The APT Certification written exam, based mainly on information in the Association of Philadelphia Tour Guides HANDBOOK, covers the history, people, and places of importance in Philadelphia. It tests knowledge of the basic facts about the city that any guide giving solid, professional tours of both the Historic District and Center City would know.

The purpose of the exam is to certify basic competency for anyone wishing to work as a Philadelphia city tour guide.

  • Those who pass the exam will be awarded an APT Certification pin.
  • Members who pass the exam will be recognized in the APT online directory.
  • Individual test scores are not made public.
  • Those who do not pass may re-test free of charge at a later date.

The first Certification exam took place at the Christ Church Neighborhood House on April 12, 2011, and 29 examinees passed. As of 2019, APT has certified 179 Philadelphia tour guides.

  • Part I of the exam, based mainly on the content of the Handbook, consists of 100 questions to test basic knowledge of important Philadelphia people and places. At least 60% of the exam deals with the Historic District.
  • Part II consists of 4 visual identifications, each worth 5 points. Here the task is to identify the site or person pictured in the photograph; briefly identify its significance; and mention the persons, facts, or events associated with it.


100 questions @ 1 point apiece = 100 points

4 site identifications @ 5 points apiece = 20 points

TOTAL = 120 points

The minimal passing score is 80 out of a possible 120 points (66% correct answers).

APT Exam Sample Questions

Those interested in taking the APT Certification exam should contact the APT President to be notified of the next scheduled exam date. The test fee ($35 for members, $50 for non-members) can be paid at the APT Store webpage. APT generally hosts an exam in the spring following the annual lecture series and also arranges other testing sessions when there is demand. Upcoming test dates will be announced here and on the Events page.

The next exam is scheduled for Saturday, December 4, at 10 am. It will be held at Philly’s Gourmet Steaks. Please contact APT President Judy Smith if you are interested in taking the exam on this date. 



APT currently offers a four-step APT Master Guide Certification Program. Below is an outline of the four steps, each of which should be completed before moving on to the next. The steps are designed to assess basic eligibility, professional achievements and service, mastery of subject matter, and field work ability. Those who have been guiding for a number of years may find that they’ve already accumulated the 200 points outlined in Step II. Applicants may take up to three years to complete all four steps. The entire fee for the certification is $150, spread over three $50 payments. All fees are payable on this site at the APT Store page or via check at any APT meeting.


  Applicant must be a member of the Association of Philadelphia Tour Guides (APT).

  Applicant must agree to abide by the Tour Guide’s Code of Ethics.

●  Applicant must have achieved a grade of at least 100 out of 120 on the APT Guide Certification exam. Certified guides who did not achieve a score of 100 may retake the exam at no extra cost.

●  Applicant must have completed a minimum of 100 field hours conducting tours.

●  Applicant must have been guiding for at least 3 years.

●  Applicant must complete the APT Master Guide Program application form and pay the $50 application fee.


●  The applicant must earn or have earned at least 200 points through relevant educational experiences, achievements, and/or service to the profession in the Greater Philadelphia region.

●  These points will be self-reported to the APT Master Guide panel, subject to its review and approval.


●  The applicant must successfully complete a thorough written examination. This exam will assess the candidate’s mastery of tour subjects as well as an understanding of tour guiding techniques and tour organization. The exam will feature comprehensive essay questions and must be completed in three hours. It will be graded by an APT Master Guide panel.

●  The fee for the examination is $50.


●  The applicant will be reviewed on tour by at least three people who may be drawn from members of the APT Master Guide panel, APT Certified Master Guides, or industry representatives from outside APT.

●  This field review will be scheduled in consultation with the candidate.

●  The fee for this review is $50.