Welcome to The Guide School

Do you want to work as a Tourist Guide in Bergen and the Fjords of Norway? If so, this is the website for you. Study part time this winter/spring and start working as a guide in Bergen, Norway from May.
This website is the study portal for the guide training course which gives you the opportunity for distance learning at your own pace.


Admission for 2016 is now officially closed. Admission is open for 2017.

After passing the next scheduled exam in May 2016, you will start working as a tourist guide in Bergen. Apply by sending us your Europass CV and filling out the application form on this page.

Guideskolen.no (the guide school) is operated by Bergen By Expert, a leading tour and guide company in Norway and the largest independent guide supplier in Western Norway.

The course is a combination of lectures, practical exercises, assignments and self study. You can, to a large extent, study at your own pace and customise your course work allowing you to combine it with work or other studies.The Guide Course is leading to the certification Authorised Bergen Guide.

This page gives you a taste of what the guide course covers and how it is to work as a guide. If you are already a registered participant and have started the guide course, you will find the student portal by logging in at the top of this page. There, you will find the course material, tools for practical exercises etc.

Please feel free to contact us for more information. You can email us on kurs@guideskolen.no, visit our office at Teatergaten 19 (opening hours Monday–Friday 09.00–1500) or give us a call on phone no + 47 55706088.
Admission to the course


Admission
The minimum requirement is that you can speak at least one language fluently other than Norwegian, preferably a language such as German, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, English, Dutch, Polish or Russian. Other languages may also be relevant and it is an advantage if you speak multiple languages.
You can apply to the course at any time, and we enrol candidates to the course throughout the year. As soon as you get accepted to the course and pay the fee, you will have access to all the resources on this site and you will be ready to start.

Course Fee
The course fee is sponsored and the net sum you pay is NOK 4000*. This includes everything, also tests and examinations. Some textbooks are additional. The payment can be divided into instalments. *Scholarships available.

Application Procedure
Submit the form and send us your Europass CV as well. You must also submit a picture. We enrol candidates to the course throughout the year. Applicants will be accepted based on the application, CV and language(s) in question, and an interview will be held to test the language or languages in which you want to guide. Once you have submitted your application, we will contact you to arrange an interview.



The Course


Getting Started

You must be prepared to put a great deal of effort into the course work, but it offers a great opportunity to work in Bergen and the fjord area.
The basic course provides you with a solid knowledge of Norway's and Bergen's history, its culture and society. Furthermore, you will be trained in subjects such as presentation skills, customer care, cultural understanding and numerous other areas that together will enable you to perform the important role a guide has as host/hostess of Bergen and the Fjords.

The course is a combination of lectures, assignments, group work, practical exercises and self study. The course programme is flexible and organised with individual adjustments in order to give you the best possible chance of studying at your own pace. You can do a part of the course even if you are not in Bergen through our online training.


At the study portal www.guideskolen.no participants will find curriculum material, core literature, a detailed overview of the content of a sightseeing tour, practical exercises, control questions, test examples, a message board and much more to help you step-by-step through the course. You will have your own tutor throughout the course.

The course is divided into three stages:

Step 1 Learn The Facts
The first part of the course deals with the history of Bergen and Norway, as well as topics such as the school system, type of government, the economy, the social welfare system etc. Self study and evening lectures.There will be five lectures focused on the factual material. The lectures will take place Tuesday evenings in February and March. They are not obligatory and it is possible to do this part as self study. There will be a test for each subject.

Step 2 Attractions in Bergen
We study the attractions in Bergen, particularly those where you are required to be able to give a guided tour once the course is finished.  We visit some museums together and some you visit on your own. Course participants gain free entrance to the museums. There will be a test for the attractions.

Step 3 Practice Guiding
We go through a series of practical training tours by coach and city walks on foot, where you practise your guiding under the guidance of instructors. You will also get a DVD where an entire tour is filmed and you practise at home by adding commentary to the tour. The training tours by coach will take place in April and May. You are expected to attend some of these sessions, and distance students must therefore plan to stay in Bergen from the beginning of April and onwards.


What is Obligatory?

All tests, assignments, the museum training, coach tours, lectures and city walks are obligatory. Some tests are offered online.
The final exam, written and oral.

Basic Course/Supplementary Course

Optional supplementary topics may be taken along with the basic module or later on. The supplementary topics will broaden your work field to include areas and other destinations such as e.g. the Hardangerfjord, the Sognefjord etc. Supplementary topics are not obligatory.


Tests, Examination and Authorisation

Tests
There will be a written test for the attractions and each topic in the facts section of the course. These tests are in English and consist of a series of short questions/answers. Below you can see which topics you will be tested in. In addition to the tests, you will have to hand in a manuscript for a sightseeing tour.

