Getting your training course approved

If you want to train guides who will be awarded our prestigious Blue, Green, or White Badge, your training course must first be accredited by the Institute of Tourist Guiding.

  • The Institute of Tourist Guiding is the professional standards and qualifications body for tourist guides. It was formed in 2002 with the endorsement of the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, to set the highest possible standards for tourist guiding
  • The Institute awards Blue, Green and White Badge qualifications for tourist guiding in England, Northern Ireland and Jersey, and accredits the training courses and examinations that lead to those qualifications
  • As the Institute is the accrediting, standard-setting and examining body, it does not run the training courses itself. Training courses are run by training providers across the country
  • Any organisation/person can submit a training course to the Institute for accreditation. If the course is approved, the Institute undertakes to provide appropriate examinations for candidates wishing to gain the qualification.

  • All courses must have a Training Provider and a Course Director
  • A Training Provider might be, for example, a local authority, a local tourist guide association, or similar organisation. The British Guild of Tourist Guides is one such example
  • The Training Provider’s role is to approve and work with the Course Director and Administrator, to deliver the full course on budget, and to maintain a monitoring and advisory role. The Training Provider has ultimate financial responsibility for the course
  • The Course Director is responsible for overseeing the administration and day-to-day running of the course, and will usually appoint a Course Administrator to assist. This includes:
    • Maintaining student attendance records
    • Ensuring candidates are entered for examinations
    • Running the training programme in accordance with the course syllabus
    • Recruiting trainers, tutors, lecturers and mentors
    • Managing all financial dealings
    • Maintaining ongoing pastoral care for all trainees

Your first decision - Which qualification category is your course designed for?

The Institute recognises four types of qualification, referred to as Blue Badge, Green Badge, White Badge and an Endorsement.

For each guiding qualification, tourist guides will reach the same degree of guiding skill, knowledge and professionalism. The difference between the coloured badges relates to the extent and range of their area of qualification in terms of location and geography.

White Badge: For a single site, e.g. religious building, museum, zoo, art gallery, wildlife centre, historic house and garden, or a restricted single route tour, e.g. by boat, land-train

A White Badge course needs to have a minimum of 28 hours of contact time and will often run part-time over 2-3 months. It is assessed by a written paper and practical guiding exam on the site.

Green Badge: Walking tours in a town, countryside or defined area, including guided tours of town attractions, e.g. religious buildings, museum and sites

A Green Badge course needs to have a minimum of 80 hours of contact time and will often run part-time over 5-6 months. It is assessed by a written paper, a tour planning project and two practical guiding exams.

Blue Badge: Covering a wide geographical area or metropolitan area, including flexible tours of sites, towns and tours throughout the area from a vehicle, e.g. car, coach or train

A Blue Badge course needs to have a minimum of 600 hours which will be comprised of a minimum of 360 contact hours plus private research and learning. It will often run part-time over 12 months. It is assessed by 2 written papers, a tour planning project and at least four practical guiding exams

Recognised Course: A development course for existing Institute-qualified guides, leading to an Endorsement.

An Endorsement course needs to have a minimum of 20 hours contact time and will often run full time over a week or part-time over a longer period. It can be assessed by written exam, practical guiding exam or both.

Are you planning to run the course yourself?

YES - Check you meet the requirements laid down by the Accreditation Committee in the corresponding accreditation pack below.

NO - I don't want to run the course myself. If you require help with the design and delivery of your training course, please contact an Accredited Trainer. Please be aware the Trainer may charge for their time.

Please download the appropriate accreditation pack for detailed instructions on how to complete your application

Accreditation Fees - can be found in our accreditation fees document

Once your Training Programme is accredited the Accreditation is valid for FIVE years. Each time a course is run within the FIVE year period, it is necessary to apply for Course Re-Validation, for which you will need to include:

  • A description of the course with rationale and list of any changes
  • The application form (indicate re-accreditation)
  • Confirmation of the payment of the fee