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Tourist guide

Alternative titles for this job include Tour guide, Blue Badge guide

Tourist guides show visitors around places of interest like cities, historic buildings and art galleries.

Average salary (a year)

£18,000 Starter

to

£30,000 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

28 to 30 seasonal

You could work

freelance / self-employed flexibly

How to become

Explore the different ways to get into this role.

How to become a tourist guide

You can get into this job through:

  • an apprenticeship
  • a college course
  • volunteering
  • applying directly
  • specialist courses run by private training organisations

College

You could do a travel and tourism qualification like:

  • Level 2 Certificate in Travel and Tourism
  • Level 3 Diploma in Travel and Tourism

This will give you an insight into the tourist industry and help you develop some of the skills to work as a tourist guide.

Having a language like French, German, Italian or Spanish, or a history qualification can also be useful for this type of role.

Entry requirements

You may need:

  • 2 or more GCSEs at grades 9 to 3 (A* to D), or equivalent, for a level 2 course
  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, for a level 3 course

More Information

Apprenticeship

You may be able to gain some of the skills needed in this role through apprenticeships like:

  • Level 2 Customer service practitioner
  • Level 3 Event assistant
  • Level 3 Cultural learning and participation officer

Entry requirements

To get onto an apprenticeship, you'll find it useful to have:

  • some GCSEs, usually including English and maths, or equivalent, for an intermediate apprenticeship
  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship

More Information

Volunteering

Organisations like the National Trust and English Heritage offer opportunities to gain experience as a tour guide through volunteering.

Direct Application

Many people become tourist guides as a second career, for example teachers who want to work during school holidays or actors who need work between acting roles.

If you have customer service, teaching or language skills or you have experience of working with people, you may be able to apply directly.

Other Routes

You can do 3 levels of training to get a tour guide badge:

  • level 2 - white badge
  • level 3 - green badge
  • level 4 - blue badge

You can apply to local tourist guide associations for training, or major tourist attractions that run their own schemes.

Guide London offers blue badge training, which usually takes around 18 months, and some heritage organisations, like York Minster, have their own training courses.

More Information

Career tips

An outgoing and friendly personality, plus being able to speak a second or third language, will give you an advantage when applying for jobs. Experience of dealing with the public and giving presentations will also help.

Further information

You can find out more about becoming a guide from the Institute of Tourist Guiding.

What it takes

Find out what skills you’ll use in this role.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • customer service skills
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • to be flexible and open to change
  • sensitivity and understanding
  • an interest and knowledge of history
  • a good memory
  • knowledge of English language
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device

What you’ll do

Discover the day to day tasks you’ll do in this role.

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

In this role you could:

  • guide people around a castle, gallery, historic house or garden
  • escort groups of tourists around a site
  • give information about the history, purpose and architecture of a site
  • accompany groups on day tours to a number of places of interest
  • answer questions and suggest other places to visit
  • organise or arrange for additional trips and visits

Working environment

You could work at monuments and castles, in a museum, at an art gallery or in parks and gardens.

Your working environment may be physically active, outdoors some of the time and you'll travel often.

Career path and progression

Look at progression in this role and similar opportunities.

Career path and progression

With experience you could work for a tour operator as a regional tour supervisor or manager.

Current opportunities

Find apprenticeships, courses and jobs available near you.

Current opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

Customer Consultant Apprentice

  • Wage: £175.00 Weekly
  • Location: Nottingham

Apprentice Direct Sales Advisor

  • Wage: To be agreed upon appointment Unspecified
  • Location: Crediton

Courses In England

Tourism

  • Provider: ELLIOTT HUDSON COLLEGE
  • Start date: 05 September 2022
  • Location: Leeds

Travel and Tourism

  • Provider: TRING SCHOOL
  • Start date: 01 September 2022
  • Location: Tring

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