How to Become a Genealogist. A professional genealogist is someone who researches family histories. In this job, you would find and search through documents to find out how people are related. If genealogy sounds like an interesting job to you, you should pursue it. Here's how!
Decide if Genealogy is Right for You
Think about whether your personality is a good fit for a job in genealogy. Genealogists enjoy research, history and helping others learn more about themselves. If you enjoy these things, you might like a job as a genealogist.
Consider getting a college degree in Family History. Very few schools offer this degree, but a degree in genealogy might give you an advantage. For example, in order to be a professional genealogist, you'll need hundreds to thousands of research and report compiling hours. A structured program can help you get those hours. It might also give you a chance to explore possible specializations.
Find a genealogist to study under. If you have never done any genealogy research, it might help you to talk to a genealogist to learn about their job and specialization. This can help give you direction, and help you decide if it is the right job for you.
Take the time to learn how to research family histories. You cannot get credentials or accreditation without having done more than 1000 hours of research. If you don't enjoy the training part of genealogy, you might not enjoy the job.
Get Credentials or Accreditation
Have some education in genealogy or history. The Board for the Certification of Genealogists awards credentials, but first, you'll need to prove that you have done some formal study of genealogy.
Attend workshops and conferences in genealogy. This is especially important if you do not hold a degree in genealogy. By attending these events, you can learn ways to research and analyze documents. This information will be important when you start your job as a genealogist.
Start your research experience. Before you can get credentials or accreditation, you'll need to have done about a thousand hours of genealogy research. The Board for the Certification of Genealogists recommends that applicants have 250 hours of research experience or more per year.
Apply for credentials or accreditation. Both processes require you to submit written evidence of your research. To get credentials you will need to write essays that explain how and why you are qualified to be a professional. To get accreditation, you will have to do an additional research project.