Tour Director & Guide Certification Program
Welcome to TripSchool! We offer both tour director certification and tour guide training, online and out in the world. If you’re looking for a tour management institute or guide academy, we are the most innovative training program out there: we were the first to offer online courses, intensive destination training programs, online profiles, and an online tour company database. We’re all about getting you ready to lead tours in the 21st century in an immersive, practical, real-world training, which is unlike any other one out there.
“You can’t get a better TD education — any location on the planet — than from TripSchool, hands down. There’s simply no comparison with TripSchool. None!”
A three-step process.
If you’re new to the industry, this is where you start. It takes a minimum of 10 days to complete, but you can do it at your own pace. We’ll cover all the essential terminology and concepts behind tour directing, rather than having you sit in a classroom to hear it.
Enroll any time!
6-day intensive Boot Camp
This is where your online work turns real. Six long and intense days of applying what you learned to the field. If you’re already trained elsewhere, this boot camp will teach you new tricks and whip you into shape!
Next Class: September 14-19, 2020 – Albuquerque/Santa Fe, NM
Work and Mentorship
We don’t leave you after the in-person training. You’ll be mentored and welcomed to the TripSchool family, which offers continued education, plus an online forum that is a really community.
If you’re new, you’ll start online.
We’re the first in the industry to offer the flexibility of beginning with online learning. While it’s not designed to replace in-person learning and mentorship, it does give you the freedom to learn a base of material at your own pace, on your own schedule. You’ll then come to our in-person intensive Boot Camp prepared and ready to put that knowledge into action.
Boot Camp is for everyone looking for a guiding workout!
Boot Camp brings together the best of all the different classes we teach. For six days we put you through the ringer! In a small class, we’ll focus on workshopping the practical skills you need to succeed. We’ll bring in a range of experts, and focus on new skills and techniques that will put you ahead of the rest, from Day 1.
► Next sessions are listed at the top of the page!
Practical and Intense Workshops
The days are long, and the work is all hands-on and intense. We’ll use our time together to take the skills you learned about online and bring them into the real world, in small group, practical sessions designed to make you tour-ready.
Motor Coach Training
The bus is a basic tools of the trade, and often the main way you’ll communicate to your guests. We’ll help you learn to deliver great material and activities to make the time on the road a valuable part of the travel experience, plus cover fun stuff like bag pulls, seating rotations, parking and navigating.
Let’s be clear: storytelling is everything. It’s the art and skill of knowing how to deliver material in a way that makes a place come alive. Knowing how to begin, where to go, and when to end. Our methods are our pride and joy, and we share them with you on our trainings, to put you above the rest.
Walking Tour Training
Learning how to lead a group through the streets, and project and lead confidently, are some of the most essential skills you’ll need in this business. We’ll work with you to make sure you can handle these situations confidently, and share our methods for making your walks engaging for everyone, no matter the age.
We are the leaders in using new technologies to enhance your tours. Technology has shaped what guests want out of a travel experience and you should master all aspects of it to best prepare for your trips. We’ll teach you best practices when using web and phone apps to collect and map your research, and implementing the use of tablets, wireless printers, custom movies, and A/V coach hookups to deliver an incredibly rich travel experience.
Itineraries & Logistics
We’ll help you learn the best strategies for understanding the nuts-and-bolts of how to prepare your tour routes while finding ways to wow your groups with special stops along the way. Learning how to get it all organized and timed correctly is the foundation of the job.
Everything we do comes down to what we call “wow” moments. It’s the parts of a trip that guests talk about once back home. Your preparation, storytelling ability, and real understanding of the places where you are leading trips all combine together to give you the ability to create incredibly unforgettable, unique experiences for your clients. In today’s travel market, this is what groups crave.
Working with 8th-12th graders is a staple in this industry, and not something to pass your time with, but a passionate pursuit that many tour directors never give up. It’s the possibility of changing young lives by inspiring them with experiences that will shape the choices they make for their future. Leading student tours requires special skills, and we bring in expert school teachers to tell you what they love and don’t love in a tour director.
After the program
Graduate Support & Work
Once you’ve completed your training program, you’ll be incredibly well-equipped for leading your first tours, have a fantastic resume, profile and head shot, and be part of the TripSchool family. But the process doesn’t stop there. We’ll stay in touch with you regularly as we help you navigate the interview and application processes of companies you’re interested in. Our team will work with you to find the right companies, and get you through your first tours.
