling (ABGC). Once they take and pass their Certification Exam, they become fully certified to practice genetic counseling. Certification is maintained by earning continuing education credits or units.

In Canada, there are currently five training programs:

Additional programs exist in the US, UK, Australia and other countries.

The OAGC-ACGO encourages the public to ask about the certification status of the genetic counsellors they hire, obtain services from or consult with. Working with a certified genetic counsellor ensures the highest level of training and expertise.

Additional Information