Guiding for Field Guides

Employment Opportunities for Those
Wishing to Become Tour Leaders at Field Guides

Last modified Nov 2019

We bring on a new guide every year or two, and we are always on the lookout for great female or male prospects interested in training to join our international community of professional guides. We are deliberate and careful about training new guides, and it is a supportive process. After an initial short evaluative period, for full-time prospects we offer a new guide fellowship with a guaranteed salary for a year (after which the guide transitions into our standard guide pay system), and we work closely with the guide to offer maximum exposure to our client base and diverse geographic experience through careful scheduling. We also offer company benefits (health insurance, guide allowance, parental leave, and more). This process is intended to maximize the potential for success for both the new guide and the company. We mostly have full-time guides on our staff, but part-time guiding is a possibility as well.

Ours is a consciously (and globally) inclusive guide environment. Rose Ann Rowlett, recently retired, was a driving force in the founding of Field Guides in 1985, along with co-founders Allan Griffith, Jan Pierson, John Rowlett, and Bret Whitney. Since the early days, we have expanded into a team of guides we consider to be of unsurpassed excellence and who are based not only in the US and Canada, but also on the slopes of Mt Kenya, in northeastern Australia, in Great Britain, in Ecuador, Peru, and Brazil, and elsewhere.

We are especially interested in attracting capable women and men who bring new perspectives to the group, adding to our collective knowledge and strengthening us as a team and company. Our loyal client base has a wide variety of preferences stemming from the fact that client age can range across 6 decades, our clientele is close to half female and half male, our participants come from different countries, and they are a collection of both casual and list-oriented birders. They are best served by a group of guides who hold many different appeals and talents. With no majority owner in our unusual company structure and a collaborative approach to our business, we find a diversity of strengths and viewpoints has served us well for nearly 35 years. We expect it will continue to do so in the future, so long as we continue to keep our focus on collaboration and attracting new, unique talent.

What kind of person are we looking for? A prospective Field Guides leader will have great birding skills, of course; some geographical breadth of birding experience is an obvious plus though not a requirement. But great birding skills and experience alone do not qualify someone to be a Field Guides leader. The following additional guide attributes are of paramount importance to creating the kind of enriching and enjoyable tour experience our clients have come to expect:

  • well-developed social skills with an interest in and enjoyment of people (e.g., eliciting the best in others; having a good sense of humor; being a good listener; having patience and tolerance); our tours are social as well as birding experiences, so the ability to “host” a varied group of tour participants in order to share a fantastic natural adventure is key, with the goal of sending every participant home hoping to repeat the experience again as soon as possible;
  • organizational and logistical strengths;
  • excellent common-sense judgment (e.g., ability to assess and minimize risk levels pertaining to activities or events, and to predict and avoid many potentially dangerous or inconvenient circumstances);
  • comfort and ease with being the person ‘in charge’ on tour, and the ability to communicate with others honestly, directly, and appropriately;
  • being a team player in our company environment where guides, office staff, and management work collaboratively to craft the best client experience possible;
  • an interest in bird behavior, habitats, and conservation that extends beyond bird-finding and identification;
  • a generosity of spirit: an enthusiasm for and love of the natural world, especially birds, and enjoyment in sharing that world with others (good teaching skills are a real plus here).

We don’t expect new prospects to arrive fully formed, and our training process and encouraging team can help you hone the skills listed above. Word of mouth from clients who have traveled with us is our greatest asset (a large number of our clients have traveled with us on many tours over the years), so returning from every trip with uniformly great evaluations from participants is the key to a guide’s success as well as that of the company. It’s about the goal of creating a fun, enriching, and memorable group birding experience from beginning to end on every Field Guides tour.

Are you someone with these attributes who is interested in working full-time or part-time in guiding birding tours? If so, please send us an email with your contact information, background experience, language proficiency, and a minimum of two references. We will respond to all queries and let you know if we have a training opportunity available.