Follow the steps below and you could be on the path to your dream travel career today!



We want this to be a great fit for you! If you’ve read the FAQ’s, and want to take the next step, fill out the application form below. There’s no cost and no obligation.

We want to learn about YOU. It’s important to us that this career path is the right one for you.



Our career counselors will reach out to you to make sure you have the information you need.

Our program isn’t your typical online “hands-off” course. Our instructors are with you every step of the way. We run our program like an online University course with lessons, assignments and instructor feedback.

Your success is our success.



If you are accepted into the program, you can get started right away!

You’ll start with the online self study portion of the Tour Guide Certification program and will meet some of our  instructors and your fellow classmates.

"I stumbled across the ITMI course after speaking with a very good friend who said his wife was traveling to India. While talking to him, I looked at the tour information and saw that there were professional Tour Directors leading the tour. What's a Tour Director I wondered. I immediately googled it and applied to ITMI the same day. I took the course a month later and within a few weeks of finishing the Tour Director course, I was offered my first job working for a luxury brand. This has changed the course of my life and I'm so much happier. It's the most fun job I've ever had!"
ITMI Certified Tour Director


We have students from all over the world taking the ITMI Certification Courses. They are all ages and come from all types of backgrounds. From teachers to executives. Event planners to science guys. People looking for a side hustle to those looking for a full-time job.

With an ITMI Certification, you’ll have the opportunity to set your own working schedule. You can travel the world and experience new cultures. Imagine getting paid to see the world and share your experiences and love of travel with others. The possibilities truly are endless!

ITMI has been teaching courses for over 46 years. We’ve learned a thing or two along the way and have structured our courses to ensure your success. Our International Tour Guide Course provides the foundation for so many career choices beyond being a Tour Guide. However, if you want to lead local tours, food tours, adventure tours or walking tours, this course will give you the tools to be highly successful.

If you dream of traveling further afield, in your own country or abroad, the Tour Guide course is a requirement for the next steps and provides you with the critical information and training you’ll need to start your career as a International Tour Director. 

We continually update our training to include the most current training methods and trends. We have been the premier International Tour Guide and Tour Director course provider since we began and we intend to stay there.

It’s possible that you could go through both the Tour Guide course and the Tour Director course in just over a month, working at least 15 hours a week. However, we do suggest that you do the courses in stages.

The Tour Guide Certification course has a self-study section called “Building Blocks to Travel” that will take you about 20 hours to complete. In addition to learning the materials, there are short assignments and quizes to submit.

Once you have completed Building Blocks, you’ll join an intensive LIVE instructor-led weekend class. This allows you to put the theoretical knowledge into pratice. The hours for this class are as follow:

  • Friday 4-6:30pm PST
  • Saturday 8am – 4pm PST
  • Sunday 8am -12pm PST

Once you have your Tour Guide Certification, you are ready to go out into the world with all the tools you need to succeed as a local Tour Guide.

If you wish to continue into  the Tour Director Certification course, you can begin immediately.

The self-study portion of the Tour Director course is called “Introduction to Tour Directing”. Like the Tour Guide course, you will have a self-study section and assignments to complete.

From there you move onto “Tour Director Essentials” where you go through the exact steps as if you have been assigned your first over the road tour. This section finishes with a LIVE instructor-led Weekend Class, with the same structure as above.

We have 3 payment options. 


  • One Time Payment of $1495
  • Two Monthly Payments of $829
  • Three Monthly Payments of $597



  • One Time Payment of $1895
  • Two Monthly Payments of $1049
  • Three Monthly Payments of $759



Purchase both courses at the same time and save $100 

It is an exciting time to be part of the travel industry. 

The desire for travel is at an all time high, with expected increases in spending across all types of travel. Tour Guides and Tour Directors are in extremely high demand with many of our graduates finding work BEFORE they have even finished the course. 

ITMI is the premier training institute for Tour Guides and Tour Directors  and our graduates are highly sought after by all the major tour operators. 

Great question!

