How It Works

Our certification testing is typically offered twice a year, in June and December.  You must be a member of the San Diego Professional Tour Guide Association in order to take the exam.  For information on how to become a member, please view our Membership Information page or contact our membership secretary.

Note: This is also an optional refresher opportunity for current certified members.

For information on our certification testing, please read below or contact our certification committee chair.

Certification Testing:
The overall goal of our certification testing process is to ensure the top quality of our guides, so that we are giving our clients the service they expect and deserve. After passing the tests, certified members are eligible to receive all appropriate work leads and referrals generated by the San Diego Professional Tour Guide Association.

There are currently two levels of certification:
Accredited Hospitality Professional (AHP)
Certified Tour Guide (CTG)

The definition of each is as follows:
Accredited Hospitality Professional:
Meets all eligibility requirements and has passed Part I, Sections 1 – 3 of the certification examination pertaining to airport meet & greets, shuttles, dispatching, registration and hospitality desks, dine-around and guiding basics. Eligible to receive leads for airport work, dispatching, shuttles, hospitality desk, dine-a-rounds. AHP members are not eligible to receive leads for step-on tour guide work.

Certified Tour Guide:
Has passed all parts and sections of the written certification examination, which covers airport meet & greets, shuttles, dispatching, registration and hospitality desks, dine-a-rounds, guiding basics and tour information pertaining to San Diego city, San Diego county, Coronado, La Jolla, historical facts and attractions. Also has completed two training tour ride-alongs, as well as the oral (city tour) examination. CTGs are eligible to receive any and all work leads.

Certification Testing Consists Of 3 Parts:

Written exam
The written exam consists of two parts with approximately 150-200 questions. Typically the exam takes 2-3 hours to complete. It is not open book; however, guides will be sent a list of all potential questions (approximately 350 questions with answers) in advance for study purposes.

Oral Exam
As part of the certification process, prospective guides are required to give a 10-15 minute oral tour presentation. Typically we will charter a motor coach and guides will be assigned (in advance) a 10-15 minute segment of a San Diego city tour.

Training Tours
We require two ride-along training tours as part of the certification process. Those seeking qualification only are also required to complete two training sessions which can include a tour, airport arrivals, hotel departures or an event. Written documentation of participation is required and must be coordinated through our certification committee chair.  Please contact us for suggestions on how to best fulfill this requirement.

Guides will be given a pass/fail for both the written and oral portions of the exam.

Certification Test Fee:

Certification test fee is $50 per person. Up front, non-refundable payment is required. For more information, please e-mail our certification committee chair.

Certified Membership Renewal

Annual Fees: $75 individual members for initial year, $100 business members for initial year.  Subsequent renewal rates are lower. Membership term is from January to December of each year.

Certified guides who allow their membership to lapse for a length of time may be required to retake both the written and oral exams to regain their certification status, should they decide to rejoin the association at a later date. The final decision will be at the discretion of the board of directors and membership committee.