Certified Tour Guide Test

The Chicago Tour-Guide Professionals Association (CTPA) Certified Tour Guide Test was developed by the founding Board of Directors of the CTPA. Passing the test requires fundamental knowledge of Chicago history, geography, transportation, museums, cultural attractions, landmark buildings, sculpture, neighborhoods and venues of interest to visitors-the kind of information given on a three-hour Chicago city highlights tour.

CTPA certification was designed as a "mastery" test, not a "qualification" test. The theory is that until one has worked as a guide for a period of time, it is not possible to know all the public desires to have presented during a city highlights tour. Therefore, in order to be eligible to take the test, the applicant must be a current CTPA member and have given their first tour at least one year prior to the Part I (written test) date.

There is no CTPA approved or authorized reading list or formal course of study. Individuals wanting to become guides may elect to participate in classes offered by local colleges; in tours organized by the Chicago Architecture Foundation, museums or sightseeing companies; or in training courses offered by individuals or companies based in the Chicago area or elsewhere. Of course it is also recommended that potential guides attend as many CTPA meetings as possible in order to take advantage of the educational components and networking possibilities. In most cases, tour guides learn their job through self-study, by observing others giving tours and on-the-job training.

In order to take the CTPA Certified Tour Guide Test, each applicant must:

Please note, CTPA Associate Member (company) owners who are active guides may take the test!

The test consists of three parts, which must be taken in order. Once you pass one section, you may take the next section. Part I is the Written Test, consisting of multiple choice, true or false, fill-in-the-blank, and matching questions. One must answer 80% of the total points correct to pass. Part II is the Slide Identification, consisting of ten slides. One must correctly identify and give detailed, accurate commentary for two to three minutes for eight out of the ten slides. Part III is Routing. The guide must correctly give directions between various points of the city without consulting a map. The directions must use the streets correctly and be accurate two out of three times.

Further notes about each section can be found below.

Part 1 - Written Test

Part 2 - Slide Identification

Part 3 - The Routing

A List of Recommended Certification Study Topics Can Be Found Here