Tour Guide

Foreign Language Job


Tour guides work for tour and travel guide companies, cruise lines, and hotels as seasonal workers or full-time employees. They may lead walking tours, driving tours or cruises through different countries, towns, historical places, and many other places.

Advantages, Dangers, Travel

Advantages: You often show tourists the same area that is familiar to you.

Dangers: People you tour around can threaten you. People can also not listen to you and go into places where the tourists are not allowed.

Travel: You dont have to travel/move around a lot.


Tour guides must be able to retain historical facts, dates and anecdotes, and then relay that information to visitors in an entertaining, informative way. They must also speak many different languages fluently, so tourists from other language speaking countries can understand the tour. Tour guides need a high-school diploma. Many also receive on-the-job training from employers and some complete certificate programs provided by vocational schools. Some cities, including Washington D.C. and New York City, require a license for all tour guides. Applicants generally have to pass a written exam covering factual knowledge of specific locations and city history. Some cities also require that applicants complete a background check to become licensed.

Universities/Training Locations

Two places you can be trained to become a tour guide are Tourism Training Australia and The Tour Guide Training Corporation of Canada.


Tour guides working in certain areas may be able to increase job opportunities by joining regional, national and international guide associations. As of May 2010, the middle 50% of tour guides earned between $18,620-$39,720 per year. The median annual wage for tour guides during the same year was $23,290.