Tour Guides generally work on a contract basis in their local areas, for a few hours at a time. They often earn $100 per hour PLUS gratuities for local step-on-guide work. Other types of tour compensation will vary from company to company. There are many opportunities to work as a local guide and expert.

Tour Directors conduct multi-day tours and their rate and type of pay will also vary. Tour Operators compensate their Tour Directors slightly differently. Some Tour Directors work as hourly employees. Some are indpendent contractors and are paid a daily rate. 

In addition to your base pay, you will generally receive a per diem amount to cover your costs; you may receive commissions on the sale of additional services and it is the industry standard to receive gratuities from your guests for a job well done.

The overall breakdown of compensation will vary from company to company, but generally speaking, you can cover the entire cost of your Tour Guide AND Tour Director Certification courses with a 2-week tour. In general, the overall compensation for that one tour, conservatively ranges from $4000 – $6000+. 

As if that wasn’t enough, your travel and accommodation is covered along with optional tours that could even include luxury train journeys, cruises or helicopter rides.

You set your own schedule, but most Tour Directors work between 60 to 120 days per year, while some choose to work as many as 250 days. The beauty of these jobs is that you truly do get to choose when you want to work.

Here are some things to consider.

Independent Contractor:

As an independent contractor, you have control over how many companies you decide to work for, and how often you work. You are paid a fee in the United States and receive a 1099 Form at the end of the year.

The choice you make will be anywhere from full time (250+ days per year), part time (75 – 100 days per year) or seasonal (2 weeks, 1 month or summer vacation). Companies will ask for your availability and try to provide tour offers that fit within your time frame and expertise. You can work for as many companies as you wish; the choice is yours! 


As an employee you usually cannot work for other tour companies except during the off-season.

You will receive a salary and employee benefits that may include sick time, workers’ compensation, and other extras such as an Employee Assistance Plan (EAP) for wellbeing, yearly meetings and training or shadow tours. All based on performance.

You have the flexibility to work different peak seasons. Fill your schedule leading student tours in the spring, multi-generational family tours in the summer and be cruising on international waterways in the fall or winter.

If you want more time at home with your friends and family, or have another job, you could do local city tours, walking food tours, a couple of multi-day tours…the possibilities are endless!

The short answer is “No”. However, a large percentage of our students have already been tour directors or guides. They have come to ITMI to increase their job opportunities, become more professional, learn new tips and tricks, learn how to become a better storyteller, work on their confidence and leadership, and join the join the largest international community of travel professionals in the world.

They leverage our relationships and increase their marketability with an International ITMI Certification.

Since ITMI began, tour companies have been hiring ITMI graduates because they have invested in themselves to be professionally trained, mentored and supported in their future growth and success. We are proud to say that many companies exclusively hire ITMI graduates.

The question you need to ask is really “Can this course help me get a job more easily so I can earn money faster than trying to go it alone?” The answer – a resounding “YES!”

Don’t be fooled by the small print on other sites. Our International Tour Guide and Tour Director courses are priced competitively and offer full online training with the highest standards in the industry. 

Not only do you get the most comprehensive training, you receive career counseling where we review your resume and give you some additional added bonuses. You get access to a list of over 100 domestic and international Tour Operators with links to their websites. Best of all, most tour directors earn back the cost of the full International Tour Guide and Tour Director courses in about two weeks of touring!

We know that the connection you share with your fellow students provides the basis for life-long friendships. Additionally, in order to provide you with individualized attention, our maximum class size is 14. 

ITMI not only trains you how to be a travel professional, we provide you with the training and insight to land a job quickly. In fact, many of our recent graduates find employment BEFORE finishing the course.

After you’ve completed the Tour Guide Certification Course, we have a bonus for you! You will gain access FREE OF CHARGE, to the “Career Launchpad” program. You will learn what to do to put your best foot forward; how to structure your resume; what type of introduction video works best and what kind of headshot works. We even review your resumes and videos, and give you some guidance on what types of tours might work best for you.

