Entry and training (genomic counselling)

You can enter a career in genomic counselling through the NHS Scientist Training Programme (STP)

Previous training programmes for genetic counsellors have been called genetic counselling, but the title genomic counselling in this programme reflects the increased focus on the use of genomic information and technologies in healthcare.  At the moment individuals trained in this area work under the professional title of ‘genetic counsellors’

Entry requirements

You can apply for a place on the graduate-entry NHS Scientist Training Programme with a 1st or 2.1 either in an undergraduate honours degree or an integrated master’s degree in a pure or applied science subject relevant to the specialism for which you are applying. If you have a relevant 2.2 honours degree, you will also be considered if you have a higher degree* in a subject relevant to the specialism for which you are applying. (*Higher degree as defined on page 17 of The Frameworks for Higher Education Qualifications of UK Degree-Awarding Bodies Please note this does not include postgraduate diplomas or postgraduate certificates.)

Because of the extensive variation in degrees available it isn’t possible to provide a definitive list of relevant degrees for entry to the STP. 

You need to be sure that you’ve reviewed the job description and person specification for the training (on the National School of Healthcare Science’s website), and the information on this page. You then need to be sure to match the skills and knowledge required to the content of your degree and the specialism you wish to apply for. For STP positions in the life sciences, the most commonly accepted degrees will be in biomedical sciences, biology, microbiology, genetics or biochemistry.

For all candidates, evidence of research experience (e.g. in the form of a higher degree or equivalent evidence of scientific and academic capability) is considered desirable.

Experience of working in a caring role is highly desirable, and candidates are unlikely to be shortlisted onto the STP without this.  Experience may be gained through previous professional work (e.g. nursing/social work) or in a voluntary capacity and should be equivalent to 6-months full-time work. Awareness of, or basic training in, counselling may also be advantageous. As genomic counselling involves working with individuals in emotive circumstances, it can be helpful to spend some time working in similar settings anyway, prior to training to help determine whether this is the right career for you.  

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