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A tour guide takes visitors on guided tours at historical or culturally relevant sites that are unfamiliar to them. Guides share interesting information and entertaining insight into the places to provide tourists with a more in-depth experience. Following the lead of a tour guide in a foreign place usually guarantees that you will not get lost, and you will find the best spot to see and have a great meal, or a fun night out.

Guides sometimes obtain vocational training in travel or tourism, but they are not required to have a degree to hold this position. Language skills are great to have, and experience in the service industry, such as hotels or travel trades, can also be useful.

You will be walking around a lot as a guide, so make sure you are at least more fit than the average tourist if you take on this job. You should not shy away from speaking in public. Unless you advertise yourself as a Zen guide, you will be expected to keep the info and fun titbits coming all day long.

There is more than meets the eye when it comes to being a tour guide. For example, did you know that they make an average of $16.28 an hour? That's $33,854 a year!

What Does a Tour Guide Do

When it comes to the most important skills required to be a tour guide, we found that a lot of resumes listed 17.6% of tour guides included local history, while 14.8% of resumes included customer service, and 12.8% of resumes included safety rules. Hard skills like these are helpful to have when it comes to performing essential job responsibilities.

Learn more about what a Tour Guide does

How To Become a Tour Guide

If you're interested in becoming a tour guide, one of the first things to consider is how much education you need. We've determined that 70.0% of tour guides have a bachelor's degree. In terms of higher education levels, we found that 5.3% of tour guides have master's degrees. Even though most tour guides have a college degree, it's possible to become one with only a high school degree or GED.

Choosing the right major is always an important step when researching how to become a tour guide. When we researched the most common majors for a tour guide, we found that they most commonly earn bachelor's degree degrees or high school diploma degrees. Other degrees that we often see on tour guide resumes include associate degree degrees or master's degree degrees.

You may find that experience in other jobs will help you become a tour guide. In fact, many tour guide jobs require experience in a role such as internship. Meanwhile, many tour guides also have previous career experience in roles such as sales associate or volunteer.

Tour Guide Career Paths

Average Salary for a Tour Guide

Tour Guides in America make an average salary of $33,854 per year or $16 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $59,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $19,000 per year.
Average Tour Guide Salary
$33,854 Yearly
$16.28 hourly
$19,000
10 %
$33,000
Median
$59,000
90 %

What Am I Worth?

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Tour Guide Education

Tour Guide Majors

12.9 %

Tour Guide Degrees

Bachelors

70.0 %

High School Diploma

10.6 %

Associate

9.9 %

Top Colleges for Tour Guides

1. Stanford University

Stanford, CA • Private

In-State Tuition
$51,354
Enrollment
7,083

2. University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA • Private

In-State Tuition
$55,584
Enrollment
10,764

3. University of Southern California

Los Angeles, CA • Private

In-State Tuition
$56,225
Enrollment
19,548

4. Boston University

Boston, MA • Private

In-State Tuition
$53,948
Enrollment
17,238

5. New York University

New York, NY • Private

In-State Tuition
$51,828
Enrollment
26,339

6. George Washington University, The

Washington, DC • Private

In-State Tuition
$55,230
Enrollment
12,161

7. Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA • Private

In-State Tuition
$18,454
Enrollment
40,108

8. Harvard University

Cambridge, MA • Private

In-State Tuition
$50,420
Enrollment
7,582

9. Yale University

New Haven, CT • Private

In-State Tuition
$53,430
Enrollment
5,963

10. Cornell University

Ithaca, NY • Private

In-State Tuition
$55,188
Enrollment
15,105

Top Skills For a Tour Guide

  • Local History, 17.6%
  • Customer Service, 14.8%
  • Safety Rules, 12.8%
  • Public Speaking, 6.0%
  • Large Groups, 5.8%
  • Other Skills, 43.0%

Choose From 10+ Customizable Tour Guide Resume templates

Zippia allows you to choose from different easy-to-use Tour Guide templates, and provides you with expert advice. Using the templates, you can rest assured that the structure and format of your Tour Guide resume is top notch. Choose a template with the colors, fonts & text sizes that are appropriate for your industry.

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Tour Guide Demographics

Tour Guide Gender Distribution

Female
Female
53%
Male
Male
47%

After extensive research and analysis, Zippia's data science team found that:

  • Among tour guides, 53.2% of them are women, while 46.8% are men.

  • The most common race/ethnicity among tour guides is White, which makes up 70.7% of all tour guides.

  • The most common foreign language among tour guides is Spanish at 41.0%.

Online Courses For Tour Guide That You May Like

Advertising Disclosure  The courses listed below are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the course, we may receive a commission.
Guided Tour of Machine Learning in Finance
coursera

This course aims at providing an introductory and broad overview of the field of ML with the focus on applications on Finance. Supervised Machine Learning methods are used in the capstone project to predict bank closures. Simultaneously, while this course can be taken as a separate course, it serves as a preview of topics that are covered in more details in subsequent modules of the specialization Machine Learning and Reinforcement Learning in Finance. The goal of Guided Tour of Machine Learning...

Group Life Coaching Certification (Accredited)
udemy
4.6
(1,161)

Training for life coaches who want to grow their business through offering life coaching groups...

Group Discussion Strategies
udemy
4
(336)

Group Discussion helps understand a subject more deeply and improves the ability to think critically...

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Best States For a Tour Guide

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a tour guide. The best states for people in this position are Alaska, Hawaii, Oregon, and California. Tour guides make the most in Alaska with an average salary of $54,694. Whereas in Hawaii and Oregon, they would average $46,228 and $44,700, respectively. While tour guides would only make an average of $44,160 in California, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. Alaska

Total Tour Guide Jobs:
8
Highest 10% Earn:
$75,000
Location Quotient:
7.54 Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

2. Oregon

Total Tour Guide Jobs:
8
Highest 10% Earn:
$81,000
Location Quotient:
1.52 Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

3. Delaware

Total Tour Guide Jobs:
4
Highest 10% Earn:
$77,000
Location Quotient:
2.51 Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here
Full List Of Best States For Tour Guides

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Top Tour Guide Employers

Most Common Employers For Tour Guide

Rank  Company  Average Salary  Hourly Rate  Job Openings  
1University of Rhode Island$91,567$44.0233
2Gettysburg College$67,458$32.4328
3Binghamton University$60,893$29.2829
4Albion College$55,382$26.6327
5Marist College$43,355$20.8426
6Warner Bros.$39,196$18.8425
7San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance$37,725$18.1433
8Miami University$36,335$17.4736
9Full Sail University$34,856$16.7650
10Rainforest$33,854$16.2833

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