There’s one more Bonus in store for you. You will receive our list of 75 Tour Operators with links to their career pages. Given that the ITMI brand is recognized throughout the world and opens many doors to your brand new travel career!

ITMI’s annual Symposium conference held in November, puts you in front of hiring managers of the top Tour Operators., where you can interview with multiple companies in a single day. You will also have informal networking opportunites to connect with them on a more personal level. 

This is the industry’s largest gathering of tour directors, tour guides, tour operators, DMO’s, suppliers and industry leaders. You will reap the benefits of growing your portfolio by expanding your network, and destination knowledge, exploring specialized tours, educating yourself on industry trends, starting your own company, and finding both domestic and international job opportunities with key players in Travel and Tourism.

ITMI hosts a ‘Tour Guiding Jobs’ website, updated daily with dozens of jobs from all over the world. You will be sent a weekly email highlighting those opportunities. The website will help you discover thousands of exciting jobs with companies looking for professional tour guides, tour directors, tour leaders, travel directors, tour managers, travel leaders, adventure guides, tour escorts, cruise directors, lecturers, experience hosts and more.

Each day on tour is a new adventure and yes, sometimes things definitely go wrong!

Part of the ITMI training is helping you prepare for these moments. We talk about the resources that are available to you and how you can reach out in multiple ways. We brainstorm solutions in advance, so you have the confidence in your ability to problem solve, when you need to. Remember, you are not alone out there! The company you are working for will have policies and procedures in place to help provide aid when things do go wrong and most have an emergency contact person you can call.

That’s part of the adventure! People do get hurt; there are weather delays; and governments can shutdown. We give you the confidence that you, as the Tour Director, have the ability to make sure that the show does go on!M

Many people wonder if tour director and a tour guide are the same; the answer is no.

A Tour Director is responsible for leading a group 2 – 14 days or longer with the same guests.

The Tour Guide usually spends a few hours a day with a group delivering more detailed local storytelling commentary. The tour guides normally live in or near the city they are guiding. You could also be referred to as a Step-on-guide.

The Tour Director can be called several different names depending on the tour company. They may be called a Tour Manager, Tour Leader, Travel Leader, Travel Director, Course Leader, Adventure Guide, CEO (Chief Experience Officer), and a few companies still use the term Tour Escort. The job is the same whatever the title.

The Tour Operator employs the tour director or tour guide.

As long as you live within close proximity to a large airport (usually around 50 miles or 60
minutes) chances are you will not need to relocate to find success. Unless a company is
specifically looking for a guide they don’t have to position, most will fly you where you need to
go. Some may find however, that being near a popular tourism destination may provide
additional opportunities.

Tour Directors are able to balance their careers and their personal lives in a manner that few other jobs afford.

One of the attractive features about tour guiding and tour directing, is that it may actually complement your existing profession and become an integrated career. At ITMI we have found that over the years, many of our graduate have actually preferred to work on a part-time basis.

Which means you can work with a tour when your schedule permits, such as weekends or summer vacations. There are part-time gigs, full-time, seasonal – you name it. You’ll find no shortage of opportunities.

Don’t forget you can choose your assignments based on your interests: If you’re a history buff, love architecture, walking tours, wine and food, motorcycles, sports, agriculture the list is endless. With so many travelers desiring so many different types of niche and specialized tours, you will find an opening that will suits you to a tee.

We train Tour Guides and Tour Directors all over the world. Each culture has their own distinct set of rules to live by. We strongly believe that travel is the passport to peace in the world. By expanding our understanding and embracing the differences that make each person special, we can bring kindness and acceptance wherever we go.


30 Travel Careers eBook


Package Price: Sign up for both courses and save $100

ITMI Certification Courses



(Enrollment closes 2 weeks before the start of each class)

  • June 16 – 18
  • July 21 – 23
  • August 17 – 19
  • September 15 – 17


(Plus $150 Registration Fee)

Payment Options Available: 1, 2 or 3 Monthly Payments




Payment Options Available: 1, 2 or 3 Monthly Payments



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