The first step to becoming certified is to acquire the skills and knowledge expressed in Genealogy Standards. Most successful applicants attend genealogical institutes, participate in online study groups, or take other extended genealogical courses.
Successful applicants demonstrate competence in these areas:
They know the records available within their specialties. They follow sound practices in abstracting and transcribing records, compiling data, and documenting all work they produce. They proficiently read the handwriting of earlier eras.
They are well grounded in the laws, customs, and terminology of past societies in order to properly interpret the records they find. They understand the principles that differentiate sources, information, and evidence, and they apply these principles critically. They are well-versed in the interpretation of DNA and know when it is applicable. They soundly weigh all findings in context with one another and exercise caution in reaching conclusions.
They are articulate. They present problems clearly, identify their resources thoroughly, and provide the rationale for all their conclusions. Their research reports, narratives, and presentations are professionally constructed and well targeted to their audience and purpose.
Once these skills are part of daily work and there is adequate experience applying them to work products, certification may be the next step.