I found the following excerpt on the APG web site for people who want to become members of a professional genealogy organization: http://apgen.org/organization/index.html

About Us
The APG was registered on February 5, 1979, in the state of Utah, as a nonprofit corporation, to become a professional body capable of focusing the efforts of the professional genealogists worldwide.

APG is an independent organization whose principal purpose is to support professional genealogists in all phases of their work: from the amateur genealogist wishing to turn knowledge and skill into a vocation, to the experienced professional seeking to exchange ideas with colleagues and to upgrade the profession as a whole. The association also seeks to protect the interest of those engaging in the services of the professional.

APG is a professional Association for all genealogists supporting high standards in the field of genealogy and has grown from 19 to more than 1,600 members worldwide. APG supports existing groups and programs to meet the unfilled needs of professional genealogists.

Membership is open to any person or institution willing to support the objectives and the APG Code of Ethics. If you are a practicing genealogist, wish to become one, or otherwise are interested in the profession of genealogy, we invite you to join the Association of Professional Genealogists (APG).

To promote international awareness of, and interest in, professional genealogical services,
To promote professional standards in genealogical research, writing and speaking,
To engage in activities which improve access, facilitate research and preserve records used in the fields of genealogy and local history,
To promote awareness of activities and/or laws which may affect genealogical and historical research,
To educate the membership and public through publications and lectures, and
To provide support for those engaged in genealogical pursuits as a business.

I do not believe that everyone who engages in genealogy as a business is a professional genealogist anymore than I believe that everyone who works in a hospital or provides services or products there is a medical practitioner (MD). APG was organized in 1979 for the genealogical practitioner.

Traditionally (and what the consuming public has been trained to think when they contact someone using that title) , a professional genealogist has been someone who did research for hire and out of that experience, shared their knowledge through specific client work and through writing and lecturing for the public. First came the doing part of the professional status (and for some this meant following the most credible professional career track of College education, training, experience, credentials, membership, etc) and then when they became experts, they wrote and lectured. That is the historical path to expert status in the professional world. The expertise did not come from just writing and talking about the doing.

APG is a membership organization that was created to support professional genealogists who provide professional genealogical services: writing, lecturing and research; it was not created for the industry of genealogy and the myriad of products and services that are potential affiliates to the actual research process. APG began as an advocate for the practicing professional, not a hobbyist professional wannabee. It supported high standards for the student of the profession and the practitioner.

Today, without a change of bylaws, APG has become a clearinghouse for those connected to all aspects of the industry. The respected title of professional genealogist has lost its meaning. I do not believe this is in keeping with the original intent of APG. I believe this organizaation’s first obligation is to the practicing genealogist who desires to band together for the betterment of their industry and for the protection of the consumer. Look at other professional associations for comparison: AMA (American Medical Association), NCA (National Cosmetology Association), ATLA (Association of Trial Lawyers of America.)

Posted by Mary E. Petty, B.A. Cum Laude (History)
Vice President HEIRLINES Family History & Genealogy, Inc. www.heirlines.com
Member of Salt Lake Utah Chapter of the Association of Professional Genealogists www.slcapg.org
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 * www.heirlines.com * PO Box 893 * Salt Lake City, Utah 84110