How to become a Geneticist?
Medical genetics field is an exciting, ever-evolving field with implications in all aspects of human diseases. An understanding of medical genetics will impact many diverse issues including drug tolerances, treatment choices, reproduction, disease diagnoses and disease prevention. In the past decades, Dramatic advances have evolved in the field of medical genetics including diagnosis and management of different genetics and metabolic diseases, better understanding of the etiology and pathophysiology of different genetic syndromes and most importantly, early diagnosis and prevention of these disorders. Furthermore, genetic factors play significant roles in many common medical conditions including diabetes, hypertension, and hyperlipidemia. Such expansion in the knowledge of medical genetics field has resulted in a tremendous increase in the number of patients who need to be evaluated by specialized medical geneticists. Specialties of medical genetics include: Clinical Genetics, Biochemical Genetics, Molecular geneticist, and Clinical Cytogenetics.
To become a Genetic specialist, you could do a fellowship program (2-3 years) after completing the residency training program in one of 3 specialties: Pediatrics, Internal medicine Obstetrics and Gynaecology or enter a residency training program in medical genetics (a 5 years program after medical college) then you sub-specialize in one of the following specialties:
An individual who is working in the clinical and the treatment management aspects of patients who mainly complain of dysmorphism, clinical syndromes, cancer genetics, skeletal dysplasia and chromosomal abnormalities
An individual who is working in the clinical or in the biochemical genetics and the treatment management aspects of patients with inborn errors of metabolism and neurometabolic conditions
An individual who is working in the molecular genetics lab to perform and interpret the results of molecular technologies like: single gene sequencing, whole exome genome sequencing, linkage analysis, homozygosity mapping, CGH microarray and next generation sequencing panels.
An individual who is working in a cytogenetics lab to perform and interpret the results of chromosomal analysis, FISH testing and CGH microarray.
However, we should highlight that you would not be able to specialize in any of these subspecialties without acquiring the core knowledge in other genetics fields. For example, if you would like to specialize in Biochemical Genetics you should have the basic knowledge in clinical genetics, molecular genetics and cytogenetics.