Tests in Factual Subjects


• The History of Norway
• The History of Bergen
• Bergen Today
• Norway Today
• Tourism Geography and Logistics


Test in Attractions

• Troldhaugen
• The Hanseatic Museum/Schøtstuene (Hanseatic Assembly Rooms)
• Fantoft Stave Church
• Bergenhus Fortress/Håkon’s Hall/Rosenkrantz Tower
• St. Mary's Church
• Fløibanen Funicular/Mount Fløien
• Bryggen
• Old Bergen Museum

There will also be one test that concentrates on the museums and attractions in Bergen that you need to know about, but where you are not required to be able to give guided tours.

Examination
After the practical part of the course (the guided tours by coach and the city walks), there will be a two-part oral exam, one by bus and one on foot (walking tour). The oral tests will be in your working language.

In addition, there will be a written examination with summary questions.
The written tests must be passed before the exam. Final examinations are held in April/May.



Certification and Authorisation

After you pass the tests, the assignments and the final examinations, you will be certified by Bergen By Expert for general guide assignments in Bergen, and to give guided tours of the attractions included in the core section of the course.
After having worked for one season as a Bergen Guide and having your apprenticeship period approved, you will become an Authorised Bergen Guide.

Bergen By Expert, the operator of Guideskolen is a member of Bergen Tourist Board and Bergen Chamber of Commerce.


To work as a guide and living in Bergen

As a guide you will join an exciting international environment with many challenging and enjoyable tasks. After you have completed the guide course and passed the tests and exams, you will be employed as a guide by Bergen By Expert. During the summer season, the guide job can be a full-time job, but you have the possibility to decide how much you want to be available for assignments, so that you can combine the guide job with other activities. We constantly want to add enthusiastic Bergen ambassadors to our brilliant guide corps.

Assignment-Based Work

The guide job is an assignment-based job. Many assignments are given weeks and months in advance, whereas some assignments are given on very short notice. You need to be available for guiding during the summer, but it is possible to take short breaks or vacations. The guides carry out assignments that range from city walks in Bergen to full-day excursions to e.g. Hardanger and the fjord area. Most assignments last for 2–3 hours and may include a visit to one of the city's main attractions. Check out www.bergenbyexpert.no to find out more about what it means to be working as a guide. Average seasonal earning before tax is approximately EUR 5000 – 12000 depending on your availability, your skills and your languages.

 

FAQ


Do I have to speak Norwegian to take the course?
How well do I have to speak the languages?
When do I have to come to Bergen if I am a distance student?
How much does a guide earn?
Do I have to be in Bergen during the course?
Where do I take the tests?
When are the tests held?
How are the tests?
How many questions does each test consist of?
How many tests must I take?
Will I be guaranteed a job after the exam?
How can I find a place to stay?
What does it cost to rent a flat?
When is the first course payment due and how much is it?
When do the guides get paid?
Do I need a tax card?
Do I have to pay for a uniform?
Do I need a mobile phone and can I get a refund for the call costs?
How do I practise my guiding skills?
Is the exam difficult and are there many who fail the exam?
What happens if I fail the exam?
Does it cost anything to apply?
Will I be insured whilst working as a guide?
Do you cover any travel costs that I have?
Can you assist in finding a place to stay?
Will I need a driver's licence?
How much will I work each day?
Will I be employed?
Can I stay in Bergen and work during the winter?
What kind of guide assignments do I get after the exam?
Can I take a holiday?

Do I have to speak Norwegian to take the course?
No, but it makes it easier to read supplementary litterature. The core litterature is in English and you must be able to speak and read English.


When do I have to come to Bergen if I am a distance student?
In order to have enough time to learn and visit the museums and to attend some of the training tours by coach, you should plan to stay in Bergen from no later than the beginning of April.Please note that there will be non-obligatory lectures in March and April.

How much does a guide earn?
Average earning for one season (before tax) is approximately NOK 50000–100000.
It depends on your availability, language(s) and language skills.


Do I have to be in Bergen during the course?
You can do most of the course as a distance student. No lectures are obligatory, but you must attend some of the practical parts where you practice your guiding skills by coach. If you stay in Bergen during the winter/spring you will have the chance to attend the lectures/city walks included in the course. If you plan to do the theoretical part on your own as a distance student, you should be in Bergen from the beginning of April.

Where do I take the tests?
The tests will be in Bergen. If you are not in Bergen, you can do the tests online.

When are the tests held?

The first tests will be held in March after completion of the factual part of the course (history etc).

How are the tests?
The tests are short questions that require short answers, e.g. "When was Bergen founded?" Answer: "1070".

How many questions does each test consist of?
Each test consists of approximately 20 questions.

How many tests must I take?

There are 4 tests during the course; Attractions, Norwegian History, Bergen History, Bergen and Norway Today and Tourism Geography. In addition you must take the written and oral exam in the end of May.

