My Geology professor Matthew Taylor gave us an option of earning extra credit by attending an optional field trip to the Gemology Institute of America (aka GIA) in Carlsbad, CA. Most of us jumped at this offer. I'll be brief. It was a really nice visit even for someone that is only taking a Geology college course to satisfy breadth area requirements for transfer. Our tour guide was Terri Ottaway, curator of the GIA Museum. She was nice enough to let us view some of the newly developed course materials for becoming certified at Gem identification. I was really impressed and if this sounds interesting to you. I would look into their distance learning programs. I should also mention that GIA hires graduates of it's programs. Out of everything we saw I was most impressed with the staff's photo essays taken in Columbia and the Columbian Emeralds. Forgive the photo quality (iphone photos).