Blue Badge Guide Course

What is the Blue Badge Course?

The Scottish Tourist Guides Association (STGA) offers a Blue Badge Training Programme for tourist guides in Scotland.

This course uses the latest standards and allows you to establish your own qualified Blue Badge Scottish tourist guide business after completion.

Blue Badge guides are qualified to guide Scotland-wide.

While anyone can set themselves up as a guide, many people actively already involved in guiding or are new to guiding join the courses. Applicants recognise the need for training and the recognition that a guiding qualification brings when working with tour operators.

Tour operators are aware of the training standards and will employ a trained qualified guide knowing that they will provide good guiding services and in turn will give visitors a quality experience.

STGA Blue badge course

What does the Blue Badge Course involve?

The 18-month STGA Blue Badge Training Programme is delivered in English through three integrated modules:

Core Knowledge
Regional Studies
Professional Skills

The delivery of these modules incorporates PowerPoint presentations, talks, seminars (delivered online and in class), group work, individual presentations, practical training on walks, sites and in moving vehicles, online resources, study away-days, written and practical assessments as well as ongoing feedback and discussion.

Students are expected to be self-driven and take responsibility for their learning. The minimum requirement for self-directed study for this course is 1200 to 1600 hours.

2025 - 2027 Blue Badge Course

The next STGA Blue Badge Training Programme will begin in Autumn 2025. Blue Badge guide course numbers are limited to a maximum of 36 who:

☞ are absolutely committed to a future career as a professional tourist guide in Scotland
☞ can demonstrate the skills and attributes required of a professional tourist guide
☞ have the time and resources to commit to an intensive 18-month course
☞ are prepared to work substantial hours in the main tourist season (April-October)

The STGA are now accepting expressions of interest for the 2025-27 Blue Badge Course. If you wish to express your interest in the course, please complete the form below.

how to spot an STGA guide


How much does the course cost?

The fee for the Blue Badge Course is likely to be in the region of  £7,500-£7,850:


  • This price includes a first payment of 10% which is required to be paid on accepting a place
  • As the course is completely self-funding, we regret there are no refunds if a student withdraws from the course/part of course/non-use of services provided


Please note that not all applicants will progress through all stages. You may have the opportunity to apply again if your application is unsuccessful at any stage, or you decide to delay your application.

What are the time commitments of the course?

Once offered a place on the course you will need to be available for the following classes:


  • streamed lectures from 6pm on Wednesdays
  • classroom sessions, field trips and practical guiding activities on Saturdays and Sundays, once or twice a month. These sessions take place in Central Scotland where possible, for example Glasgow, Edinburgh, or Linlithgow.
  • one week in October for seminars and away days to different locations
  • one week (with overnight stays) in July, when course activities will take place in different parts of the country.


Students must be prepared to commit a substantial amount of time to self study and preparation for assessments. 

Who will I work for?

Upon completion of the Blue Badge Guide Course and the Blue Badge exam, students become self-employed members of the STGA. Members of the Association get work via many different avenues including tour operators, Destination Management Companies (DMCs), shore excursions companies, and independent tourists.

How much work will I have?

Once qualified each guide is self employed. This means the amount an individual works as a guide is up to that individual. Tourism in Scotland is growing and there has not been any shortage of work in recent years. 

How much can I earn?

All STGA guides are self-employed members of the Association, it is up to each member to determine their own rates for the services they provide.


Our suggested guide rates can be found here.

Get in Touch

For all Blue Badge enquiries, please contact a member of our Training office team: