How to Become a


The complete career guide to be a Genealogist: salary, job growth, employers, best schools, and education you may need to get started.

Why We Love It

  • $61,120
    Potential Avg. Salary
  • Creativity Focused
    Career Attribute
  • Get to Travel
    Career Attribute
  • High Job Satisfaction
    Career Attribute

Genealogists research and study family histories and background in order to establish a genealogical history, establish descent and identify individual family members.

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What is a Genealogist?

The following job responsibilities are common for Genealogists:

  •  Consults American and foreign genealogical tables, publications and documents to trace lines of descent or succession
  • References church records, vital statistics, marriages, deaths, divorces and any other public records
  • Organizes and evaluates data collected and organizes on the basis of relevancy, significance and authenticity
  • Gathers any available physical evidence such as photographs and letters
  • Constructs charts, graphs and reports showing family lines and relationships

A Day In The Life

Genealogist are professional researchers who gather and compile and report on data they gather about family histories.  Through their research someone can learn who they are and where they came from.

Every genealogical project is different.  They could be asked to find a long lost relative for someone or they may have to search for a possible heir to settle an estate dispute.  Most of their time is spent doing meticulous research of vital records, marriage records, birth certificates, death records, immigration records, reading hand written documents and letters, looking for photographs, etc.  Once all the necessary information is discovered it must then be put into comprehensive charts, graphs and reports.

Typical Work Schedule

This is a full-time position, typically fulfilled in an office environment.  Some travel is required for this job.

Projected Job Growth

This job is expected to stay at a relatively steady pace.  But with individuals becoming more and more interested in their heritage and family chronicles is could increase significantly.

Typical Employers

Typically a genealogist works for the government in asset recovery.  They can also work for private asset recovery firms as consultants.

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How To Become a Genealogist

Many individuals are interested in their own family tree, which sparks their curiosity and interest in genealogy.  To become a genealogist there are no educational requirements.  The best way to learn is to attend work-shops, online courses, and conferences.  Also joining genealogical  societies and communities is recommended.

To become a professional you must become certified.  The certification board establishes standards that ensure genealogists compile the most accurate information possible.  Certification also allows them to receive a higher fee for the work conducted.

Genealogist Salary Data

We’ve provided you the following to learn more about this career. The salary and growth data on this page comes from recently published Bureau of Labor Statistics data while the recommendations and editorial content are based on our research.

National Anual Salary

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High Range


National Hourly Wage

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High Range


How do Genealogist salaries stack up to other jobs across the country? Based on the latest jobs data nationwide, Genealogist's can make an average annual salary of $61,120, or $29 per hour. On the lower end, they can make $36,760 or $18 per hour, perhaps when just starting out or based on the state you live in.

Salary Rankings And Facts

  • #257 Nationally for All Careers

  • Above Average Salary Nationally

Highest Education Among Genealogists

  • 17%   Doctorate
  • 37%   Masters
  • 36.8%   Bachelors
  • 3.9%   Associates
  • 4.8%   College
  • 0.3%   High School
  • 0.2%   Less than High School

Job Growth Projections and Forecast

2014 Total Jobs


2024 Est. Jobs


Job Growth Rate


Est. New Jobs


How does Genealogist job growth stack up to other jobs across the country? By 2024, there will be a change of --- jobs for a total of 3,500 people employed in the career nationwide. This is a --- change in growth over the next ten years, giving the career a growth rate nationwide of Above Average.

Growth Rankings And Facts

  • #594 Nationally for All Careers

  • Above Avg. Growth Nationally

What Companies Employ The Most Genealogists

Industry Current Jobs New Jobs Needed % Increase
Local government, excluding education and hospitals 900 --- ---
Federal government, excluding postal service 800 -100 0%
State government, excluding education and hospitals 500 --- ---

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