By Shannon Combs-Bennett, Student
Well, I have finally reached it. The last methodology course in the certificate program. Methodology Part 6: Professional Preparation and Practice concentrates on professional development and further educational opportunities. This is a topic I am always looking into, so I was very excited to jump into the information provided.
Unlike many professions, there really is not a standard way a person becomes a professional genealogist. Sure, you can take programs like the one from The National Institute for Genealogical Studies and others. You could go for certification or accreditation. Maybe you decide after 30 years of researching your own family tree that you now want to try your hand at someone else’s. However, no matter your path, genealogists are left to learning about being a professional on their own.
Anytime I am offered insight from a course, webinar, lecture, etc. that gives me a clue to what it means to be a professional (or just bring myself up to that level) I am all ears. You know what? You should be too. Even if you never “hang your shingle” you should still strive to be as professional as possible in your research. It will make your descendants very, very happy. Trust me.
Through the course I learned about:
- Setting up a business
- Managing clients
- Writing reports
- Teaching others
These are all things that I do, nearly every day, and I still was able to pick up new pointers. Especially in the aspect of working for others (aka client work). Even if your “clients” are friends or family (and they may or may not be paying you), the ideas and skills taught in this course were outstanding and will be beneficial. In fact, I have already started to use them.
But, if you are like me, and have no business skills but want to make a living at your hobby then you will want to take this course purely for Module 2. It walks you through everything you need to consider when setting up your business. I found the part on office planning (in the home or out of) to be very insightful. Along with setting up your work area and marketing yourself. There is so much that goes into creating a business from scratch!
Most importantly is the section on ethics. Being the best, and most ethical, genealogist is always my goal. I hope that it is yours too. The last module in the course covers the Association for Professional Genealogists code of ethics and a discussion of what we should all be doing to cover our bases. It is a section that we should all take to heart.
Overall, Methodology Part 6: Professional Preparation and Practice had excellent information, even if you never take money for genealogy work. It is good to know what is out there and how to stay on top of the game. Plus, if you are not a lecturer it will give you a lot of insight into all the preparation we go through to bring you our topics. Hours and hours of planning.
Well, off to the next course! See you online!