Frequently Asked Questions

Curious? Want to know more about the UAB Genetic Counseling Program?  You might find the answers you're looking for in our "Frequently Asked Questions."  If you do have a question not listed here, please email it to: askcds@uab.edu.

Is the program full-time or part-time?
The program is a 21-month, full-time program.

Is the UAB Genetic Counseling program accredited?
Yes. The Genetic Counseling Program is fully accredited by The Accreditation Council for Genetic Counseling (ACGC). 

Do I have to have a science background to enter the program?
No. All students must have successfully completed the pre-requisite coursework to enter the program, but many genetic counselors have undergraduate degrees in psychology, social work, or education.

How many students does the UAB program admit each Fall?
The number of students varies depending on available clinical rotations. Generally, we admit between six to ten students each year.

When is the application deadline?
The deadline to receive all applications at UAB is January 7 of each year. Interviews for qualified candidates are typically scheduled in February and March.

When is offer day?
The National Match Day for genetic counseling programs is usually in late April.

What if I have not completed the pre-requisite courses prior to the application deadline?
You do not have to complete all the pre-requisite courses before the application deadline. However, you will have to successfully complete all pre-requisites before enrollment in the Fall you plan to begin the Genetic Counseling program to be officially admitted.  If you have not completed all pre-requisites at the time of your application, indicate when a prerequisite will be completed in your application.

How can I arrange to shadow a genetic counselor or meet with a genetic counselor to get more information?
Exposure to genetic counseling (i.e., shadowing a counselor in clinic) and/or meeting with a genetic counselor to discuss the career is strongly encouraged prior to applying to the program. You can visit the NSGC “Find a Counselor” link (www.nsgc.org) to find a counselor in your area.  To request a time to shadow in a UAB clinic, email askCDS@uab.edu.

I do not live near a Genetic Counselor and have not been able to interview one via telephone. Is there another way for me to get a sense for what genetic counselors do?
If you are unable to find a genetic counselor through NSGC’s website, click here to view a recorded genetic counseling session. Viewing these videos is a great way to get a glimpse into a Genetic Counseling session. Another option would be to enroll in the online course “Genetic Counseling: Career for the Future,” which is designed for prospective students to learn more about the field of genetic counseling. More information can be found here: http://geneticcounseling.med.sc.edu/onlinecourse.asp.

What makes the UAB Genetic Counseling program special?
UAB is built with adventurous students in mind.  A culture of collaboration and fearless exploration create a special experience for students in the UAB Genetic Counseling Program.  These include:

  • Diversity of clinical training sites both at UAB and with our partners across the country
  • Service learning and volunteer opportunities with advocacy organizations and community partners
  • Graduate projects tailored to students’ interests
  • Interdisciplinary education
  • MANY resources that come with being part of a University and major medical center (seminar and grand rounds, libraries, recreation centers, graduate student organizations, etc.)

Check out our student life, graduate projects, curriculum and clinical rotations pages to learn more.

What is the career outlook for genetic counselors?
The genetic counseling profession is rapidly expanding and diversifying. Graduates of the UAB Genetic Counseling program typically have job offers before graduation.

What is the tuition for the UAB Genetic Counseling training program?
Click here for the current Tuition and Fees for this graduate program.

Does UAB participate in the Southeastern Academic Common Market (and what does this mean)?
Yes.  If you are a student in another state in the Southeast, and your state participates in this program, you may be eligible to attend our program for in-state tuition. Click on this link to learn more.

Are there scholarship, assistantship, or work opportunities for enrolled students?
Availability of scholarship, assistantship, and work opportunities change yearly, and should be discussed with the program director at interviews or when gathering information about our program. UAB's Financial Aid Office may also be able to answer additional questions regarding costs.

What is the format of the curriculum?
In general, the first year of training includes classes, clinical preparation, and work on a graduate project.  Second year students have seminar classes that they can join remotely or in person, complete clinical rotations, and complete their graduate project work.  

What clinical training opportunities are available?
Students at UAB benefit from diverse, expansive clinical training opportunities.  Most students complete a summer rotation in a location of their choice, followed by one or two semesters of offsite rotations in their second year. Prospective students rank the available training tracks as part of the Match admission process.  (In other words, you get to choose the tracks you are interested in.) Affiliation agreements have been established between our program and clinics in Alabama, Tennessee, Mississippi, Florida, Louisiana, Texas, Indiana, Minnesota, Georgia, Ohio, Oregon, Missouri, Maryland, Illinois, South Carolina, North Carolina, Washington, West Virginia and Australia. Others are possible, and we are very open to working with students to establish new opportunities whenever possible.  To learn what tracks are available to you, visit the Clinical Education page or contact the program director.

Where do UAB Genetic Counseling students come from?
The UAB Genetic Counseling Program welcomes students from around the US and beyond.  The University of Alabama at Birmingham values diversity in all of its forms (https://www.uab.edu/dei/ ).

How do I become a boarded/certified genetic counselor after graduation?
Individuals who graduate from a genetic counseling program are eligible to become board certified via examination by the American Board of Genetic Counseling . The exam is offered during August and February of each year. Some states also require licensure with state-dependent requirements after certification. After certification, all counselors are required to maintain continued education credits to renew their certification every five years.

How can I learn more about genetic counseling?
Visit the following sites to learn about genetic counseling.

Can I make an appointment to talk to or meet with the program director or advisor?
Yes, we welcome student contact. Please email askcds@uab.edu to set up a meeting.

Do UAB Genetic Counseling students get funding to attend national conferences?
Yes, the UAB Genetic Counseling Program provides funds to cover the majority of costs for second year students to attend a national conference related to genetics or genetic counseling.

Do UAB Genetic Counseling students engage in community service?
During the first year, students volunteer for multiple support group fundraisers and educational events in the Birmingham area. In the second year, students take a service learning course (GC 600) that enables them to participate with a community partner and spend valuable time getting to know adults with disabilities. This is a course unique to our curriculum. Second year students also give educational talks and lectures to local college, high school, middle school and other audiences.

Outside of program requirements, students can volunteer in a variety of ways during their time in the program. Some students engage in crisis counseling, work with children who have special needs, or participate in a number of other available opportunities.

Do UAB Genetic Counseling students get to participate in simulations?
Yes, UAB Genetic Counseling students participate in both informal role plays in class and also have the opportunity to work with standardized patients in our professional simulation center. Simulations enable students to gain experience counseling rare indications and delivering an abnormal diagnosis in a safe environment where feedback is available.

What else does the UAB Department of Genetics do?
The UAB Department of Genetics is an integral partner to Genetic Counseling Program. UAB is a world-renowned center for genetic and genomic research and clinical care.

What research projects are the UAB Department of Genetics faculty involved with?
The UAB Department of Genetics faculty are actively improving the lives of individuals with genetic disorders through their research. UAB is also a recruitment site for national genomic research initiatives like All of Us and the 1000 Genomes Project and is the home site for the Alabama Genomic Health Initiative.

What other degrees does the UAB School of Health Professions offer?
Visit the School of Health Professions webiste to learn more about degrees offered by the UAB School of Health Professions.

Still have a question? Contact us at 205-975-4237 or askCDS@uab.edu.