How to become a tour guide from scratch – teaching the profession of a tour guide and specifics of work

How to become a tour guide from scratch?The profession, known today as “tour guide”, until the end of the sixties, one might say, practically did not exist. Usually, volunteers took up this work – and, more often, absolutely free of charge. The staff of museums and universities were responsible for conducting excursions. As for the regular guides, there were only a few of them.

The development of the excursion direction in tourism in the USSR started only after 1969. And today this profession is considered fashionable, profitable and prestigious.

The content of the article:

  1. Where and how does the tour guide work?
  2. Necessary skills, personal and business qualities
  3. Training for the profession of a tour guide
  4. Features of the career and salary of the guide
  5. Where to look for a job as a tour guide from scratch?

Features of the work of a tour guide – where and how does the guide work?

So is it still a guide or a tour guide? How is it correct? And is there a difference?

There is definitely a difference.

The first, in addition to direct duties, accompanies guests on tours, as well as on hikes or even cruises, ensures their safety and solves their everyday problems. And the second only leads excursions (as a rule, the same ones) along a specific route or an object chosen by tourists (program), telling guests about the history of the object or area.

Where do the tour guides work?

Most often, a travel company (as well as museums, etc.) becomes the place of work of the guide. But, upon reaching a certain level of experience and skill, the guides often leave “in free float”, preferring to work for themselves.

What does the guide do?

Among the duties of a guide, the following can be noted:

  • Accompanying tourists and informing them about the history of certain attractions.
  • Search and thorough study of history.
  • Development of unique (and not so much – whoever succeeds) excursion programs.
  • Coordination of actions of tourists in emergency situations.
  • Conducting safety briefing.
  • Providing first aid if necessary.
  • Performing the functions of a translator.
  • Filling in excursion documents.
  • Checking the documents of the participants, organizing their departure and control over them until the end of the excursion.

Training for the profession of a guide and work features

Necessary skills, personal and business qualities to work as a tour guide

Among the main requirements that are put forward for the applicant for this profession:

  1. Higher education in the humanities.
  2. Knowledge of one (at least English), and preferably 2-3 foreign languages.
  3. Grammatically correct speech.
  4. Inner charm and artistry.
  5. Sociability, the ability to get along with people and quickly find contact.
  6. The ability to competently, clearly and interestingly tell people about certain facts of history.
  7. In most cases (in reputable companies) – the presence of accreditation.
  8. Knowledge of museum / excursion business and local history, Russian language and literature, history and ethnography, cultural studies.
  9. Knowledge of a specific excursion direction, in accordance with the chosen one (history, weapons, local history, etc.).

Personal qualities and talents, without which it is impossible to successfully master the profession:

  • Acting ability.
  • Good memory.
  • Love for history, local history.
  • The talent to quickly find the right words and instantly find a solution in the most delicate situations.
  • The ability to concentrate people’s attention, captivate them with interesting information and completely capture their attention.
  • The desire to improve oneself.
  • Love for your work.
  • Speech endurance.
  • Tolerance, the ability to communicate with a wide variety of tourists and groups of tourists, including those that in everyday life you walk a mile away.
  • High language literacy and culturological erudition.
  • Psychologist and teacher talent.
  • Ability to do without an interpreter (high level of foreign spoken language).
  • High performance and physical endurance.
  • Sense of humor (you cannot do without it in your work).

Who is this job suitable for?

This profession is most suitable for young, hardy and attractive boys and girls with a high level of intelligence and perfect knowledge of the English language, with leadership qualities, collected and responsible, extremely energetic and active in life, in love with the land where they lead excursions.

The profession of a tour guide – the pros and cons of work

Of the advantages of the profession, of which there are many, it is possible to highlight …

  1. Lack of routine in your work. If the excursions for the guide remain the same from year to year, the guide is free to independently plan the routes and excursions themselves, as well as make changes.
  2. Constant communication and meeting new people.
  3. Constant language practice when communicating with foreign guests.
  4. Decent salary.
  5. A boring job that you can really go to with pleasure.
  6. The ability to travel and work outdoors.
  7. Prospects for the development of their business in tourism.
  8. Free schedule (unless, of course, you are a full-time employee at a museum, for example).
  9. Stability of earnings when working in cities that are attractive to tourists.

