Clinical genetics involves the management of patients with genetic disorders such as chromosomal abnormalities, single gene disorders such as cystic fibrosis muscular dystrophy, familial cancer syndromes, inherited cardiac conditions, learning difficulties, and birth problems such as neural tube defects.
The Royal Society of Medicine offers a range of events for different medical specialties, including Clinical Genetics – see a full list on our Events page>>
Entry Route into Clinical Genetics
Trainees must have completed the two-year foundation programme to be eligible to apply for the training programme in clinical genetics. There is a choice of three core training pathways:
Each training programme comprises four to six placements in various medical specialties. Additionally, trainees with have to participate in acute on-call work. Trainees should have full membership of the relevant Royal College – either the Royal College of Physicians, Paediatrics and Child Health, or General Practitioners – to be eligible for ST3 posts.
Job Progression as a Clinical Geneticist
The higher speciality training programme takes at least four years to complete.
Trainees can apply for consultant positions six months before obtaining their CCT, and there are opportunities to work in management as a clinical lead, or a clinical or medical director. There are also formal opportunities to become involved in the education and training of junior doctors by working as
- a director of medical education overseeing postgraduate medical training,
- a training programme director responsible for the education of trainee doctors in the local region, or
- an associate dean responsible for managing the training programme.
Academic Clinical Genetics Roles
Trainees interested in an academic career can apply for an academic clinical fellowship. Alternatively, trainees can continue the ST clinical training programme after ST4 level.
Competition for Clinical Genetics Posts
In 2017, the competition ratio at ST3 was 2.3, with 28 applications for 12 NTN posts, and with 79% of applicants applying for Clinical Genetics only.
In December 2017, there were
- 139 consultants,
- 1 associate specialist,
- 1 speciality doctor,
- 50 speciality registrars,
- 2 core trainees, and
- 1 F2 trainees.
Salaries in Clinical Genetics
The starting salary for junior doctors in England ranges from £26,614 to £46,208, from £37,923 to £87,521 for speciality doctors, and consultants can expect to earn between £76,761 and £103,490. There are additional supplements for on-call work, antisocial hours, and other commitments and situations. For additional information, please check our page on pay scales.
A Day in the Life of a Clinical Geneticist
Specialists in clinical genetics work across the 23 regional genetics centres in the UK, with most of the work therefore based in outpatient and ambulatory care, but geneticists may also see inpatients referred by other specialists.
A typical working day involves seeing patients in a general or specialist clinic, although other work may include reviewing ward referrals, teaching students or other healthcare professionals, and attending multidisciplinary meetings to discuss cases. There is therefore little to no on-call work, with only around 5% of consultants reporting routine on-call work at weekends.