STGA Blue badge courseBlue Badge Guide Course: 2021-2023 Course


Course Update

We regret that 2021-23 has been cancelled.  The next course will run from 2022-2024. The information below relates to the planned 2021-23 course but still provides general information.

The STGA is the only accrediting body for qualified professional tourist guides in Scotland and we have over 60 years’ experience in this field. The Blue Badge Training Programme is accredited by the World Federation of Tourist Guide Associations (WFTGA) and is acknowledged internationally as being of the highest standard.

Read this information in conjunction with the Course Prospectus and the Key Dates and Fees sheet available to download below.


Blue Badge Training Programme

This course covers the whole of Scotland. Those who complete the course satisfactorily and pass the separate STGA Blue Badge Accreditation Examination will be work as Blue Badge guides throughout Scotland.

The course is delivered in partnership with the City of Glasgow College, one of the main advantages of this being that the college lectures are streamed, thereby reducing the need for travel to a central location.

Please note that the course, assessments, and final examination will all be in English. Students must be competent in understanding spoken and written English and have confident and fluent speaking skills.

Applicants who are competent in languages other than English and wish to guide in these languages are also welcomed.

The next Blue Badge Guide Course Sept 2021 – Mar 2023, will have registration in August 2021 and the Blue Badge exam in April 2023. (Cancelled)

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
  • are prepared to work substantial hours in the main tourist season (April-October)
  • have the time and resources to commit to an intensive 18-month course
  • can demonstrate the skills and attributes required of a professional tourist guide.


How do I apply for the next course?
All expressions of interest for the next course should go to
How much is the course?
The fee for the 2021-23 Blue Badge Course is likely to be in the region of £7,500.

  • This price includes a deposit 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.

(The STGA reserves the right to cancel the course and refund all fees paid, or to offer the course at a higher fee, if there are insufficient enrolments. If a student requires to leave the course, s/he must inform the Course Director in writing. Each case will be considered on merit and if work to date has been satisfactory a place on the next course, or deferment of the examination for a year, may be offered.)

The Recruitment Day includes individual presentations (prepared beforehand), written tasks, and group discussions.

Please note that not all applicants will progress through all stages. The course runs every year, so you will 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 September to June
    • classroom sessions, field trips and practical guiding activities on Saturdays and Sundays, once or twice a month
    • one week in October 2021 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.

These sessions take place in Glasgow, Edinburgh, or Linlithgow where possible.

Why do I have to pay the full fee upfront and why are there no refunds?
The Blue Badge Course is self-financing. It is based on known costs such as staff payments and venue hire and anticipated costs for expenditure on coach hire, hotel accommodation and stationery supplies.  These costs are divided by the number of places available. This means that the costs remain the same, even if someone withdraws from the Course.
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.

Soon after qualifying members are invited to a networking event. This is an opportunity to get direct contact with key players in the industry who use Blue Badge guides in Scotland.

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*.

*There is every expectation that tourist guiding will recover to normal levels from the coronavirus crisis.

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. This link shows the guide rates as of 2019 (these are approximate but give a guideline as what to expect).


Please note that this information was prepared during the restrictions imposed by the coronavirus outbreak and may be subject to change.