Genetic Counselor Licensure
"Genetic Counseling" is defined as a form of health care developed to obtain and evaluate individual, family, and medical histories to determine genetic risk for genetic and medical conditions and diseases in a patient, the patient’s offspring, and other family members. Genetic counselors possess the ability to do the following:
- Discuss the features, history, means of diagnosis, genetic and environmental factors, and management of risk for genetic and medical conditions and diseases;
- Identify, order, and coordinate genetic laboratory tests and other diagnostic studies as appropriate for the genetic assessment of a patient;
- Refer a patient to a specialty or subspecialty department as necessary for the purpose of collaborating on diagnosis and treatment involving multiple body systems and general medical management;
- Integrate genetic laboratory test results and other diagnostic studies with personal and family medical history to assess and communicate risk factors for genetic and medical conditions and diseases;
- Explain the clinical implications of genetic laboratory tests and other diagnostic studies and their results;
- Evaluate the responses of a patient or patient’s family to the condition or risk of recurrence and provide patient-centered genetic counseling and anticipatory guidance;
- Identify and utilize community resources that provide medical, educational, financial, and psychosocial support and advocacy; and
- Provide written documentation of medical, genetic, and counseling information for families and health care professionals.
Eligibility for Licensure
To be eligible for licensure to practice genetic counseling in Iowa, an applicant must hold and maintain active certification as a genetic counselor by the American Board of Genetic Counseling, as a genetic counselor by the American Board of Medical Genetics and Genomics, or as a medical geneticist by the American Board of Medical Genetics and Genomics, or the successor to any of the aforementioned organizations.
How to Apply
To apply for licensure in Iowa, an applicant must complete the paper application and submit it to the Board of Medicine along with all required additional documentation and the application fee. The application may be found here:
Once your application has been reviewed, you will receive an email updating you as to the status of your application. When your application is accepted, we will send you a background check packet to complete. The background check packet must be returned to the Board and verified before your license may be issued.
NOTE: Do not use duplex printing when printing the completed application. One-sided applications will be processed more quickly.
Genetic Counselor Licensure Fees
|Genetic Counselor License ($200/application; $45/background check)||$245.00|
|Genetic Counselor Renewal (2 Year)||$200.00|
|Inactive Fee (to place license in inactive status)||$0.00|
|Late Fee during grace period (up to January 1st)||$50.00|
|Reactivation of a Genetic Counselor licensure application||$100.00|
|Reinstatement of an inactive Genetic Counselor license ($300/application; $45/background check)||$345.00|
|Certified Genetic Counselor License Verification to another state licensing board||$25.00|
|Non Certified Genetic Counselor license verification||$20.00|
|Duplicate Wall Certificate or Renewal Card||$0.00|
You may request a receipt for payments by email. Contact email@example.com if you require a receipt.
A genetic counselor licensed under Iowa Code chapter 148H may use the words “genetic counselor” or “licensed genetic counselor” or the corresponding abbreviation “LGC” after the person’s name. Persons who possess a provisional license shall add the designation “provisional licensed genetic counselor.”
653—20.20(147,148H,272C) Grounds for discipline of genetic counselors. The board has authority to impose discipline for any violation of Iowa Code chapter 147, 148H, or 272C or the rules promulgated thereunder. These grounds for discipline apply to genetic counselors. This rule is not subject to waiver or variance pursuant to 653—Chapter 3 or any other provision of law. The board may impose any of the disciplinary sanctions set forth in 653—subrule 25.25(1), when the board determines that the licensee is guilty of any of the following acts or offenses:
20.20(2) Professional incompetency. Professional incompetency includes, but is not limited to, any of the following:
a. Willful or repeated gross malpractice;
b. Willful or gross negligence;
c. A substantial lack of knowledge or ability to discharge professional obligations within the scope of the genetic counselor’s practice;
d. A substantial deviation by the genetic counselor from the standards of learning or skill ordinarily possessed and applied by other genetic counselors in the state of Iowa acting in the same or similar circumstances;
e. A failure by a genetic counselor to exercise in a substantial respect that degree of care which is ordinarily exercised by an average genetic counselor in the state of Iowa acting in the same or similar circumstances;
f. A willful or repeated departure from or failure to conform to the minimal standard of acceptable and prevailing practice of genetic counseling in the state of Iowa.
