Join the Guild - Tour Guide Membership

Applying as a Guild Tour Guide is a three-step process.


1. Become a DC Licensed Tour Guide


You must obtain a DC Tour Guide License from the DC Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs, Occupational and Professional Licensing Administration by clicking here.

2. Apply Online for Guild Membership and Pay Dues


The application process must be completed in one sitting -- once you start the application process, you cannot leave the website and return to the site because your application is not saved.  Applications for membership are reviewed at Board of Directors meetings, generally held the first Monday of the month.  NOTE: The Guild Board does NOT meet nor review new member applications during the busy tour season April through June.


Do not begin the application process until you have the following scanned documents that you can upload:

  • DC Tour Guide License
  • 3 Letters of Recommendation (must be combined into one document)
  • Current Resume

You must also be ready to pay the required yearly dues at the time you submit your application.


Note: Reference letters must be signed, dated, and written by someone who has first-hand knowledge of the applicants’ skills as a guide (e.g., personal knowledge and direct observation and not what someone else has told them). Examples of good letters of reference include: (1) if the applicant took a course in guiding, a reference letter from the instructor describing the applicants’ skills first hand; (2) if the applicant has some guiding experience, a reference letter from the employer on business letterhead; (3) if a seasoned guide has observed the applicant guiding a tour group, a reference letter from the seasoned guide describing the applicants’ speaking and people skills; and (4) if the applicant has no guiding experience and has not taken courses in guiding, a reference letter from a former employer on business letterhead describing the applicants’ speaking and people skills.


Apply for Guild Membership


3. Pass the Guild Tour Guide Exam


After steps 1 and 2 above have been completed, your Guild application will be reviewed by one of the Co-Chairs of the Guild’s Membership Committee (Barbara Longnecker and Debra Wiley). The Membership Committee will contact you and, if your application is complete, you will be provided with a link to the Guild’s study guide, “Resource Handbook for Guild Guide Candidates." This study guide is provided free of charge and will help you in preparing for the Guild test. You will also be given the name and email address of our Test Administrator (if your application is incomplete, the Membership Committee will advise you).

Once you have reviewed the study guide and are ready to take the exam, contact our Test Administrator, who will email you the link to the online exam and provide instructions for taking the exam. You have one hour to complete the exam from the time you begin. Results will be emailed to you and the Membership Committee Co-Chairs.

After passing the exam*, your Membership Application will be presented to the Guild Board of Directors. Applications must be submitted online by the 20th of the month (June-February) to be reviewed by Membership Co-Chairs for presentation at the next month’s Board of Directors meeting. Incomplete application packages will not be considered. (* If your first attempt taking the exam is unsuccessful, there is a required 30-day interval between retaking the exam to allow for additional study and review. You may only take the exam three times within a one-year period.)

Membership Dues are pro-rated depending on the month you join. Membership Dues for one full year January - December is currently $90. Guides approved for membership in February pay dues of $80; March dues $70; July dues $60; August dues $50; September dues $40; October dues $30; November dues $20; December dues $10 plus the following year's dues.

The Guild Board of Directors considers applications for membership at their monthly meetings held January through March and again at their monthly meetings held July through December. The Board does not meet after the first Monday in March through June which is "high tour season” and no applications for membership are reviewed during that time. If your application package is to be considered for the July Board meeting, Membership Co-Chairs request that you complete your application after June 1st of the current year using the procedures described above.

You can expect favorable consideration if your application package meets the criteria outlined above. Once the Board has acted on new member applications, acceptance notifications and membership materials are then sent to each approved applicant.

Questions concerning the application process should be directed as follows:
  • Last names beginning A – L: e-mail Debra Wiley or by phone 202-302-5701
  • Last names beginning M – Z: e-mail Barbara Longnecker or by phone 703-984-9193