We give you modern tools to excel in this career.
IATDG Conference & Membership
As part of your program fee, we offer you free membership for your first year with our partner, the International Association of Tour Directors and Guides. Their large annual conference is the best place to get seen by dozens of tour companies, and get hired quickly. Membership includes job offers, a members forum, and profile that tour operators are constantly consulting.
Your TripSchool Profile
We’re the only certification program that also offers you an online profile, hosted by us, that you can use to show tour operators who you are, in a way that expresses your personality. Tour companies love it!
Exclusive TripSchool Job Offers
We work with tour operators to place you directly on tours and in companies that know and love our grads, and who are always looking for new tour directors. We vouch for you, and help give you personal connections to excel quickly in the job.
Online Tour Operator Directory
Through our networking, experience and alumni, we’ve assembled the only online directory in the industry of hundreds of tour operators that you can use to research and contact for potential jobs.
The Resource Portal
Our resource portal is constantly growing and contains valuable information for quick reference. From logistics to contacts, you will have access to the information you need online!
The Private Facebook Forum
This is where you’ll most readily feel the family love! We have an incredibly supportive and nurturing community that encourages you, and where you can ask all sorts of questions about the career. No tour operator is allowed on the forum, so your privacy is guaranteed.
The TripSchool Resume & Headshot
We’ve invented a new way to present yourself to tour operators, and they love it. It stands for everything we’re about: it’s bold, honest, fresh and innovative. The TripSchool resume is unlike any of the other, older models, and makes a clear statement about who you are as a tour director.
We’ll also make sure you have a free, professional-quality headshot to use, that shows you as you are, active and out in the world. We’ll also take photos and videos of you in action, while leading the training group.
TripSchool teaches you how to engage people, peak their interest, keep them listening without boring them. Their techniques put us ahead of the pack, and their talented staff is always willing to share their knowledge so we can all succeed beyond expectations. Anyone looking into this business and wanting to shine should not hesitate to take the course. I wouldn’t be the TD I am today without TripSchool. Having applied their lessons, I’ve already received stellar feedback!
Once you are an official graduate, they don’t drop from your radar. They stay in contact, keep you updated with what’s new in the business, give you job leads and assist in preparing for your tours. They truly care about your success!
Who is teaching you?
Mitch is an internationally recognized travel speaker, trainer, tour director, and author of four guidebooks. He’s been the keynote speaker at leading international travel conferences, consults privately for leading tour companies around the world, runs his own tour company and has been a tour director for 18 years.
Alan has worked in every imaginable sector of the travel industry, and knows the ropes better than anyone. He’s been a travel agent, flights coordinator, tour operator, and a tour director across the United States and Canada for over 20 years. He is at home equally in the wilderness of the Canadian Rockies and the busyness of New York City. He understands the tour industry better than anyone.
Special Guest Instructors
Joining Mitch and Alan are a rotating crop of industry experts, ranging from newer tour directors sharing their experience, to school teachers offering their feedback on what makes a great student tour director. The end result is giving you an understanding from industry experts what’s expected in this career.
Why we’re different
Our Total Training Package
Online Fundamentals Course (if you’re new)
6 days of in-person Boot Camp (not including lodging)
Admission costs to museums, attractions and sights
Motor coach training (including technology)
Online materials available only to graduates of this program, and for the lifespan of your career.
Boot Camp Welcome Drink, Farewell Dinner and “wow moment” food
Your own personal Enhanced TD Profile Page, used by tour operators looking to hire new tour directors and guides.
Career coaching, and referrals to tour operators across North America and Europe
Access to our Online Tour Operator Directory
Professional Headshot + business card and resume design
Things to know
Flights are not included in the training price. Once we’ve confirmed your place in the training, we’ll send you information for booking your flights.
Lodging is also not included, however we will help pair you up with a roommate to keep the cost down.
You can cancel your enrollment at any time up to 30 days prior, for a full refund, minus the deposit. The online course is non-refundable. Due to the covid-19 crisis, if we have to cancel a class, we will offer you a 100% refund.
Before you proceed, please take a moment to read our full terms and conditions to learn more about our booking policies.
$200 deposit today to secure your spot
Six-Day In-Person Boot Camp (For Everyone)
(new tour directors must add $399 for online course, Fundamentals of Tour Directing)
Ready to dive in?