20.20(3) Practice harmful or detrimental to the public. Practice harmful or detrimental to the public includes, but is not limited to, the failure of the genetic counselor to possess and exercise that degree of skill, learning, and care expected of a reasonable, prudent genetic counselor acting in the same or similar circumstances in this state, or when a genetic counselor is unable to practice genetic counseling with reasonable skill and safety as a result of mental or physical impairment, or chemical abuse.
20.20(4) Unprofessional conduct. Engaging in unprofessional conduct includes, but is not limited to, the committing by a licensee of an act contrary to honesty, justice, or good morals, whether the act is committed in the scope of the licensee’s practice or otherwise, and whether the act is committed in this state or elsewhere; or a violation of the principles of ethics applicable to genetic counselors.
20.20(5) Sexual misconduct. Engaging in sexual misconduct includes, but is not limited to, a genetic counselor engaging in conduct set forth in 653—subrule 13.7(4) (sexual conduct) or 13.7(6) (sexual harassment) as interpreted by the board.
20.20(6) Substance abuse. Substance abuse includes, but is not limited to, excessive use of alcohol, drugs, narcotics, chemicals, or other substances in a manner which may impair a licensee’s ability to practice the profession with reasonable skill and safety.
20.20(7) Physical or mental impairment. Physical or mental impairment includes, but is not limited to, any physical, neurological, or mental condition which may impair a genetic counselor’s ability to practice the profession with reasonable skill and safety. Being adjudicated mentally incompetent by a court of competent jurisdiction shall automatically suspend a license for the duration of the license unless the board orders otherwise.
20.20(8) Felony criminal conviction. Being convicted of a felony in the courts of this state, another state, the United States, or any country, territory, or jurisdiction, as defined in Iowa Code section 148.6(2)“b.”
20.20(9) Violation of the laws or rules governing the practice of genetic counseling in this state, another state, the United States, or any country, territory, or jurisdiction. Violation of the laws or rules governing the practice of genetic counseling includes, but is not limited to, willful or repeated violation of the provisions of these rules or the provisions of Iowa Code chapter 147, 148H, or 272C or any other state or federal laws governing the practice of genetic counseling.
20.20(10) Violation of a lawful order of the board, previously entered by the board in a disciplinary or licensure hearing, or violation of the terms and provisions of a consent agreement or settlement agreement entered into between a licensee and the board.
20.20(11) Violation of an initial agreement or health contract entered into with the Iowa physician health program (IPHP).
20.20(12) Failure to comply with an evaluation order under Iowa Code section 272C.9(1).
20.20(13) Knowingly making misleading, deceptive, untrue, or fraudulent representations in the practice of genetic counseling. Knowingly making misleading, deceptive, untrue or fraudulent representations in the practice of genetic counseling includes, but is not limited to, an intentional perversion of the truth, either orally or in writing, by a genetic counselor in the practice of genetic counseling.
20.20(14) Fraud in procuring a license. Fraud in procuring a license includes, but is not limited to, an intentional perversion of the truth in making application for a license to practice genetic counseling in this state, and includes false representations of material fact, either by word or by conduct, by false or misleading allegations, or by concealment of that which should have been disclosed when making application for a license in this state, or attempting to file or filing with the board any false or forged document submitted with an application for license in this state.
20.20(15) Fraud in representations as to skill or ability. Fraud in representations as to skill or ability includes, but is not limited to, a licensee’s having made misleading, deceptive, or untrue representations as to the genetic counselor’s competency to perform professional services for which the licensee is not qualified to perform by education, training, or experience.
