AG, CG, CGRS, CALS, CAILS, CGL, CGI, PLCGS...
Is your head spinning yet at all of those letters? To keep it simple, let's just say that I'm specifically looking at:
AG - Accredited Genealogist
CG - Certified Genealogist
PLCGS - Professional Learning Certificate in Genealogical Studies (Whew!!)
I decided to look into this when I realized how much I loved doing genealogy, and I'm of the belief that everyone should be able to do what they love doing, rather than spending their days being miserable at their job. (Don't judge - I didn't say that I was miserable being "mom", I just think there's more out there for me to do now that the monkeys are all in school.)
To do this...I could just continue as I am now. Consistently researching my own family, learning as I go, offering help in my spare time as it becomes available to those who inquire.
That's hard to do. For many reasons. I don't feel comfortable charging a fee for this when I know that there's still much for me to learn to produce quality work. No charge...no contract....means no commitment to work away tirelessly for someone. No commitment to someone else for their family research when my own family's needs must come first. Those little initials after my name will also mean that I've agreed to adhere to a certain set of "standards"...a genealogical code of ethics. Of course, I would never try to convince someone that they were a descendant of Charlemagne if they really weren't, but this code goes way past that...and that's where the extra training and learning also comes in. Genealogists actually have to earn those letters behind their names.
Unfortunately, there just isn't a QUALITY learning program available around every corner. I've researched my options down to a handful of free courses online from BYU and a few HUNDRED powerpoint presentations and instructional videos available through the Family Search website. - Thank you Mormon church! LOADS of "skillbuilder" articles on the NGS website. Unfortunately, still not enough. There are national conferences...but those are usually too far away to even think about leaving Mr. D with monkey children for that long of a time period. Granted, I did discover that two of them are in Ohio this year...maybe...if I beg and plead and plan my finances down to the last penny, I may able to convince him that it really is a good thing.
And then that's what I'm left with...the time and financial investment. There are definately great learning opportunities out there that are highly regarded in the genealogical community:
National Genealogical Society offers an online and a home study course - approximately $1000. A very realistic option as it's 2 different segments - one that offers small online courses, and one homestudy section, thereby splitting up the cost.
Samford University in Alabama hosts a single topic course intensive for a week in June. Only about $800 for the week. This is more of an on-going investment each year to learn or refresh skills, so probably will be putting this off until I'm "more" ready and able to show Mr. D. my commitment and need for this each year.
Boston University - 5 months / $3500 OR National Institute for Genealogical Studies - an entire program (40 courses) for about $3,000. Either one of these is on my "must-do" list.
oh...and don't forget the ProGen study group...only $100 to participate, but it's another time commitment of 18 months.
With all of these $$ in front of me...and the months, no...actually, it's years involved of studying....
Is it any wonder the average age of today's professional genealogist is 53 years old!
That's 13 years away, (yes...I'm turning 40 this year.) and 13 years was not part of my plan. I was hoping for more like 5 or 7 but realistically, in 13 years all of my kids will be out of high school, and maybe...just maybe....that could actually turn out to be perfect timing to commit to someone else's family, since mine will be leaving the nest.
Bring it on. I'm going Pro.