A genetic counselor has specialized training in genetics and counseling to provide evaluation of a family’s health history and the risk of inherited medical conditions. In the US, a genetic counselor earns an average annual salary of $74,120, compared to Australia where genetic counselors earn AU$80,742 ($63,231 USD). When converted to the US dollar, earnings in New Zealand and Canada are similar at NZ$67,862 ($49,863 USD) and C$58,562 ($46,300 USD), respectively. On the lower end of the pay range among the countries reviewed in this guide is the UK at £30,992 ($35,539 USD). Earnings vary worldwide by geographic region, work setting, and professional experience. Additional information on a career in genetic counseling is found in this guide.
How Much Does a Genetic Counselor Make?
The chart below outlines average annual salaries with their US dollar equivalents for genetic counselors in select countries worldwide.
Genetic Counselor Salary Determinant Factors
This guide explores earnings for genetic counselors and variances in salary by geographic region, professional experience, and work setting.
1. How Much Does a Genetic Counselor Make by Country?
Genetic Counselor Salary in the US
Genetic counselors in the US earn a starting salary of about $43,000 per year when entering this career field. Salaries increase during the first 10 to 20 years of professional experience and then plateau at more than $72,000 per year. There are opportunities for bonus pay with $1,160 in additional earning potential.
Genetic Counselor Salary in Canada
In Canada, the average starting salary for a genetic counselor is nearly C$42,000 per year. Earning potential increases throughout one’s professional experience, peaking at about C$70,000 per year for senior level professionals. An additional C$1,100 is possible through bonus pay offered by some employers.
Genetic Counselor Salary in the UK
The average starting salary for entry level genetic counselors in the UK is about £22,000 per year, increasing steadily with experience to an annual salary of more than £37,000 for senior level professionals. Some employers offer bonus potential that may average £595 in additional earnings.
Genetic Counselor Salary in Australia
When beginning their careers, entry level genetic counselors in Australia earn a starting salary of more than AU$57,500 per year compared to senior level genetic counselors with additional experience who earn nearly AU$97,000 annually. Bonus potential can add another AU$1,550 to overall earnings.
Genetic Counselor Salary in New Zealand
In New Zealand the average annual starting salary for an entry level genetic counselor is more than NZ$48,000, increasing over the course of one’s professional career to more than NZ$81,000 per year. Some employers offer bonus pay that may add an additional NZ$1,300 in overall income.
2. How Much Does a Genetic Counselor Make According to Experience?
Genetic counselors see a rise in earning potential with experience and the countries reviewed in this guide all experience a similar growth rate in salary. In Australia, senior level pay is about AU$39,500 more than starting salaries and in New Zealand senior level professionals earn about N$33,000 more than their entry level counterparts, both representing an increase of 69%. Incomes increase in the UK 68%, followed by the US and Canada, each at 67%. Not only does salary increase with experience, but as one’s base pay increases, so often does bonus potential as well.
3. How Much Does a Genetic Counselor Make According to Work Environment?
Genetic counselors are employed by hospitals and physicians’ offices where they work with families, individual patients, and other healthcare professionals. While there is little variance in salary across this field, those who work in private and for-profit hospitals and medical offices likely earn higher base salaries and may have a greater opportunity for bonus pay compared to their colleagues employed in the public sector.
Most genetic counselors work full-time during normal business hours from Monday through Friday. Because appointments with patients are scheduled, there is little need for on-call or overtime hours; however, some genetic counselors may accommodate patient schedules by providing some extended scheduling in the early morning, evening, or Saturday time frames. Most genetic counselors indicate a high level of job satisfaction that is likely partially due to a good work-life balance.
Bonuses and Benefits
A comprehensive benefits package is often provided to genetic counselors. Benefits typically include medical, dental, and vision insurance and paid time off for vacation, holiday, and sick time. Some employers offer reimbursement for fees and travel expenses for training and educational seminars, and hospital employers often offer a meal allowance.
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates rapid growth of 29% in the field of genetic counseling, a rate that is much faster compared to al occupations. This anticipated growth is due to technological advancements in lab testing and types of tests and analysis that can be provided with these improvements. To work as a genetic counselor, a master’s degree in genetic counseling or genetics is required. In the US, genetic counselor much be certified, and other geographic regions may also require certification or licensure.
Genetic counselors enjoy a steady, consistent work schedule with solid pay and a comprehensive benefits package. While bonus pay is typically not a large amount, it is common and can add to overall earnings. Strong future job growth is expected, providing ample employment for those entering this career field and maintaining good income potential.