20.20(16) Use of untruthful or improbable statements in advertisements. Use of untruthful or improbable statements in advertisements includes, but is not limited to, an action by a licensee in making known to the public information which is false, deceptive, misleading, or promoted through fraud or misrepresentation and includes statements which may consist of, but are not limited to:
a. Inflated or unjustified claims which lead to expectations of favorable results;
b. Self-laudatory claims that imply that the licensee is skilled in a field or specialty for which the licensee is not qualified;
c. Representations that are likely to cause an average person to misunderstand; or
d. Extravagant claims or claims of extraordinary skill not recognized by the profession of genetic counseling.
20.20(17) Obtaining any fee by fraud or misrepresentation.
20.20(18) Acceptance of remuneration for referral of a patient to other health professions in violation of the law or National Society of Genetic Counselors Code of Ethics.
20.20(19) Knowingly submitting a false report of continuing education or failure to submit the required reports of continuing education.
20.20(20) Knowingly aiding, assisting, procuring, or advising a person in the unlawful practice of genetic counseling.
20.20(21) Failure to report disciplinary action. Failure to report a license revocation, suspension, or other disciplinary action taken against a licensee by a professional licensing authority of another state, an agency of the United States government, or any country, territory, or other jurisdiction, within 30 days of final action by such licensing authority. A stay by an appellate court shall not negate this requirement; however, if such disciplinary action is overturned or reversed by a court of last resort, the report shall be expunged from the records of the board.
20.20(22) Failure to report voluntary agreements. Failure to report any voluntary agreement to restrict the practice of genetic counseling entered into with this state, another state, the United States, an agency of the federal government, or any country, territory or other jurisdiction.
20.20(23) Failure to notify the board within 30 days after occurrence of any settlement or adverse judgment of a malpractice claim or action.
20.20(25) Failure to submit to a board-ordered mental, physical, clinical competency, or substance abuse evaluation or a drug or alcohol screening.
20.20(26) Noncompliance with a support order or with a written agreement for payment of support as evidenced by a certificate of noncompliance issued pursuant to Iowa Code chapter 252J. Disciplinary proceedings under this rule shall follow the procedures set forth in Iowa Code chapter 252J and 653—Chapter 15.
20.20(27) Student loan default or noncompliance with an agreement for payment of a student loan obligation as evidenced by a certificate of noncompliance issued pursuant to Iowa Code chapter 261 and rule 653—16.2(261).
20.20(28) Improper management of medical records. Improper management of medical records includes, but is not limited to, failure to maintain timely, accurate, and complete medical records.
20.20(29) Failure to respond to or comply with a board investigation initiated pursuant to Iowa Code section 272C.3 and rule 653—24.2(17A,147,148,272C).
20.20(30) Failure to submit an additional completed fingerprint card and applicable fee, within 30 days of a request made by board staff, when a previous fingerprint submission has been determined to be unacceptable.
20.20(31) Failure to respond to the board or submit continuing education materials during a board audit, within 30 days of a request made by board staff or within the extension of time if one has been granted.
20.20(32) Failure to respond to the board or submit requested mandatory training for identifying and reporting abuse materials during a board audit, within 30 days of a request made by the board staff or within the extension of time if one has been granted.
20.20(33) Nonpayment of state debt as evidenced by a certificate of noncompliance issued pursuant to Iowa Code chapter 272D and 653—Chapter 12.
20.20(34) Failure to file with the board a written report and a copy of the hospital disciplinary action within 30 days of any hospital disciplinary action or the licensee’s voluntary action to avoid a hospital disciplinary action, as required by rule 653—22.5(272C).
[ARC 4339C, IAB 3/13/19, effective 4/17/19; see Delay note at end of chapter]
After a genetic counselor license is issued, the license expires on October 31 of odd years. Renewal applications must include the correct renewal fee, along with documented evidence that the licensee holds current active status from the ABGC or ABMGG or proof of active candidate status for provisional licensure.