Molly Marra, PhD, MS, ; Josie Minick, MS, CGC ; Melanie Hardy, MS, MS, CGC
With clinical genetic counselors serving patients across broad geographic areas, the question of state licensure can become daunting. Which states require licensure, and which don’t? What does licensure look like for a genetic counselor who hasn’t yet passed the board exam? What are the requirements to initially obtain licensure, and how can genetic counselors make sure to stay current with each state?
The issue of state licensure is complex and rapidly changing. For genetic counselors in clinical practice, regardless of your state, specialty, or daily schedule, questions of licensure likely apply to you. Currently, there are over 31 states requiring licensure and 4 more in rulemaking – each with their own requirements, processes, and nuances. We can all recognize the importance of staying current with licensure requirements, but few of us have the time and energy to become experts in this arena.
The NSGC Multi-State Licensure (MSL) Working Group is a small group of genetic counselors that meets virtually twice a year to prepare, update, and assess the resources provided to NSGC membership regarding state licensure requirements. These resources include easy-to-follow checklists for individual states, worksheets addressing licensure renewal and continuing education requirements, and even instructions on how to send licensure verifications from one state to another. One of the most helpful resources posted by the MSL Working Group is the Quick Start Guide, which provides tips and tricks for preparing a licensure application, and methods to avoid costly, time-consuming mistakes. It’s a great way to utilize the collective expertise of the MSL Working Group to ensure that your journey into licensure is as seamless as possible.
We hope this article helps you consider what state licensure means in your practice, now and in the future. Consider dropping by the state licensure page on the NSGC website and review the multi-state licensure resources at the bottom of the page. The MSL Working Group hopes that NSGC members will utilize the available resources as a means of support to inform obtaining and maintaining state licensure.
Molly Marra, PhD, MS, is a genetic counselor in inherited retinal disease at OHSU’s Casey Eye Institute, which serves patients throughout the Pacific Northwest. Molly is co-lead of the Multi-State Licensure Workgroup and a graduate of the inaugural class of the Boise State University Master of Science in Genetic Counseling.
Josie Minick, MS, CGC is a prenatal genetic counselor at Baylor College of Medicine/Children’s Hospital of San Antonio in San Antonio, Texas. Josie has experience as a cancer and prenatal genetic counselor at Billings Clinic in Billings, Montana. Josie is co-lead of the Multi-State Licensure Workgroup and a graduate of the inaugural class of the Boise State University Master of Science in Genetic Counseling.
Melanie Hardy, MS, MS, CGC is the Director of Genetic Counseling for JScreen at Emory University. She works through telehealth from her home in Midland, MI. She was recently elected to the ABGC Board of Directors, and Founded the Multi-State Licensure Workgroup where she currently serves as a member/contributor.