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Career Profiles

Genetic Nurse



Genetic clinical nurses (GCN) are registered nurses (RNs) with special education in genetics. They work with patients and families affected by genetic conditions. Job duties include taking detailed medical histories, assessing for presence of genetic and non-genetic risk factors of disease, and managing patients' genetic healthcare needs including: creating patient care plans; teaching patients about their conditions; administering treatments and medications; interpreting laboratory data; coordinating care needs with other healthcare professionals; and assisting families to cope with their circumstances.

Advanced practice nurses in genetics (APNG) are registered nurses with Master's degrees who provide healthcare to patients afflicted by genetic conditions. They receive referrals from other healthcare providers, perform detailed assessments, construct pedigrees, develop plans of care, diagnose medical conditions, prescribe treatments, and provide genetic counseling. They often assume roles of leadership in their professional communities by conducting research, writing articles to inform healthcare professionals and the public, and coordinating community health resources.

Career Outlook

There is a growing shortage of nurses, particularly in hospital and multidisciplinary research settings. As the general population ages, and as genetic science gains prominence in healthcare, both GNCs and APNGs will be in high demand.

Working Conditions & Context

Both GNCs and APNGs work in outpatient clinics, hospital settings, university/academic healthcare centers, and public and private research facilities. Most nurses work directly with patients and their families in a variety of clinical and community settings.

Salary Information

A typical Salary Range for this career is $43,410 - $92,240 annually.

The Median Income for this career is about $62,450 annually.

Education Information


To become a GNC, an individual must complete a Bachelor's degree in nursing.

To become an APNG, an individual must complete a Bachelor's degree in nursing, followed by a Master's degree (Master of Science; Master of Nursing, or Master of Science in Nursing).

Certification & Licensing:

The GCN is an additional credential that eligible registered nurses may obtain from the Genetic Nursing Credentialing Commission. Requirements include current registered nurse licensing and completion of clinical case requirements within the five years preceding credentialing. Individuals must hold a current RN license and have completed a minimum of 50 genetic cases in the preceding five years.

APNG is also offered by the Genetic Nursing Credentialing Commission. Requirements include good registered nurse license standing, completion of a Master's degree from an accredited nursing program, letter of recommendation verifying relevant skills, extensive clinical practice experience, proof of continued education in genetics, written genetic case studies, and evidence of professional achievement (such as publications and extensive teaching experience).

Both the GCN and APNG credentials are valid for five years, after which renewal is necessary.

Other Resources

Related Careers

Genetic Counselor, Physician, Public Health Geneticist

More Information

The American Association of Colleges of Nursing

Columbia University School of Nursing

The International Society of Nurses in Genetics

The National Coalition for Health Professional Education in Genetics

The Genetic Nursing Credentialing Commission

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics

Essential Nursing Competencies and Curricula Guidelines for Genetics and Genomics

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