A Lesson or Two: Individual Courses
The National Genealogical Society (NGS) offers several online courses. Each course is $70 for non-members and $45 for members. (An individual membership to the NGS costs $60.)
Currently the NGS is offering "Special Federal Census Schedules" and "Transcribing, Extracting, and Abstracting Genealogical Records," but selection can change, so check back often. They also offer a "Family History Skills" online course which is free for NGS members. Each course starts as soon as you receive access - typically within the next business day.
You will receive a certificate for completing an online NGS course, but since NGS is not a licensing body there is no certification or accreditation attached to receiving the certificate.
Meanwhile, the National Institute for Genealogical Studies offers many web-based courses in conjunction with the continuing education program of University of St. Michael's College, University of Toronto. Instructors include certified genealogists, professional genealogists and librarians.
Courses are split up into basic, intermediate and advanced levels and can be grouped according to certificates, such as the American Records Certificate. The cost of a course varies: some are eight-weeks long and $89 USD while others are 54 weeks and $160 USD. You can also choose elective courses. Investigate: Adoption Records, for example, is a six-week course costing $49.50 USD.
Courses typically begin on the first Monday of the month, although some courses are offered several times a year and others only once a year. Visit the Institute's website to find out more.
Ready to Hit the Books: Packages and Certficates
The National Institute for Genealogical Studies offers certificates in records of various countries, including the United States, Canada, Australia, England, Scotland, Ireland and Germany. There are also general methodology and library certificates available.
Each certificate requires you to complete different numbers of compulsory and elective credits across the basic, intermediate and advanced levels. You can purchase the number of courses needed as a package and save some money - the American Certificate in Genealogical Studies-40 Courses-Complete, for example, costs $2,850. If you buy a package, each course begins only once you activate the course.
If you are looking for something even more advanced, consider the Online Certificate Program in Genealogical Research at Boston University (BU). This 15-week online course consists of five modules: foundations of genealogical research, problem-solving techniques and technology, evidence evaluation and documentation, forensic genealogical research and "The Professional Genealogist." Instructors include fellows of the American Society of Genealogists and a certified genealogist.
Tuition for the program is $2,695, and there are textbook fees on top of that. However, all members of the National Genealogical Society, the New England Historic Genealogical Society and the Association of Professional Genealogists qualify for a 10% discount on tuition.
Not ready for that kind of commitment yet? Maybe Boston University's four-week Genealogical Essentials course is for you instead. The course introduces the Genealogical Proof Standard and teaches you how to evaluate information, recognize clues in current family information and identify people in photographs. Tuition for "Genealogical Essentials" is $775.
Both BU's certificate program and "Genealogical Essentials Course" are offered twice a year. With the fall session almost under way, the next open session starts on January 16, 2013 - registration deadline is December 19. So if you're not ready to go back to school this September, maybe January will be the start of a brand new learning career.