How to Become a Tour Guide

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If you want to learn how to be a tour guide, the first step is to examine the available degrees and requirements for reaching your career goals. Anyone can take the courses needed to work in the hospitality industry, but those best suited to the career are those who love working with people, are energetic and outgoing, and who are able to meet new challenges on a daily basis. The degrees available range from certificate programs to masters degrees in hospitality and business.

Steps to Becoming a Tour Guide

The first step to becoming a tour guide is to determine the rules and regulations in your region. Most cities have a local tourism organization that can provide details specific to your region. For example, in New York City you must pass a written test that covers information specific to the city before you can legally offer tours, but you won’t have to have a degree. If you plan on providing tours in a foreign country, you will need to have a degree. Some tour guides prefer to limit their hands-on experience to one city or area of the world to focus their career. For instance, you can choose to be a tour guide to one country, such as Belize, or you can focus on a larger area, such as South America, to ensure you are familiar with the region you are touring to provide the best possible tours for clients.

Choosing to obtain a degree in tourism can open up the doors of opportunity if you love to travel. You will first need to decide which school to attend. It is important to choose an accredited school to ensure your degree is globally recognized and accepted. In the United States, Denver University offers the School of Hotel, Restaurant & Tourism Management. Another option is the Oklahoma State University School of Hotel and Restaurant Administration, which offers a range of degrees in the hospitality industry. Earning a degree is only part of becoming a tour guide. Your on the job experience in a factor in your salary and how well you can do the job. You will need to become familiar with all the history, landscape, architecture, and culture of the city you are working in to become a respected tour guide within your city. International tour guides and travel agents need to become familiar with destinations around the globe to maximize their earning potential.

Tour Guide Options

Tour guides can work locally showing tourist city attractions, as travel agents, or as international guides traveling to foreign destinations. Planning is a big part of being a guide, whether you are working in one city or as a global guide. Travel agents help clients find the right destination for their personal needs based on their own traveling experience. You will need to have moderate training and experience in both domestic and international traveling in order to assist your clients in finding the right destinations for their interests and budget. As a tour guide, your salary can vary significantly based on your specific career and your experience. An experienced tour guide can make over $40,000 a year for their services. Travel agents earn an average of $30,000 a year.