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Preparing for Accreditation

The accreditation examinations offered through ICAPGen(SM) are designed to distinguish the professional-level genealogist from the hobbyist and the amateur. Hence, the exams are rigorous and intensive. There are many ways a genealogist can prepare to become accredited. Following are some suggestions:

Determine the Region in Which to Apply

Select a region for which you have a good working knowledge of the records, methodologies, and repositories and for which you have a four-generation project that meets the requirements. It is required that a researcher have at least 1,000 hours of  genealogical research and educational experience with 500 hours in the records of the chosen region before applying for accreditation. The purpose for ICAPGen’s (SM) regional (area) focus is to group together areas with similar history, language, laws, geography, or research methodologies. To see current testing regions and resources go to Testing Regions and Resources. An applicant should be competent in the English language in order to do well on the current exam. If the credential is desired for an area that is not the native language, a working knowledge of the native language of that country is required. To strengthen and test language skills go to Language Ability.

Get Extensive Research Experience

Get as much research experience as possible in the area of interest. Research for friends, neighbors, and/or clients to get experience researching for non-family lines. Practice researching under time constraints and writing a report for each research segment you complete. Learn about important records and significant genealogical information contained in each, methodologies, and repositories in the region of interest. Learn to evaluate pedigree charts and analyze evidence. Practice reading old handwriting. Practice transcribing, extracting, and abstracting documents.  


No specific, formal classes in genealogy are required for accreditation. For suggestions for genealogical education go to Educational Resources.

Document Your Experience and Education

It is required that you have at least 1,000 hours of research experience and genealogical training before submitting your application for accreditation. Of your 1,000 hours of research experience and genealogical training 500 hours of it must be in your chosen region. You may count the time researching in your selected geographic area, attending genealogy classes, and anything else that increases your competency as a researcher. The time devoted to analyzing and report writing should also be included. We highly recommend keeping a log of your experience for personal use. Doing so will help you identify weak areas in experience and training before starting the application process. You can then take appropriate steps to improve weaknesses before applying. The link below is a suggested log you can download for this purpose.
Experience Tracking Log

Choose a Family for the Four-generation Project

Choose a family in your selected region and trace it back four generations. The direct-line ancestor in each of the four generations must have lived in the area being tested for at least some time during his or her lifetime. The birth year of the individual in the most recent generation must be born on or before 1900. For more information about the Four-generation Project go to Level 1: The Four-generation Project. 


The mentoring program is being redesigned. For free access to previous mentoring class videos with material that can improve your skills go to “Mentoring Videos.” Consider asking an AG® professional who is accredited in the region of interest to review your application before submitting it to ICAPGen. To find an AG® professional for your region of interest go to Find an AG professional “By Accreditation Region.”

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