Certifications Information

Certifications Information


The APT Certification written exam, based mainly on information in the Tour Guides Handbook, covers information about the history, people and places of importance in  Philadelphia. It tests knowledge of the basic facts about the city that any guide should know to give solid, professional tours of both the Historic District and Center City. The first Certification Examination took place at the Christ Church Neighborhood House on April 12, 2011 and 29 examinees passed. As of January, 2018, APT has certified 174 Philadelphia tour guides.



The 2018 Certification Examination will be held on Wednesday Evening, April 11, from 4:30 pm to 6:30 pm.

Any questions or concerns?   Contact APT President Ed Mauger at philaonfoot@gmail.com

●  Part I of the exam, based mainly on the content of the Handbook, consists of 90 ‘objective’ questions to test basic knowledge of important Philadelphia people and places. Careful – some are tricky.  At least 60% of the exam deals with the Historic District.

●  Part II consists of 4 visual identifications, each worth 5 points.  Here, you are asked to identify the site or person pictured in the photograph and briefly identify its significance and mention the persons, facts or events associated with it.  Hint, be prepared to identify the right buildings. For instance, some have trouble contrasting Old City Hall, Congress Hall and Carpenters Hall.  Even if you do a great job on the wrong building, you can’t get the full 5 points.

– Part III:  Beginning in 2018, this will consist of one single question worth 10 points drawn from the presentations given during the intensive March 3 & 4 weekend program at the Hill-Physick House.  Check your notes – each presenter provided interesting and illuminating background themes and information on the development of Philadelphia.  This will be an open-ended question.


90 questions                               1 point apiece                       90 points

4 site identifications                    5 points apiece                     20 points

1 Background Look at the City     10 points                              10 points

TOTAL      120 points


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



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

–  Those members who pass the exam will be recognized in our online directory  and will be awarded an APT Certification pin.
–  We will not make individual test scores public.
–  Those who do not pass may re-test free of charge at a later date.

Click here to download a sample of certification exam questions.


The Exam:

If you’re interested in taking the next Exam Certification Exam, please contact Ed Mauger, President, APT.  You’ll be notified of the next scheduled exam date.

You must pay the test fee ($35 for members, $50 for non-members) at the APTStore webpage.  Notify Ed Mauger, APT President, at philaonfoot@gmail.com

APT hosts several certification exams during the year and also arranges exam sessions whenever there is enough demand. Watch this page and the APT home page for notifications.


The Education and Certification Committee has launched a four step Philadelphia 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. Many of you who’ve been guiding for a number of years will find that you’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 APTStore or via check at any APT meeting.

The Program will be overseen by a three member Panel, consisting of Sheila McLaughlin, Sara Richardson and Bob Skiba.

There are three Master Guide Candidates so far for 2017:

● Steve Maurer
● Toni Levitt
● Ed Mauger

Please contact the Master Guide Panel at masterguidepanel@phillyguides.org for more information or to apply. There is also an information packet available for download below.




  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, here.

●  Applicant must have achieved a grade of at least 100 out of 120 on the Basic Certification Exam. (APT members who have done so are listed on our Member Directory page here with a CTG followed by an asterisk: CTG*.  Certified guides who have not achieved a score of 100 may re-take the basic 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 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 earned points will be self-reported to the Philadelphia Master Guides (PMG) Panel, and subject to its review and approval.

●  The applicant will be listed on the APT website as a PMG candidate.


●  The applicant must successfully complete a thorough written examination. This exam will assess the candidate’s mastery of tour subject(s) 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 the three member PMG Panel. The panel for 2018 includes Certified Master Guide Sheila McLaughlin, Education Committee Member Sara Richardson and Past APT president Bob Skiba.

●  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 PMG Panel, APT Certified Master Guides or an industry representative from outside APT.

Industry representatives for 2018 included:

Margaret M. Biddle – Director, Landmarks Road Scholar Program


Christina Cassidy – Tourism Communications Coordinator at the Philadelphia Convention and visitors Bureau


Andy Maunder – Owner, Awfully Nice Tours


Cara Schneider – Media Relations Director at Visit Philadelphia


Donna Schorr – Director of Communications, Visit Philadelphia

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

●  The fee for this review is $50.