The Certified Genetic Counselor (CGC®) credential is granted to individuals who pass the American Board of Genetic Counseling (ABGC) Certification Examination. The primary qualification to sit for the examination is a master’s degree in genetic counseling from a program accredited by the Accreditation Council for Genetic Counseling (ACGC).
Please review the full eligibility requirements in the Examination Bulletin to determine your eligibility to apply to take the current ABGC Certification Examination.
Individuals who graduate from an ACGC-accredited training program may apply for ABGC Certification Exam eligibility if they fall under one of the following three categories:
Category 1: ACS Eligible First Time Examinees
Category 2: ACS Eligible Repeat Examinees
Graduates of a training program accredited by ACGC are eligible for Active Candidate Status (ACS) for five years from the date of graduation (e.g., eligibility period would be 6/1/2020 – 6/1/2025 with 6/1/2020 being date of graduation). ACS expires when the applicant successfully completes the examination or exactly five years from the date of graduation, whichever comes first. Candidates are responsible for being aware of when ACS expires and should be prepared to apply for the last available examination administration prior to that date if needed.
Candidates applying for the ABGC examination via Category 1 must pay the fee, submit an official transcript from an ACGC-accredited genetic counseling education program, and ensure their program director verifies training through the PSI portal. Official transcripts can be sent directly from the school to PSI or submitted by the student as a PDF document uploaded at the time of application. Official transcripts must state the degree and date the degree was conferred. Please be aware that transcript requests often take an educational institution several weeks to process. Request transcripts as soon as possible so they are received by PSI well before the application deadline. Unofficial transcripts will not be accepted.
Category 3: Non-ACS Attempt Examinees
If a candidate fails to obtain certification within the first five years of graduation from an accredited program, they remain eligible to sit for the examination. However, candidates will not be granted ACS for any examination attempt in Category 3. Former ABGC Diplomates whose time-limited certification has lapsed may become certified again by attempting the examination. Candidates who qualify under this category are not eligible for ACS.
Category 4: Internationally Trained Genetic Counselors
Internationally trained Genetic Counselors who hold a current registration/certification from an international body and who have earned a master’s degree from a genetic counseling program that has achieved accreditation/ recognition from an ABGC recognized accrediting body may be eligible to apply for the examination. Currently, ABGC only recognizes the international programs accredited through the Human Genetic Society of Australasia.
Applicants who are determined eligible through this pathway will have three attempts within five years from the date of ABGC recognition of the accrediting body or the date of individual registration/certification, whichever is more recent.
Individuals applying under the International Pathway must submit the following documentation to the ABGC Headquarters for review:
- Documentation from the certifying/registration body indicating when the individual was initially certified or registered, including expiration or renewal date
- Official transcript of master’s degree in genetic counseling listing the date the degree is conferred – transcripts not in English must be accompanied by an English translation; if the academic records do not include official evidence of the award of the degree, applicants must also submit additional documents that verify the degree conferral
ABGC encourages all applicants to contact state licensure boards regarding eligibility to qualify for a license to practice in the state in which they would like to work. ABGC is not responsible for, nor has any authority over, state requirements.