This is an intense class. If you have any questions about how it works, what’s included, or you’d like to speak with a former participant, we’re always happy to help you make the best decision!
Frequently Asked Questions
TripSchool was founded by veteran tour directors Mitch Bach and Alan Armijo, after nearly 40 combined years in the travel industry. Together they’ve worked in every sector of the travel industry, and after so many years in the profession they’ve learned the techniques to become an exceptional tour director that engages with today’s tour guests, and today’s travel landscape. We’re known for wowing groups with our knowledge of not only what’s expected, but also the special spots and ways of telling stories that make you look like a superstar, from your first tour.
Because TripSchool’s instructors all learned their craft on the road, we’ve structured our certification program to be entirely a small group, practical workshop. To save you money and time, we’ve placed the classroom learning on an online course, to make every minute we spend together about working with you to become a master tour director.
Absolutely not, by design. The “school” in our name refers to what we feel is a second-to-none practical learning experience. This is not an industry that requires you to have an accredited certificate from a particular state’s Department of Continuing Education in order to practice the craft of tour directing. We’ve chosen to not pursue accreditation because it boxes you into educational curriculum requirements that we do not feel align with the skills that you really need to be a successful tour director. Classroom spaces and accreditation are expensive and instead of transferring that cost to our courses, we’ve chosen to focus the investment that you make on immersive learning experiences that occur out in the world. We pride ourselves on providing a boots-on-the-ground training experience that gives you the skills and confidence you need to ace your tours.
Absolutely not. Companies want to see people who are motivated and committed to becoming a tour director, and not someone who is just dipping their toes in the waters to see if it’s for them. We created our online course to allow you to see if this is right for you, before taking our class. You absolutely do not need to take our, or anyone’s certification class to become a tour director. All companies hire people every year without a training certificate; however, attending a training program shows that you’re willing to put “skin in the game” by investing time and money in the industry. Instead of authorizing you to be a tour director, a training program sets you up for success, and gives you contacts and a network to help you through your entire career. We believe we do it in a better, more innovative way than everyone else.
Storytelling, “wow” moments, and technology are staples of the TripSchool training experience. Our industry has changed a lot with the ease and access of the internet through technology. Almost all of our guests have cell phones or tablets which means they have a lot of the same resources at their fingertips that you do as a tour director. A guest has more information going into a tour now than they ever have in the past, and they have high expectations. Chances are that many of them have even done some research about the tour and top destinations before ever leaving home. So, how do you stand out and shine?
Our tour directing philosophy is grounded in our belief that storytelling, “wow” moments, and technology can transform an already great tour into an unforgettable experience. Guests expect more than just the basic facts that tour directing used to be centered around, they want stories that bring a place to life, and they want a story to take home to their family and friends. We teach you how to do this through practicing storytelling in our trainings, by teaching you how to discover and create your own “wow” moments, and teaching you how you can use technology to completely transform your tour directing game.
The TripSchool Team prides themselves on their well-established connections with a variety of Tour Operators in the industry. Through combined decades of working in the industry, the TripSchool Team has learned what Tour Operators are looking for in the Tour Directors that get hired. These close, well-established connections mean that the Tour Operators often reach out to the TripSchool Team looking for graduates to fill open tours. Which means that as a graduate, you’ll have access to exclusive Job Alerts! The TripSchool Team is often a first stop for Tour Operators, which means that TripSchool graduates will be the first to hear about different openings and available tours. In addition to receiving Job Alerts, the TripSchool Team will vouch for TripSchool graduates and recommend graduates to Tour Operators. This means more work for you! Similarly, fellow TripSchoolers will use the TripSchool Grads Facebook Group to reach out to fellow graduates when one of their companies is looking for a well-trained Tour Director to take a tour.
Access to the exclusive TripSchool Resource Portal
Once you successfully complete a TripSchool Intensive Destination Training course, you’ll have access to the alumni-exclusive TripSchool Resource Portal. When you log into your account on the TripSchool webpage, you’ll find your Portal access under the Account tab. Every TripSchool alumni will have access to the General Topics & Tips section, that includes your access to create a Graduate Profile for Tour Operators. In addition to the General Topics & Tips section, you will have access to exclusive information covered throughout your Intensive Destination Training course for the city that you have trained in with TripSchool. For example, if you completed the Boston module on Megatraining or the Boston extension course, you will see access to the Boston information section on the Resource Portal. As you complete more Intensive Destination Trainings, you will gain access to each section that corresponds with the training that you have completed. Please note that each new Resource Portal destination section is released after training so that the most up-to-date information is at your fingertips.
