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Career and Education Opportunities for Tour Guides in Seattle, Washington

If you want to be a tour guide, the Seattle, Washington area offers many opportunities both for education and employment. There are currently 370 working tour guides in Washington; this should grow by 16% to about 430 working tour guides in the state by 2016. This is better than the national trend for tour guides, which sees this job pool growing by about 11.7% over the next eight years. In general, tour guides escort individuals or groups on sightseeing tours or through places of interest, such as industrial establishments, public buildings, and art galleries.

Income for tour guides is about $12 hourly or $25,580 annually on average in Washington. Nationally, their income is about $11 hourly or $23,270 per year. Compared with people working in the overall category of Travel, people working as tour guides in Washington earn less. They earn less than people working in the overall category of Travel nationally.

There are two schools within twenty-five miles of Seattle where you can study to be a tour guide, among sixty-five schools of higher education total in the Seattle area. The most common level of education for tour guides is some college courses. You can expect to spend a short time training to become a tour guide if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Tour Guide

Tour Guide video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, tour guides escort individuals or groups on sightseeing tours or through places of interest, such as industrial establishments, public buildings, and art galleries.

Tour guides describe tour points of interest to group members, and respond to questions. Finally, tour guides furnish directions and other pertinent data to visitors.

Every day, tour guides are expected to be able to articulate ideas and problems. It is also important that they listen to and understand others in meetings.

It is important for tour guides to conduct educational activities for school children. They are often called upon to monitor visitors' efforts to insure adherence to establishment or tour regulations and safety practices. They also distribute brochures, show audiovisual presentations, and explain establishment processes and operations at tour sites. They are sometimes expected to escort individuals or groups on cruises or through places of interest such as industrial establishments and art galleries. Somewhat less frequently, tour guides are also expected to drive motor vehicles to transport visitors to establishments and tour site locations.

Tour guides sometimes are asked to decide on travel routes and sites to be visited on the basis of knowledge of specific areas. They also have to be able to furnish for physical safety of groups, performing such activities as providing first aid and directing emergency evacuations and research environmental conditions and patrons' skill and ability levels so as to plan expeditions and commentary that are appropriate. And finally, they sometimes have to furnish for physical safety of groups, performing such activities as providing first aid and directing emergency evacuations.

Like many other jobs, tour guides must believe in cooperation and coordination and be reliable.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Seattle include:

  • Transportation Attendant. Provide services to ensure the safety and comfort of passengers aboard ships, buses, or within the station or terminal. Perform duties, such as greeting passengers, explaining the use of safety equipment, serving meals or beverages, or answering questions related to travel.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Tour Guide Training

Highline Community College - Des Moines, WA

Highline Community College, 2400 S 240th St, Des Moines, WA 98198-9800. Highline Community College is a medium sized college located in Des Moines, Washington. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 6,267 students. Highline Community College has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Tourism and Travel Services Management which graduated nine and ten students respectively in 2008.

Edmonds Community College - Lynnwood, WA

Edmonds Community College, 20000 68th Ave W, Lynnwood, WA 98036-5912. Edmonds Community College is a medium sized college located in Lynnwood, Washington. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 7,823 students. Edmonds Community College has a less than one year program in Tourism and Travel Services Management which graduated five students in 2008.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Seattle, Washington

Seattle, Washington
Seattle, Washington photo by Dschwen

Seattle is located in King County, Washington. It has a population of over 598,541, which has grown by 6.2% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Seattle, 126, is far greater than the national average. New single-family homes in Seattle are valued at $206,700 on average, which is well below the state average. In 2008, five hundred ninety-five new homes were built in Seattle, down from seven hundred seventy-five the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Seattle are health care, professional, scientific, and technical services, and educational services. For men, it is professional, scientific, and technical services, construction, and educational services. The average commute to work is about 25 minutes. More than 47.2% of Seattle residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 17.3%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Seattle is 7.8%, which is less than Washington's average of 8.7%.

The percentage of Seattle residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 37.3%, is less than the national average but more than the state average. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the LDS (Mormon) Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Seattle is home to the Berth 5 and the Akli Point Lighthouse as well as Lincoln Park and Myrtle Edwards Park. Shopping centers in the area include Lake City Shopping Center, Westwood Village Shopping Center and Oak Tree Village Shopping Center. Visitors to Seattle can choose from A-1 Motel, Arlington Suites and Marriott Sea-Tac Airport for temporary stays in the area.