How to Become a Tour Guide

Tour Guides work in the hospitality and recreation industries and use their interpersonal skills to lead groups of tourists or students on a sightseeing tour or similar exploration.

Tour Guides may lead and educate groups on a variety of sightseeing tours: walking, driving tour such as on a bus as well as during a cruise.

These professionals are highly educated regarding the niche they work in.

They can work for a variety of businesses and may even hire out their skills as self employed professionals.

Professional Tour Guides can work for a variety of businesses including some of the following organizations:

  • Museums
  • Hotels
  • Travel guide companies
  • Nonprofit organizations such as a local Visitor’s Bureau
  • Tour guide companies
  • Freelance and self employed

Some people have the knack for working with people and providing guidance.

These are some innate skills that someone who wants to become a Tour Guide should have or strengthen.

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Candidates who want to provide walking tours for museums or geological points of interest should also be able to be on their feet for extended periods of time.

Education Requirements to Become a Tour Guide

Candidates who want to become a Tour Guide should have the minimum of a high school diploma or its equivalent in order to secure employment.

In addition, some large cities such as Washington DC and New York require candidates who want to become a Tour Guide to secure licensure.

Some possible requirements that need to be met in order to attain licensure include passing a background check and passing a licensing exam.

Candidates should have the ability to read and write proficiently in order to prepare for and take the exam.

Licensing exams can ask questions regarding a city’s history, specific places, buildings and attractions.

In addition, some Tour Guides may have the opportunity to learn about their field by receiving on the job training from their employer.

Training is provided by the company and candidates may have to continue taking training courses through their career in order to brush up on their knowledge.

A candidate should also have an understanding and be able to grasp and retain important information and historical facts in order to educate their clients.

They may have to learn a large amount of information for larger museums and be fully knowledgeable of the city they provide tours for.

Some information they have to know includes important dates, people and movements.

In addition to retaining a variety of information regarding the sites they provide tours for, potential Tour Guides need to be able to communicate all their knowledge with ease.

Tour Guide Job Description

The main objective a Tour Guide needs to accomplish is to lead a group of tourists, visitors and students on a variety of tours depending on the organization they work for.

They may create their own guide or follow one provided by their company.

Tour guides use their people skills and knowledge revolving their niche in order to provide tours for cities, museums and other points of interests, such as the Empire State Building in New York City.

Some companies require their Tour Guides to make sure all registered clients are in attendance.

They will need to verify accommodation numbers as well as promote and sell tour guide passes and tickets.

They may also arrange group activities to break the ice and have the group be active participants in the group.

During a sightseeing expedition, Tour Guides will provide educational information in an informative and fun manner.

For city tours, they will need to focus on local points of interest, local establishments, restaurants and shopping centers.

They will answer any questions guests have and provide travel advice to attendees.

Tour Guide Salary and Career Path

Tourism relies heavily on the economy’s health.

Service occupations including Tour Guides are expected to grow at 16.5% through the year 2016, a growth that is considered average when compared to other careers.

The salary and wages for a Tour Guide depends on the location of work, type of employer and whether they work as an independent freelance contractor.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics groups tour guides under service occupations with a national median income of approximately $23,000 per year.

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