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Tourist guide careers

Escorting vistors, tourist guides tour around places of interest including cities, historic buildings, gardens, religious sites, and museums.

Some tourist guides work just in one location, for example a castle or historic house. They guide visitors and provide information on history, architecture, and so on. Other tourist guides accompany groups to a variety of locations, providing information on the area and pointing out places of interest.

While there are no formal educational qualifications to become a tourist guide, a good standard of education is generally necessary. Additionally, an interest in history, the arts, architecture, or other similar subjects is useful. Some employers also look for people who are fluent in a foreign language.

Previous work experience that would be useful would include dealing with people or giving presentations or talks. Training is accredited by the Institute of Tourist Guiding. Qualifications are as follows:

  • Level 2: Fixed Route Commentary, Interpretation and Presentation - for those looking to guide visitors round attractions including galleries, castles or stately homes or on fixed routes such as river trips or busses.

  • Level 3: Green Badge - Flexible Route Commentary, Heritage Interpretation and Presentation - suitable for guiding in city and town centres, visitor attractions, historic buildings or heritage sites.

  • Level 4: Blue Badge in Tourist Guiding - Covers all aspects of guiding. In some locations, including Westminster Abbey and York Minster, only Blue Badge guides are permitted to lead groups.

Courses may be run by local and regional tourist bodies or colleges and institutions. While most courses will last at least two terms part-time, some may be up to two years. They typically include a mixture of evening lectures and practical training at weekends.

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