Three guests kayak at sunset at Honey Creek Resort

Central Iowa Tourism & Iowa Group Travel Guide Training & Certification

Become a Certified Professional Guide at our workshop on March 25, 2020!

Download the registration form (PDF - requires Adobe® Reader®)

Who Should Attend

This program is specifically designed for staff and volunteers who lead guided programs at Iowa's diverse community tourism assets, including, but not limited to, museums, parks and conservation areas, historic sites, science centers, agritourism and other tourism related attractions.

The program has two separate elements:

A one-day workshop filled with interactive methods & techniques for creating and delivering dynamic guided programs. The workshop includes:
  • Tips and best practices for all audiences, with a focus on guiding adult visitors, including the unique needs of motorcoach and other travel groups.
  • The course workbook, all workshop activities, lunch and refreshments.
  • Diane Van Wyngarden, Tourism Specialist for Iowa State University and a nationally certified interpretive guide, who teaches and coaches professional guiding at the national level will lead our workshop.

All individuals completing the workshop have the optional opportunity to receive Professional Guide Certification from Iowa State University.

  • Certification is an additional fee (see below for more information).
  • Indicate your interest in pursuing the coaching/certification on the registration form (PDF - requires Adobe® Reader®)

Workshop Locations and Schedule

Choose the date/location that works best for you:

  • Wednesday, March 25 - Honey Creek Resort (register by March 13)
  • Thursday, April 2 - Pella Opera House (register by March 23)
  • Thursday, April 30 - Iowa Gold Star Military Museum* (register by April 17)
    • *Iowa Gold Star Military Museum is located at Camp Dodge in Johnston. A driver's license or state issued ID is required to enter Camp Dodge. More information will be provided for those registering for this workshop.

Workshop Schedule

  • Registration: 9:30 AM - 10:00 AM
  • Workshop: 10:00 AM - 3:00 PM
  • There will be an IGTA (Iowa Group Travel Association) Meeting from 9:00-9:30 before the April 30 workshop in Johnston


Reasons to become a Certified Professional Guide

  • Public recognition of your work
  • Statewide promotion for your organization
  • Gain confidence about your skills
  • Exchange ideas with another guide who does what you do
  • Generate new tools for your programs
  • Renew the passion for your subject
  • Find solutions to your program challenges
  • Prove that volunteers can be Professional Guides
  • Professional credentials for job opportunities

What Do I Need To Do

Certification is an optional opportunity for individuals who have completed the training workshop.

Your one-hour certification &coaching session will be held at your place of work (or Iowa location of your choosing). Certification is an additional fee ($100), and those who sign up at the workshop are eligible for a reduced rate of $50. Bring your calendar to the workshop for scheduling. Some restrictions apply for the $50 reduced rate. Please contact the CITR office at 800-285-5842 with questions.

Your certification session begins with what you do - conducting a program with visitors to your site. During this time, the certification coach will be just another member of your audience. If your session is held when there are no visitors, you may conduct your program for only the coach.

Prior to beginning your session, select the reasons why you wish to complete certification (listed above); and share these with the coach, plus anything else you would like to discuss about your programs. The best length of time for the coach to observe your program ranges from 20-45 minutes. Indicate when signing up if your program length must be outside that time span.

You will meet privately for a discussion with the coach after your program. Your guided program plus private coaching session can total up to one hour in length. You will achieve Professional Guide certification from Iowa State University upon completion of both the one-day training workshop and your one-hour certification coaching session.

Your Certified Professional Guide credentials include a certificate and news release from Iowa State University, and your name will be listed on Iowa State University's Professional Guide certification website. You may also choose to include your attraction/organization with your public recognition and website listing.