How to Become a Tour Guide

If have a love and talent for public speaking, memorization, and communicating with people, becoming a tour guide might be the right path for you. All of these factors are crucial in making a good tour guide, though there are also other steps involved.


Tour guides are responsible for escorting and informing individuals on a tour. This can be done either locally or overseas. Like stated before, you must love talking to people and learning facts that you will then narrate. You should also love traveling, as this is also a big part of being a tour guide.

Live Job Search

How to Become a Tour Guide

There are some programs in the United States where you can learn to become a tour guide.

The International Tour Management Institute is the first state certified school in North America that teaches tour guides. Over 7,000 people have graduated from ITMI so far and graduates have found careers as tour guides and directors. They hold their programs in San Fransisco, California and they last fifteen days. These classes have a maximum of 25 students and are taught by a minimum of three instructors, who are all certified tour directors.

Over half of the instruction is done out in the field in order to gain experience. There are two levels of this program, and each lasts one week. The first one teaches students about local sightseeing and receptive and incentive operations. The second level teaches students how to be a national and international tour director. After completing this two week program, graduates are able to conduct tours in the U.S. and around the world.

The International Guide Academy is located in Denver, Colorado. All of the instructors are current tour managers and/or tour guides and graduates of the IGA. The IGA offers both tour guide and tour director courses. The tour guide course teaches students about travel industry terminology, conduct and ethics, dress code, commentary skills, presentations, teamwork, and research. There are seven-day and three-day tour guide courses available. IGA graduates are now working as tour guides and directors in the United States and internationally.

Other classes that may help you land a tour guide job include classes on public speaking, hospitality, linguistics, and leadership. First aid and CPR training is also good to learn if it isn’t included in the job training.

After becoming certified, you are more eligible to get a tour guide job at a tour company. There are many different tour companies and jobs out there; you can guide tours in amusement parks, zoos, film sets, museums, cruise ships, national parks, and internationally. After deciding where you would want to work, find a relevant company and apply.

The groups that you will be providing tours for is an important deciding factor as to when you will work. Student tours are conducted in the spring and summer, while adult tours occur during the summer through the fall.

How to Find a Seasonal Job

There are many online resources that can help you find a seasonal job. Some are:

Image: Flickr