Disadvantages of the profession:

  • Constant leg work.
  • The need to work in any weather.
  • Meals on the fly (often instead of lunch you have to solve various organizational issues or even look for your lost guests).
  • A responsibility. The tour guide is responsible for his tourists.
  • The need to smile even to those to whom you would never smile in your ordinary life.
  • Serious stress on the vocal cords.
  • Decrease in profits in the autumn and winter seasons (not everywhere).
  • Extremely tough competition.

Training for the profession of a tour guide – courses, educational institutions, self-study

Of course, you can try to become a tour guide yourself in your regular secondary education by completing some courses – or simply by listening to a few lectures at your local museum. But this is possible only in small towns or villages where the flow of tourists is low, and no one really thinks about the quality of the guide’s work.

If you are serious about this profession, and are going to make good and stable earnings on it, then you should approach the matter with full responsibility.

  1. University. You cannot do without higher humanitarian education (note – history, philology, cultural studies, etc.). There are enough specialized faculties in modern universities today. Naturally, you should study foreign languages ​​in parallel. You must be fluent in English at the highest cultural level. Also German, French and Chinese will not be superfluous.
  2. Courses. Lectures and trainings are held at universities and museums. After completing the courses, the participants receive the relevant documents. The courses are suitable for those who already have a relevant diploma.
  3. Training (you cannot do without this if you want to move forward, and not stand still until old age).
  4. Proficiency test and obtaining a license.

Where to go to study?

  • University of Management and Economics in St. Petersburg.
  • International Academy of Tourism in Moscow.
  • RSUH.
  • Institute of International Tourism in Irkutsk.
  • University of Tourism and Resort Business in Sochi.
  • Training center for guides and tour guides.
  • Association of Guides-Translators and Tour Guides.

Features of the career and salary of a guide – how much does a guide-guide get?

More than 7 million guests visited St. Petersburg alone in 2016. Therefore, the question of the demand for the profession in large cities is not even worth it: tour guides are needed wherever there are tourists.

Average earnings will depend on the region and place of work. The average salary in the country is about 35,000 rubles. In Moscow and St. Petersburg, you can earn up to 80,000 rubles and more during the season.

The most lucrative regions for tour guides are:

  • Moscow region and Moscow.
  • Petersburg and the Leningrad region.
  • Krasnodar region.

As for the level of wages, it remains the highest today in Moscow, followed by the Kemerovo region, then the Republic of Tatarstan and St. Petersburg.

It is worth noting that when working for a travel agency, a guide’s salary is, on average, about 2,000 rubles per day per season, plus a tip. When working for himself, such an employee naturally receives all the profit for himself.

Is career growth possible?

Of course, yes – as in any profession.

And the highest point of a career is not just working for yourself, but opening your own excursion bureau or other business in this area of ​​the market.

Where to look for a job as a tour guide?

The path to success for a future tour guide is as follows:

  1. Obtaining an appropriate education and learning a foreign language (s).
  2. Completion of courses (the average cost of high-quality training programs is about 50,000 rubles) – 2-4 months.
  3. Internship and passing the exam in the museum.
  4. Obtaining accreditation, without which you will not be able to get a really good job and conduct excursions (a fine – up to 25,000 for individuals).
  5. Accommodation in a travel company, museum, hotel, etc.

Accreditation – how to get it, and what is it?

Accreditation is a special permission of the state sample, which gives the right to conduct excursions for foreign guests.

These permits were introduced to improve the quality of service for tourists arriving to us.

In total, 3 levels of accreditation are known:

  • Category 3 – trainee (permission period – 1 year). Requirements: a diploma from a university, a certificate of completed courses (or faculty) for a guide or tour guide, a document on listening to lectures on conducting excursions in the museum and (optional, but will be a plus) experience in conducting excursions in a work book.
  • 2nd category – for specialists with more than 2 years of experience. The permit is valid for 3 years.
  • 1st category – for specialists with over 7 years of experience. Accreditation is unlimited and does not require renewal.

You can get a license only after training, and what place to choose for this – each future guide decides for himself.

Accreditation for work in Moscow and St. Petersburg (for example) is different, and there is no uniform certification of guides in the country.

For example, in St. Petersburg you can get such accreditation at the city tourist information bureau, and in the capital – at the Association of Guides-Translators and Tour Guides.


Finding a job with accreditation is easy if you have your own interesting routes. It is enough to come in person or send your resume to where you would like to get a job.

If you liked our article and you have any thoughts about this, please share with us. Your opinion is very important for us!

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