Work as a Tourist Guide in Germany

nemecWorking as a tourist guide can be a very exciting and fun job, particularly in a country such as Germany. There are many sites to visit. As a guide, you will be showing visitors, and giving them various information of sites. It could be a town, a city, places of interest, museums, galleries etc.

To find a tourist guide job in Germany, there are many different methods that you can use. The Internet is very popular for job hunting. Sites such as that of the Federal Employment Agency (http://jobboerse.arbeitsagentur.de.) could prove to be of interest. International Placement Services (www.zav.de.) can also provide opportunities particularly for those who do not yet live in Germany and are seeking to migrate to the country. You may want to look at various job portals on-line. If you live locally, there are newspapers, local employment agencies and job fairs, that could be interesting. Of interest are also, specifically for tourist guide jobs in Germany, websites such as that of the European Federation of Tourist Guide Association (www.feg-touristguides.com), and The German National Tourist Guide Association (www.bvgd.org), which have much information regarding tourist opportunities in Germany.

Education and courses

To work as a tourist guide in Germany, you do not need to have any formal education or qualification. Tourist guide is not a regulated profession in Germany, but having some educational background at least a secondary school degree can be very useful. Also, you will find that many agencies will require that you have obtained training and a certificate to practice as a tourist guide. The BVGD, an association which in co-operation with the EU have created a standard for training tourist guides, provide training and a certificate which is often required for opportunities as a tourist guide in Germany. With the training, you will receive a tourist guide ID card and certificate known as the BVGD – Certificate DIN EN 15565 which indicates that you are especially well-trained as a guide. The certificate is recognized by most countries in the EU . The necessary training to obtain the certificate includes:

  • Practical training

  • sustainable tourism course

  • course on guiding techniques

  • course on speech and communication

  • course on laws, taxes, and insurance for the tourist guide profession

  • assurance of quality

  • A final exam for the BVGD- Certificate DIN EN 15565

To be able to undertake such course, you can obtain more information from the BVGD website (www.bvgd.org) in Germany, or from a participating country.

Language knowledge

To work as a tourist guide in Germany, it is essential that you are fluent in German and have a very good command of English. The tourist guide profession requires people with diverse language skills. For example, knowledge of Japanese could land you an opportunity to guide visitors from Japan, but as a prerequisite, Germain and English is necessary.

Contracts, insurance, and taxes

Working as a tourist guide can vary depending on the season. Often, the peak season is during the summer period. Working hours will vary, it is highly probable that you work during the weekend, or even evening hours. On average, you might work 40 hours a week in peak season.

The BVGD has different models of written contracts used by tourist guide companies that form the basis for mutual co-operation between the two parties. The contract determines the type of collaboration and the delineation of the services and each parties obligations. It also regulates questions of payments and liabilities.

Members of the BVGD can obtain a comprehensive insurance package. Coverage include extensive professional liability insurance for all BVGD members such as damage to persons, objects, and the environment. You will also obtain additional information on the scope of the coverage from BVGD.

In Germany, it is considered that a person working as a tourist guide is self employed and independent, in many cases tax laws are often changed. The BVGD puts at the disposition for its members and any other interested persons a comprehensive brochure which is regularly updated know as “The Guide’s Little Guide through Taxes” which updates interested parties on tax laws. Also, seminars on law, taxes, and insurance are often provided for members of its organisation.

Typology of work and salaries

Working as a tourist guide you may find opportunities that could be diverse. In general tourist guides may be involved in activities such as:

  • Working at a single site such as in a castle or in a historic house guiding visitors throughout the premise and providing them information related to the place

  • Accompany visitors on tours to different locations of interest; that could include sightseeing tours, tours for special interest groups, or themed walks.

  • You may also find work as a driver guide taking groups of tourists on guided tours at places of interest in a car or minibus.

The average monthly salary in the tourism industry in Germany is of 2,500 Euro on a monthly basis or about Euro 6-15/hour

Job offers and interviews

To work as a tourist guide, you do not need to have any specific qualifications or any licence, but you will find it more convenient if you obtain a certificate as a professional tour guide from a tour guiding association like BVDG. You will also have higher chances for a job offer when you have skills such as:

  • Communication skills

  • Knowledge of one or more languages besides German and English. Languages such as Chinese, Russian, Japanese, French and Arabic, can be highly beneficial

  • Great interpersonal skills

  • Keen interest in certain subjects such as arts, history, and related subjects

  • Good time management skill, organisational skills, and tour planning skills

If you are a member of the European Union, you can work in Germany without the need of a work permit. Non-EU citizens must apply for entry requirements. Germany can often provide a visa that allows you to come to the country and search for employment for six months. Many people who seek to work as a tourist guide from international countries are exchange students seeking work experience during the summer season, particularly when they have studied in a field such as tourism or have studied a particular language. Being a tourist guide in Germany is a fun, rewarding and exciting job.

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I'm a professional blogger and journalist with an extensive experience in HR, co-founder of euspert.com, pinlanguage.com and biancolavoro.it. During my career I have also acquired experience in different fields working as a trade manager, responsible for logistics and event organizer. As a polyglot fluent in seven languages I had the opportunity to work as an interpreter and translator for important companies around the world.

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