How Do I Become a Clinical Geneticist?

Kaiser Castro

When entering the medical geneticist field, you will be catapulted into constantly changing industry. Geneticists deal with gene mapping, hereditary diseases, and human genetics. To become a clinical geneticist, it is best to create the proper foundation in high school and undergraduate college. You will also have to be educated in the many branches in the genetics field. Specializations will then have to be taken in medical school, with post-doctoral fellowships usually being a requirement if you want to become a clinical geneticist.

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Start with high school classes, making sure to focus on subjects that cater to the sciences, especially subjects that focus on genetic theories and human biology. This the opportune time to experiment with different science classes. Having a strong background in life sciences will also benefit you once you get into the collegiate level of training. Inquire with your guidance counselor or science mentor if you are not sure what branch of genetics on which you want to focus.

Apply to the best undergraduate medical school possible to ensure the best training. This will increase your chances of being admitted into a medical graduate program in the future. At this time, your efforts to become a clinical geneticist should help to streamline your career choices. For example, some schools or majors will have degrees that only cater to basic human genetics, while other programs offer specializations, such as hereditary diseases or even animalia genetics.

Once done with your doctoral level of training, you will usually have to go through a postdoctoral fellowship to become a clinical geneticist. A fellowship will offer you the required hands-on training that will allow you to enter your preferred area of interest. Alternatively, a fellowship may open opportunities for future employment at the academic level.

Like most career choices, you will have to do some networking to find and obtain your desired career. The genetics community is large and constantly evolving, which can intimidate those who just came out of medical school. Aggressive networking will directly or indirectly help you to become a clinical geneticist. In addition to looking at medical job listings and opportunities, your colleagues, teachers, and mentors are all sources of information, so be sure to utilize them as well.

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