The Augustana-Sanford Genetic Counseling Graduate Program consists of 50 didactic credits and 12 practicum credits. Students complete 15 rotations over 21 months to fulfill the 12 practicum credits. The program has relationships with numerous rotation sites in the Sioux Falls, SD area (including Fargo and Bismarck, ND and Bemidji, MN) and San Diego, CA, encompassing more than 50 session supervisors from which our students can learn. Students are considered first-year students for the first 9 months of the program and second-year students for the last 12 months of the program.
First-year students are slowly introduced to clinic and lab settings through short-term, patient-facing rotations mixed with clinical skills rotations that allow them to develop and practice their skills in a simulated, less-intimidating environment. First-year students will complete 5 short-term, patient-facing rotations and 5 clinical skills rotations throughout their first year in the Sioux Falls area. Rotation settings include adult, lab, pediatric, prenatal, and high risk breast clinic. Cases may include, but are not limited to, Huntington’s disease, carrier screening, Down syndrome, metabolic disorders, and newborn screening. Students can expect to spend their first months primarily observing cases, then gradually increasing their genetic counseling skills and participation during sessions.
Second-year students complete 5 eight-week rotations. The first eight-week rotation occurs between May and August. The remaining rotations start in late August and continue through May. Second-year students will spend considerably more time in rotations than first-year students and will have expanded roles and independence within sessions. Rotations include adult, cancer, industry, lab, pediatric, preconception, prenatal, and teratology settings. The Sioux Falls area locations offer the ability to gain additional experience in infertility genetics, pharmacogenetics, and primary care genetics, whereas the San Diego locations offer unique training experiences in biotech and genetic labs as well as exposure to emerging fields.
With the exception of the second-year rotation which takes place in the summer after a student’s first academic year, students will simultaneously complete rotations and coursework. Although second-year students are in physically separate locations, all program students will feel connected through discussion-based classes using real-time, interactive video. Together, the 62 didactic and practicum credits prepare students to sit for the American Board of Genetic Counseling (ABGC)-certification exam and enter the profession as entry-level genetic counselors. For additional information on coursework credits, please visit the Curriculum webpage.