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No, you certainly do not need a professional install. Air tools will make it quicker/easier, but hand tools and a tall jack will get it done just fine.

I have an auto, so can't comment on the manual gear shift. But the RC kit comes with an adapter for it. And also brackets to raise the rear bumper. A little more searching should bring up some feedback on how well the shift adapter works?

As far as using a BL goes - I think it is personal preference. 1.25" isn't all that noticeable, unless you are actually looking for it. Not like the 3+ inch body lifts I used to see all the time on trucks. And if you want a bit more height and are worried about driveline angles (caster/pinion, losing the stock driveshafts, etc), an argument can be made for running a BL over going to taller coils or adding spacers. Just depends on your preference and needs.
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