Recently, someone asked the question: How does a wannabe become a Professional Genealogist?

If you want to become a doctor, lawyer, taxi cab driver, beautician, private investigator or commercial driver, you would contact the professional membership organization and ask them what is the career path and what are the ethical codes of behavior and standards of performance. You would discover that there are formalized routes to all of these careers that must be followed and that they all have codes and standards that you must agreed to in order to practice that profession or occupation. You can not self-designate in any of them – not even as an Avon Lady because Avon, the company sets the requirements for admission to that career.

In the industry of professional genealogy research services where the term professional genealogist refers to those(which I think is what you are looking into – becoming a researcher genealogist vs a publisher genealogist), that is not the case – anyone can call themselves anything they want. They can prepare for the career through any educational route they want to travel. While some states are now requiring a business license, a few require higher standards. You need to check out your state and city requirement.

But no matter the current standards or lack of formalized route to this designation, I recommend following the professional track: First obtain a professional genealogy college degree; second in the course of your degree, get trained in professional genealogy by doing research on an internship basis; third after graduating, get professional genealogy experience by working for a professional genealogy research services company, earn your certifications and accreditations to prove to your peers you are qualified to practice as a professional, participate in continuing education for professional genealogy, join professional genealogy membership organizations such as APG to promote and support ethical codes of behavior and standards of performance that will build the profession and separate the professionals from the hobbyists.

If you are interested in the professional career path, please contact me at 800.570.4049 for more tips.

Sincerely yours,

Mary E. Petty, B.A.
Ancestors are the People of History. Do you know who yours are? Let the Professionals at HEIRLINES Family History & Genealogy find your ancestry!
1-800-570-4049 ▪ ▪ PO Box 893 ▪ Salt Lake City, UT 84110