Development of a Genetic Counseling Career Assessment Tool: Finding the Right Fit. By Diana Smith
The genetic counseling profession is growing and expanding into distinct specialty areas similar to that of physicians, but has not seen the direct benefits of career assessment tests within the field. The purpose of this study was to adapt an existing career assessment tool for use by genetic counselors using the Career Pathways Evaluation Program: 2002 Pharmacist Profile Survey article as a model (Schommer, Brown, Millonig, & Sogol, 2003). A set of critical factors modified for relevance to genetic counseling was used to assess job satisfaction and to create a job description, termed a professional profile. Participants first identified their position according to a primary role (Clinical, Non-clinical, Research or Other) and then into a sub-specialty practice within each primary role. The anonymous, on-line survey was distributed to all full members of the National Society of Genetic Counselors (NSGC) via a website link attached within an email notice from the NSGC. It was hypothesized that some unique critical factors would be associated with each genetic counseling primary role and specialty area. Independent samples t-test revealed 18 of 37 total critical factors to have significant differences in job satisfaction and 11 of 38 total critical factors to have significant differences in tasks between the Clinical group and a condensed Non-clinical group. Trends were also noted within the Clinical sub-specialty group, but were not statistically significant due to small sample size. Given these preliminary findings, further research is suggested to accomplish the long-term goal of creating a career assessment tool that would enable a genetic counseling student or current professional to match his or her personal values to a corresponding genetic counseling position, or in other words, to find the right fit.