You’ll be living the life of your dreams before you know it!


ITMI has spent the past two years perfecting an online tour director course that gives our graduates the same strong foundation as an in-person training program. Our primary goal is to provide you with the confidence and skills you need to excel as a Tour Director. 

Our online course has all of the ITMI hallmark touches; a connected community; assignment based training; practical application of concepts and instructors who are actively working as Tour Directors leading the way. 

Once you have your certification, our commitment to you doesn’t end there. We continue to invest in your success with our job board, recommendations and online hiring fairs. Tour Operators around the world recognize the value of an ITMI training program and know that our graduates make fantastic Tour Directors. 

Tour Director Course


FEB 3-5 , 2023

MAR 31-APR 2, 2023




Concert pianist, Olympic swimming finalist, game show contestant, fashion designer, practicing Los Angeles attorney, college student, history teacher, empty nester, Fortune 500 CEO, trapeze artist, retired police officer, minister, chef, film producer, gemologist, television producer, auctioneer, stockyard auctioneer and soap opera actress.

Answer: They are all professional tour directors and tour guides and graduates of ITMI.

It may appear that each of the jobs would be fulfilling in themselves. No matter what background people may have, there is a special bond shared by all, created by the desire to interact one-on-one with people from different cultures and countries from around the world.

Tour directors come from all walks of life!

Does this sound like you?

There is no denying that the travel industry was devastated by the 2020 covid pandemic. Travel in 2020 was set to surpass globally 8.9 trillion in GDP revenue, reached in 2019, but because of variants that did not happen.

As the pandemic ebbs, most indicators point to travel bouncing back. People have a strong pent-up desire to travel again, see new places, meet new people and reconnect with friends and family. Some travel professionals are calling this ‘revenge travel.’

It is an exciting time to be part of the travel industry. We have not experienced this many travel jobs, both on land and sea, since ITMI began! For you, this means more jobs than ever before.

Now is the perfect time to get trained and get started! Apply Now

ITMI not only trains you how to be a travel professional, we train you how to get a job.

The ITMI brand is recognized throughout the world.

Over three decades ago, ITMI was the first organization to revolutionize how tour directors and tour guides were interviewed for jobs by tour companies at the ITMI Annual Symposium.

In 2021, ITMI partnered with NTA (National Tour Association) to create the ITMI Symposium/NTA Travel Exchange.

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.

Download the TourTrack App  to receive instant job notifications and organize all your tour communication in one convenient place.

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.

Find out how to own your own business in our Tour Entrepreneur course.

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!

Great question!

Compensation statistics are gathered via our annual ITMI survey with tour operators and tour directors.

As tour guide or tour director you will be paid a fee or salary by your tour company. Gratuities are a major part of your compensation depending on a number considerations. Many people choose to work as a local guide for part of the year and then spend a few months traveling over the road. You can do both. 

Local tour guides normally receive a daily or hourly rate plus gratuities from guests. The average day rate for full or half-day tours can be from $30 – $100 per hour plus gratuities.

Tour directors, normally receive a daily rate plus gratuities and sometimes commissions.

Generally speaking, the overall compensation for a 2-week tour conservatively ranges from $4000 – $6000+.

Expenses Covered:

The majority of companies will cover the cost of airfare to the starting point of the tour, your own private room, and food while you are on a multi-day tour as a tour director.  For example, a company may give a credit card to pay for your meals, while others will provide you with a daily cash per diem allowance.

Tour Guides 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.

No. 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.

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!”

Most tour directors & tour guides earn back the cost of the course in two weeks of touring!

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Don’t just take our word for it.

The single biggest takeaway I've discovered throughout this course is just how vast the travel industry is, and the number of ways you can make a career within it. Working as part of MICE staff and filling my schedule working convention/incentive-type events, or similarly, working as a receptive operator full time or between other engagements.

Beth Richardson

It took me a long time, I had such fear and doubts about taking this course…but the instructors teach you through their own experience and I was so inspired by them. It’s so much easier to learn when it comes from people that have been there and share their wisdom


The day I read about ITMI and their travel director program, I felt a clear recognition and calling zing through my being. ITMI was the last bit I needed.. to continue on this ever-changing road to becoming a successful Travel Leader. Since graduating, I've landed travel jobs with 2 of the top tour companies! In 2021, I’ll be training and leading Riverboat Tours in Europe!






ITMI knows that hands-on training and in-person learning from leading industry experts are the top reasons behind our students’ success.


Tour Operators around the world recognize the extraordinary value of an ITMI graduate.  Our long-standing relationships with companies of all sizes and interests, help get you placed as quickly as possible so that you can stop dreaming about traveling to exotic destinations, and finally start living your dream.


Many leading tour operators only hire ITMI graduates because our courses provide the best hands-on experience and training in the industry. 


For 46 years our certified Tour Guides and Tour Directors have traveled the world, impacting thousands of lives in profound and unexpected ways. Most would say that they wish they had discovered ITMI a long time ago. That going through the Tour Guide and Tour Director Training Programs was a life-changing decision!


Your training instructors are all active tour directors and guides and will be your coaches and mentors throughout your training, both online and in-person.


ITMI Certified Tour Guides and Tour Directors generally see a return on their investment in just one 14-day tour.

In 2022, 100% of our Tour Director Graduates were hired, sometimes before the in-person training was finished.


Our prices include online training (Tour Guide and Tour Director) and in-person training costs, inclusive of hotels, breakfasts, a welcome reception and three days of on-coach practical training (In-Person Tour Director Training).


As a graduate of ITMI, you become part of the world’s largest network of professional tour guides and directors, industry partners and operators. 


A fulfilling life of excitement and wonder is just one decision away. Like so many others who took that first step, this really could be what you’ve been looking for.


Start Here. Change Your Life.