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.

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

Certification Testing:
The certification testing process ensures San Diego Tour Guides share consistent history and facts about San Diego with visitors. After passing the written and oral tests, certified tour guides 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 and 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 tour guide work.

Certified Tour Guide:
Has passed all parts and sections of the written certification examination, which covers airport meet and 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.

Certification Testing Consists Of 3 Parts:

Written exam
Part 1: The written exam consists approximately 150-200 questions and typically takes 2-3 hours to complete. General members interested in taking the test must pay $50 for the test materials which consists of roughly 300 facts about San Diego history and attractions. The written test is not open book, but is based off of the test materials.

Oral Exam
Part 2: The oral exam consists of prospective guides giving a 10-15 minute oral tour presentations. Typically, this is done on a motor coach and prospective guides will be randomly assigned 10-15 minute segment(s) of a San Diego city tour. The tour route is shared in advance.

Training Tours
Part 3: Observation tours are required for the certification process and allows the prospective tour guide to observe and learn from different tour guides and companies. We will work with you on how to achieve this portion of the test 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.