Option to create a TripSchool Graduate Profile for Tour Operators
Through the TripSchool Resource Portal, all graduates will have the option to create a Graduate Profile exclusively for Tour Operators to view. Graduates can currently add their personal information, links to a personal website or online video, upload a resume, upload a photo, select the TripSchool Intensive Destination Trainings that have been completed, provide gateway city information, and can also select cities where you can stay for free. All of this information helps Tour Operators decide if a particular graduate will be a good fit for their needs based on Destination Training experience, gateway city location, experience, and more! This feature is only available to TripSchool graduates and is only accessible by the Tour Operators that the TripSchool Team has worked hard to cultivate close working relationships with throughout many years in the industry.
Access to the private TripSchool Grads Facebook Group
Facebook Groups are exceptional resources for people in the tourism industry. There are many different Facebook Groups available to tour directors and tour guides; however, none are quite like the private TripSchool Grads Facebook Group. The TripSchool Grads Facebook Group is only accessible to those who have successfully completed a TripSchool Intensive Destination Training course. After training has ended, each graduate will be invited to join the TripSchool Grads Facebook Group. This forum fosters an open, safe, and welcoming environment for graduates of all skill levels to ask questions related to the industry. Whether you need to know about an updated security procedure at a specific sight you are taking a group to, or you need suggestions of places to take your 3-bus move to lunch between New York City and Washington D.C., you can always get an answer from fellow TripSchoolers in this group. The TripSchool Facebook Group is a positive force of encouragement throughout the year. Graduates often feel compelled to share good news (perhaps being hired by a dream Tour Operator) and graduates also love posting “Quack Alert” photo updates when they run into fellow TripSchoolers while on tour!
Assistance from the TripSchool Team
TripSchool co-founders, Alan Armijo & Mitch Bach, are the foundation of TripSchool and they work hard to help out graduates when they need it. If you have a question that cannot be answered through any of the numerous resources provided by the TripSchool Team, you are always welcome to reach out to Alan, Mitch, Ashley, or Alyssa directly via e-mail.
Absolutely! The entire TripSchool Team has unique relationships with a wide variety of Tour Operators in this industry.[These are the companies that I know we have grads working for – I’m sure there are more] ACIS, Adventures by Disney, AmeriCan Adventure Travel, BELO USA, Bob Rogers Travel, Brightspark Travel, Collette, Contiki, Destination America, Director’s Choice Tour & Travel, Eaglerider Tours, Educational Discovery Tours, Educational Travel Adventures, EF Explore America, EXP Trips, Explorica, Flamingo Educational Tours, Gate 1 Travel, Global Travel Alliance, Globus Family of Brands, Go Ahead Tours, Grand Classroom, Green Light Group Tours, Hemisphere Educational Travel, Joshua Expeditions, Jumpstreet Educational Tours, Kaleidoscope Adventures, Mid Atlantic Receptive Services (MARS), Newmarket Holidays, Onward, Road Scholar, SCENIC Luxury Cruising & Tours, Tauck, Travelsphere / Just You, WorldStrides, YMT Vacations.
Our students come from different generations, backgrounds, and walks of life. One of the unique things about this industry is that there is not age requirement to be an exceptional tour director – you’ve just got to be able to rise to the occasion and meet the mental and physical demands of the job. What is unique about our students is that they are inherently a notch above the rest. They take our training courses to better themselves and to help better the industry as a whole. They rise to the occasion and exceed expectations. Whether you are a new or seasoned tour director, our students are serious about the job, want to improve their skills, and want to “wow” their guests of all ages on tour. Our students are successful on their tours because they have made an investment in themselves by starting and/or continuing their tour director education with TripSchool.
Absolutely! In order to protect the privacy of our graduates, we do not post their personal information here. However, if you shoot an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org letting us know that you’d like to speak with a graduate we will be happy to connect you to one!
We are more than happy to answer any additional questions that you may have! Feel free to e-mail email@example.com with general questions about TripSchool. Because most of the TripSchool team are working tour directors, we ask that you please allow us 48 hours to respond.