Tour guide, Blue Badge guide
Tourist guides show visitors around places of interest like cities, historic buildings and art galleries.
Salary range: £18,000 to £30,000
How to become a tourist guide
You can get into this job through:
- an apprenticeship
- specialist courses run by private training organisations
You could do an intermediate or advanced apprenticeship in cultural heritage operations before applying to become a tour guide.
You’ll usually need:
- 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship
- some GCSEs, usually including English and maths, or equivalent, for an intermediate apprenticeship
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.
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.
You can find out more about becoming a guide from the Institute of Tourist Guiding.
What it takes
Skills and knowledge
- patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
- customer service skills
- the ability to work well with others
- the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
- to be flexible and open to change
- sensitivity and understanding
- excellent verbal communication skills
- knowledge of English language
- to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device
What you’ll do
Your day-to-day tasks may include:
- working in one place like a castle or historic house
- escorting groups around a site, giving information about its history, purpose and architecture
- accompanying groups on day tours to a number of interesting places or sites
You could work at monuments and castles, in a museum or at an art gallery.
Your working environment may be outdoors some of the time and you’ll travel often.
Career path and progression
With experience you could work for a tour operator as a regional tour supervisor or manager.