Certification Requirements

Certification Requirements

 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. All applicants from countries in which the official language is not English are required to submit official evidence of English language proficiency. Applicants must achieve a minimum online TOEFL score of 94, including at least 26 on the speaking portion and 24 on the written portion. 

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 Executive Office for review: 

  • TOEFL score (if required) 
  • 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.