In case you missed our live information session on July 20th, we’ve summarized some of the more common questions we receive here.
Is this certificate available to professionals who do not have genetic counselling degree?
We will welcome applicants who provide evidence of relevant education and experience in lieu of a masters in genetic counselling. We want to include students with varied and diverse experiences. We do, however, want to ensure that all the students are going to get real value from the courses and that they have sufficient background experience to tackle the application assignments and contribute to the discussion fora, which are often case-based.
If an applicant does not have significant clinical experience, we may suggest that they consider individual courses but they may not be eligible for the full program. MEDG 590, for instance, which focusses on evidence based genomic counselling will be reserved for those who will engage in and benefit from case-based discussion and analysis.
How long does it take to earn the certificate?
The full four course program typically takes 20 months, but you can arrange the courses to whatever fits best with your life and schedule.
Each course is offered once a year. Every September we will simultaneously run both 580 and 595. Every January we will run both 585 and 590. Typically, students will choose to do the program over 2 academic years, with 2 courses in the first year and 2 courses in the second year. There is no right or wrong order, as long as 580 comes before 585.
There is flexibility. It would be possible do all four courses in one year, but we would not recommend it, especially for those working full-time. There is also the option to spread it out over many years.
Do I have to do all 4 courses?
No, you can choose whichever individual course(s) best suit your learning goals. However, it is the certificate is only awarded to those who complete all four courses.
Can you obtain CEUs for each course or do you need to complete all 4?
Both CECs for CAGC or CEUs for NSGC can be earned for individual courses.
If I only can take one course which one would you recommend?
It depends on your area of interest and which skills you most wish to enhance. If, however, you are looking for the broadest coverage we would suggest MEDG 595 as it offers a fantastic overview of the field of genomics.
Do I have to log on at specific times?
The courses are designed to be flexible so that they can fit any work schedule and any time zone. Students can log-in anytime they’d like to access the videos lectures, assignments, or to participate in the discussion fora.
New material is released at regular intervals, usually each week, and there are due dates for the assignments.
What time commitment can be expected?
Instructors aim to provide 5-8 hours of content a week. When we polled the students, we found that the time they committed to the course varied greatly. Some students were able to cover the material in 3 hours per week. Others spent 15+ hours on some modules. It seems to depend greatly on background experience and interest level in the particular topic.
What kind of assignments can we expect?
The courses include a selection of the following assignment types:
- Student-led discussions
- Short video presentations (intro videos, case-based presentations, etc.)
- Knowledge Quizzes
- Problem Sets
- ‘Visit-a-website’ activities
- PBL cases
- Short papers (examples: position statement, Op-Ed article)
Will there be live sessions?
While most of the content is delivered asynchronously, we have seen great value in the more interactive activities. We want to foster the international community of learning and hope to bring in more opportunities for the exchange of ideas. Live sessions will always be offered at multiple different time points, or recorded so that no one misses out due to schedules or time zone differences.
Can we use the certificate to progress to a genetic counselling degree?
We wish to be clear that this graduate certificate does not certify an individual to become a genetic counsellor. It will not be recognized by a North American clinical genetics center as qualification for a genetic counselling position. Its purpose is to enhance the skills of those who are already working in a genomics related field.
Some of our courses may be appropriate for those who are working towards a master’s degree in genetic counselling, depending if they already have significant experience in related fields.
Are applicants from the USA considered domestic or international?
International, unless you are a Canadian citizen living in the US.
Does it affect the process of being employed in Canada (in a related job)? If so, does this certificate help me through this?
The Graduate Certificate in Genomic Counselling and Variant Interpretation will show evidence of a specific level of education and competence. It will likely be a valuable addition to a cv, but it does not ‘certify’ an individual for a specific role in a clinic or lab.
Have any GCs been successful in negotiating salary increases with the certification?
Our first cohort has only done 3 of the 4 courses at this point, so no one has yet achieved the full certificate. We are hopeful the answer to this question will be yes at this time next year.
We do note that this certificate offers skills that tend to be sought after by employers in industry where salaries tend to be higher on average. So, it is likely to make candidates more competitive for industry roles.
If we still haven’t addressed your question. Please feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org.