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Clinical Ethicist



Clinical ethicists offer guidance to patients, their families, and healthcare professionals on ethical and legal issues regarding treatment options. Of particular concern are genetic testing, genetic profiling, and patient confidentiality.

With a growing number of groundbreaking tests and methods to diagnose and treat genetic diseases, clinical ethicists are needed to offer perspective on ethically vague issues. They provide information to help medical professionals and policy makers view innovations in terms of social morality and medical idealism. Clinical ethicists also counsel patients and help them determine if particular treatment options conflict with existing religious, social, and personal issues.

Career Outlook

The need for clinical ethicists will continue to grow as the number of genetic tests available increases. The advent of gene-based therapies has raised ethical questions for patients and their families as well as physicians and other healthcare providers.

Working Conditions & Context

Clinical ethicists spend most of their time in hospital or clinical settings, working with doctors and patients. They work a flexible schedule, which may involve evenings and weekends. They may also be on call to handle last-minute situations.

Salary Information

A typical Salary Range for this career is $44,506 - $97,533 annually.

The Median Income for this career is about $68,642 annually.

Education Information


Clinical ethicists should obtain at least a Master's degree in clinical ethics or in fields related to biology, science, and medicine. They should also be firmly grounded in philosophy and social sciences. An understanding of theology and intellectual and cultural history is greatly helpful as well.

Certification & Licensing:


Other Resources

Related Careers

Bioethicist Using Genomics, Genetic Counselor

More Information

The American Society of Humanities and Bioethics

The American Journal of Bioethics

The Borden Institute

ELSI Research Program

Case Western Reserve University Clinical Ethics Program at Metrohealth

Duke University Hospital Program in Clinical Ethics

Biomedical Central

Fletcher JC, Boyd H. "Clinical Ethics: I. Elements and Methodologies." Encyclopedia of Bioethics. Rev. ed. Vol 1. New York: Macmillan Publishing (1995), pp 399-404.

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* Information regarding income is cited from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
** More than a minimum degree may be required for some careers.