How to Become a Tour Guide
To let you enjoy working in a variety of settings, and get paid for the privilege we'll show you how to become a tour guide!
1. Get inspired
First of all what kinds of tours you would like to lead think about that and then be creative and consider settings such as gardens, sports venues, wineries, natural history museums, government buildings, movie locations, rain forests, castles, and more. For offering more and more tour options to the guests there are several tour companies like multi-general tours companies, adventure tours with backpacking and hiking, student tour companies and many more...
Take some time to decide what interests you, and then to look for tour guide opportunities in that field hop on Google. For their hiring needs most of the tour companies do not post jobs online however they typically contact certified schools.
2. Research certified schools for tour guides
For becoming a tour guide, a certificate is not really necessary but when applying for jobs it will make you stand a cut above the competition so for good certification try to look for a school with the highest reputation like The International Tour Management Institute www.itmitourtraining.com. As far as possible also try to contact tour companies that you might want to work for and ask their opinion about the best school. It will be an added advantage to your qualification if you consider having a two or four year tourism or hospitality degree as well
If you want your work to be govern as a tour guide then get enrolled in the programs of your choice; and take classes in public speaking, leadership and team building, the tourism industry, and the ethical code. To get public speaking experience and feedback your local toast masters are a great place.
More schools are offering online classes even though classes are typically taught on-site at schools. On-site classes affords the advantage of getting hands-on experience with professionals who can advise you, as well as connections with people who know the business so it’s always better to take on-site classes. In an online course you will not get the same field experience. The kind of skill and the quality of certified candidates the tour companies look for they very well know that online classes do not teach the skills they are looking for. So you should know that you might also need to attend a certified school to get hired before you commit money to an online class.
Offered multiple times a year the certification courses typically run 2 to 3 weeks. Consult the websites of specific programs to get an idea of course starting dates. You have to reconsider enrolling in a tour guide school as attending class will be a full-time commitment, especially if you must keep your present job and can't take time off. To attend class people in general take vacation from their jobs.
3. Study diligently
To receive your certificate from the tour guide training school you enrolled in pass all classes successfully.
There are some companies that require their tour guides to take continuing education classes on an annual basis so you have to be familiar of that. The classes may be in a secondary language that would be helpful in the relevant area or workshops in public speaking or leadership. These classes may be offered by training schools that provide continuing education courses like ITMI's annual Professional Symposium or by the company however most school does not so look for a school with continuing professional education. Your company will be able to direct you to a school that offers such classes.
4. Educate yourself on the area in which you will be working
Always keep in mind that a good tour guide needs to be familiar with the area's history, culture, landmarks, and other features of the tours he will be conducting, so you have to educate yourself in this field. As far as possible communicate and connect with the regional tour guide guild if you want to work as a local tour guide as they are a wonderful resource for knowledge and networking.
5. Consider your personality carefully
Only knowing many facts about the area in which you are working is not sufficient enough, you must be capable of communicating those facts. Somewhat extroverted and possess people skills is what tour guide candidates need to be and if that sounds like you you're a tour guide in the making!