Deciding to attend hunting guide school or fishing guide school is an important decision as you enter the guiding profession. Even if your state does not require you to attend a guide school you may want to consider going to one so that you can learn the skills necessary for a long and successful career as a guide.
There are outfitters who only consider hiring those with formal education for guide jobs, especially if it is a requirement of that state. Even if you are going to start your own guide service, having formal guide training is an excellent way to market your guide service and set yourself apart from the competition.
- Determine what is important to you– Before making a decision to addend a guide school you need to first ensure that you have spent time evaluating what you want out of a guide school. Ask yourself these questions:
—-What type of game do I want to pursue when I am a guide?
—-Do I want something that is close to home?
—-How much can I afford to spend on guide school?
—-What other skills do I want to learn?
- Make a list– After you have determined what is important to you then make a list of at least 3-6 guide schools that you are interested in. 3 is the minimum so that you can get a good comparison of market. Make yourself a list and match up the questions you asked yourself to what each school offers.
- Contact graduates– Graduates are the single best source for information on the guide school. They have gone through the program and are hopefully working as a hunting or fishing guide now. Ask the guide schools if they could provide you 3 graduate names and contact information. If not search online and you should be able to find a few graduates to contact.
♦Did they like their experience?
♦Do they feel that they were prepared by the guide school to become a guide?
♦Were they able to find a hunting guide job/fishing guide job after graduating?
♦Most importantly, ask them if they had the opportunity to do it all over again would they select the same guide school?
- Contact employers– Many hunting and fishing guide schools boast about the placement rates of their graduates and some even guarantee that you will get a hunting or fishing guide job upon graduation. Be Leary if you have a guide school guaranteeing guide jobs upon graduation because each person’s situation is different. A great way to validate the credibility of the school is to contact 3 employers that have hired their graduates. These employers will be able to tell you about the school and if the graduates they produce have the skills necessary to be a successful hunting or fishing guide.
- Contact guides-Contacting other guides not affiliated with the school are another good way to find out about a schools reputation. Do an online search for outfitters that do what you are interested in and contact them. Let them know that you are considering going to guide school and that you want to ask them about their choice for guide schools. You will find that most people will be happy to help you out and will have excellent perspective to share.
- Price– Guide school price is a consideration but we are not suggesting that it is the sole determining factor on what hunting guide school or fishing guide school you attend.
For a guide school to provide a quality education there are costs. If the school is extremely inexpensive investigate if you will get the education you need
This as a long term investment make sure you will learn the necessary skills
Will you to be able to afford the school? What type of payment options are there?
- Program Length– If the program is only a few days long you will want to consider if that is enough time to learn everything you need to know. However, the length will likely impact cost and you will need to ensure that you can be away from home/family/work for that amount of time.
- Location– Depending on the type of game you want to pursue you should consider where to get your education. For example, if you want to guide waterfowl and you go to guide school in Alaska you have to ask yourself if those skills will be effective in the lower 48 states. Many of the skills will be transferrable but be aware that there are some customer and game differences by area.
- Know the deadlines– Most guide schools have application deadlines because they can only accept a certain amount of students per class. Be sure that you pay attention to these deadlines because if you miss the deadline it can delay how quickly you can get into your guiding career.
- Instructor credentials– Instructors are one of the single most important pieces of your education. Ask the guide school about the instructors and what type of industry experience they have. Be leary if the instructors have little or no professional guiding experience.
Final thoughts: Determining what hunting guide school or fishing guide school to attend is an important decision to make when entering the guiding profession. To get a job as a guide, outfitters will want to know that you have the skills and necessary education to be an effective guide. In order to make the best choice do your research on several schools to ensure it is a good investment.
By following these 10 steps and it should become clear to you what guide school is best for your situation.