More to learn? Genealogy courses and certification

genealogy_study_bwI love to learn. It’s a lifelong habit I seem to have picked up at some point. Learning about something I love as much as genealogy and family history made it easier to get through a course I recently completed.

About a week ago, I wrapped up the four-week Genealogy Essentials course online through Boston University’s Center for Professional Education. I was dipping a toe in the water to decide if I want to commit to the 15-week certificate program later this year. From what I hear, the certificate program is more intensive, although honestly … the four-week course kept me busy enough between a full-time job and other important responsibilities. Of course, I tried my best to do all of the readings, required and optional, and to participate in all of the online group discussions.

You know you’re on the right track when part of what you’re learning is how much you still have left to learn. Sometimes I feel like I’ve hit a point where there’s not much more to discover about either genealogy or my own family history, and then … wow, it turns out there’s plenty more. This brief course had that effect on me.

The BU course appealed not only to my desire for more discipline in my genealogy, but also to a newly sparked interest in colonial America, the westward migration, Midwest settlement, and history generally. I was relieved to have the time back when the course ended, but I did not feel finished with the learning. I’m still pondering the next move.

I’ve considered pursuing certification … long term … through the Board for Certification of Genealogists. While attaining the BU certificate is not the same as being certified, the BU program is supposed to be good preparation for certification from the BCG. The time and financial commitment are not insignificant, though, so I’m still deciding.

In the meantime, I’m considering the more modest NGS home study as a way to prepare for the BU program. The best part about both programs is that they are online and can be pursued almost completely from home, which might work well for me just now.

I’d welcome any advice from those who have been through the NGS home study, the BU certificate program, or the BCG certification process. Worth it?

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5 Responses to More to learn? Genealogy courses and certification

  1. Amy says:

    I will be interested in your experience. Is this online or in person? I live too far for an in person course, but might at some point be interested in something online. Not looking to work as a genealogy professional, just want to learn more. Good luck!

    • ljhlaura says:

      Thanks much … As I understand it, the BU certificate program is all online except for one project that requires visiting an archive. The biggest hurdle is the 15-week commitment up front for the whole program. It’s asynchronous but not really self-paced. NGS courses are moving online. They’re shorter and more varied, I think, as well as more self-paced and probably more affordable. Depending on your goals, you might check out NGS. I may dabble there before deciding about BU. (under Education).

      • Amy says:

        Thanks so much for all this information. I think 15 weeks is probably too much for me to take on, but I will check out the NGS website for a shorter course.

  2. The 15-week BU program is absolutely worth it, largely because of the personal feedback on your work.

    • ljhlaura says:

      I was wondering about that. I’m glad to hear that helpful personal feedback is part of the class, especially since it is online. That seems like it would be a challenge. Appreciate your comment.

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