Will I be guaranteed a job after the exam?
Yes, all candidates who have passed the exam are granted a contract. However, you are paid per assignment and the number of assignments depends on your languages, general skills, attitude and personality.

How can I find a place to stay?
You can use the website www.finn.no,

What does it cost to rent a flat?
A room in a student flat is approximately NOK 4000 a month depending on the location and standard. A small flat is approximately NOK 6-7000 a month, but more in the city center.

When is the first course payment due and how much is it?
After you have been accepted to the course, you need to pay the course fee. Once we have received your payment, you will get an account with username and password. The course fee is not refundable.

When do the guides get paid?
On the 30th of each month.

Do I need a tax card?
Yes, you get it at the tax office, Ligningskontoret, Skatt Vest.

Do I have to pay for a uniform?
No, you will get a uniform jacket. When you guide you must wear black trousers, no jeans.

Do I need a mobile phone and can I get a refund for the call costs?
Yes, you need a mobile. All guide assignments are distributed by sms. You can borrow a phone from us if you do not already have one. You will get a refund for job-related calls/sms's if you use your own phone.

How do I practise my guiding skills?
The practical part of the course is a combination of coach tours and dvd training. You will get a dvd with a complete sightseeing. You add your own commentary to the tour and write your own manuscript. You send your manuscripts to your tutor who will give you feedback.

Is the exam difficult and are there many who fail the exam?
The exam is not difficult if you have passed the tests during the course and have practiced a lot of guiding. The exam is the same style as the tests during the course and is a summary of the theoretical part and the attractions. We ask about facts. The oral exam is a guided tour by coach where you will guide a specific part in your language(s). It is the same route as you practice on during the course. Candidates seldom fail.

What happens if I fail the exam?

You get a new chance if the sensors mean that you have a good chance to pass.

Does it cost anything to apply?
No.

Will I be insured whilst working as a guide?
Yes, all employed guides are insured whilst at work and Bergen By Expert cover the costs.

Do you cover any travel costs that I have?

You must pay for your travel to Bergen. Travel expences related to guide assignments are covered if the assignment starts/ends outside Bergen city centre.

Can you assist in finding a place to stay?
You are responsible for finding your own accomodation, but we will assist you as far as we can. The best place to search is at www.finn.no

Will I need a driver's licence?
No.

How much will I work each day?
Depending on your languages, skills ans availability, you will normally have 12 assignments a day. One assignment lasts from 2 hours to approximately 8 hours. You will also have some days off.

Will I be employed and when will I start to work?
All new guides are offered employment. The exam is in the end of May and you will normally start to work a few days after the exam depending og the languages you have.

Can I stay in Bergen and work during the winter?
There are not that many guide assignments during the winter, so you will not be able to earn much outside the tourist season. Some foreign guides have managed to get other part time jobs in the winter.

Can I stay in Bergen and work during the winter?
After you pass the exam, you will get various types of assignments, mostly guided tours by coach, but also some walking tours. The guided tours by coach vary from two-hour tours without any entrances, to more extensive tours including one or more museum entrances. In addition to the sightseeing tours in the city, we also have full-day excursions to the fjords and hiking tours on a few of the mountains surrounding Bergen.

Can I take a holiday?
Yes, you can take short breaks or vacations during the season, but the more available you are, the more assignments you will get.

How well do I have to speak the languages?
To work as a guide you need Europass C1 or C2 (spoken interaction).

 
 

Some of the Course Content

  • The History of Norway
  • The History of Bergen
  • Norway Today
  • Presentation Techniques
  • Cultural Understanding
  • Guide Techniques
  • Political System
  • First Aid
  • Norwegian fjords
  • City Walks
  • Attractions
  • City Tours

Bergen City of Culture and
Gateway to the Fjords

Bergen is surrounded by one of the world's most spectacular tourist attractions - the Norwegian Fjords. With a population of 260,000, Bergen is Norway's second largest city and the capital of Western Norway.

Bergen has given a warm welcome to its visitors for more than 900 years. Bryggen, the old Hanseatic Wharf, has become a symbol of our cultural heritage and has gained a place on UNESCO's World Heritage List. Bergen is a centre of culture and has a range of museums and art collections and is host to numerous festivals.

The Authorised Bergen Guides take pride in beeing ambassadors of our vibrant city and beautiful fjords. We welcome you to take part in our team of dedicated guides.

 
Bryggen in Bergen

Authorisation Ceremony, City Hall

Bergen, surrounded by 7 mountains
   
       
 

© 2013 Bergen By Expert. Guideskolen.no is operated by Bergen By Expert. Tel (47) 55 70 60 88 Fax (47) 55 70 60 89
Teatergaten 19, 5010 Bergen info@bergenbyexpert.no www.bergenbyexpert.no