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Heritage Interpreter

Heritage interpreters provide information by conducting tours or role playing for visitors to museums, gallery exhibits and other historical or heritage sites.

Also Known As

Cultural Interpreter, Guide, Interpreter, Museum Interpreter, Program Leader, Recreation Guide

NOC Codes

In Canada, the federal government groups and organizes occupations based on a National Occupational Classification (NOC) system. This alis occupation may not reflect the entire NOC group it is part of. Data for the NOC group can apply across multiple occupations.

The NOC system is updated every 5 years to reflect changes in the labour market. Government forms and labour market data may group and refer to an occupation differently, depending on the system used.

Here is how this occupation has been classified over time.

2006 NOC

  • 5212.3: Museum and Other Related Interpreters

2006 NOC-S

  • F112: Technical Occupations Related to Museums and Art Galleries

2011 NOC

  • 5212: Technical occupations related to museums and art galleries

2016 NOC

  • 5212: Technical occupations related to museums and art galleries

2021 NOC

  • 53100: Registrars, restorers, interpreters and other occupations related to museum and art galleries

2023 OaSIS

  • 53100.04: Curatorial assistants, museum extension officers, museology technicians and museum registrars and cataloguers
Updated May 19, 2021

Duties and responsibilities may vary considerably from one position to another but, in general, heritage interpreters:

  • Research information relevant to the museum, gallery, exhibit or historical site
  • Welcome visitors and provide orientation and general information
  • Interact with visitors, respond to questions, conduct visitor surveys, monitor visitor activity and handle emergency situations (for example, medical emergencies, building evacuations)
  • Prepare brochures, write newspaper articles and assist with exhibit or display development
  • Design, develop and maintain props and teaching aids (for example, historical or theatrical costumes)
  • Develop, present and evaluate educational programming and demonstrations for the general public or particular audiences (for example, young children, students, seniors)
  • Engage the visiting public in an entertaining and informative manner either face-to-face or through the use of distance learning or video conferencing technology
  • Coordinate volunteer activities and recruit, schedule, supervise and evaluate volunteers
  • Assist with marketing and promoting programs and events (for example, engage in social media interactions)
  • Assist with general facility operations (for example, collect statistics and assist in preparing reports)

To make information interesting and meaningful to visitors, heritage interpreters may act the part of a real or fictional character, or provide hands-on learning opportunities.

Working Conditions
Updated May 19, 2021
  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg

Heritage interpreters may work indoors in museums or galleries, or outdoors at historical or heritage sites. They may spend much of their time on their feet. A costume or uniform often is required. As part of role-playing, they may be required to lift and carry objects or perform physical activities (for example, chopping wood or weaving).

Hours of work may be part time or full time, and often include evenings and weekends.

Interests & Abilities

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2006 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Museum and Other Related Interpreters

2006 NOC: 5212.3

Interest Codes

Interest Codes for This NOC Group

Interest in speaking with people to answer inquiries and provide information


Interest in copying information when collecting tour tickets and fees; and in conducting successive tours


Interest in conducting tours of museums, galleries and historical, heritage and other sites

Your Interest Codes

To identify or change your interest codes, complete the Interests Exercise in CAREERinsite.

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. 

It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective, and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes for this NOC group is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation.

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn About Interests


Typical ability expectations for this NOC group
Your abilities

To fill in or change the values for your abilities, complete the Abilities Exercise in CAREERinsite.

Mental Abilities

General Learning Ability

Verbal Ability

Numerical Ability

Visual Abilities

Spatial Perception

Form Perception

Clerical Perception

Physical Abilities

Motor Coordination

Finger Dexterity

Manual Dexterity

Understanding Abilities

A Quick Guide

You are born with abilities that help you process certain types of information and turn it into action. These abilities influence which skills you can learn more easily.

The abilities or aptitudes shown for this NOC group come from the General Aptitude Test Battery (GATB). The GATB measures 9 aptitudes. It groups them into 3 categories: mental, visual, and physical.

The abilities scores range from 1 to 5, with 5 being stronger.

Learn About Abilities

Traits & Skills
Updated May 19, 2021

Heritage interpreters need:

  • An enthusiastic interest in their subject field
  • A desire to continue learning
  • Creativity for developing presentations combined with a willingness to try new approaches
  • Flexibility (for example, adjusting work schedules, multi-tasking)
  • Initiative
  • Writing skills for developing educational and marketing materials
  • Research skills
  • Customer service and hospitality skills
  • The ability to communicate effectively with visitors and consistently deliver programs and tours in a pleasant, confident and engaging manner
  • The ability to relate well to people of all backgrounds and ages, and work as part of a team
  • The ability to remain calm and take charge in emergency situations

They should enjoy talking with people, synthesizing information to develop innovative programs, and conducting tours.

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Top 10 Skills Employers Are Looking For

Technical occupations related to museums and art galleries

2016 NOC: 5212

This chart shows which job skills are currently in highest demand for this occupational group. It was created using this occupation's 17 most recent Alberta job postings, collected between Dec 03, 2021 and May 16, 2024.

Review these skills to learn:

  • Whether or not this occupation matches your skill set
  • What training you may need to get these skills
  • What skills to highlight in your resumé, cover letter, and interview.
Attention to detail
Construction Specialization: Excellent oral communication
Construction Specialization: Effective interpersonal skills
Construction Specialization: Team player
Construction Specialization: Initiative
Construction Specialization: Dependability
Construction Specialization: Accurate
Construction Specialization: Organized
Other benefits: Free parking available
Exhibit Preparation Experience: Mounting/installing objects
Educational Requirements
Updated May 19, 2021
  • Minimum Education Varies

Heritage interpreters need a combination of related post-secondary education and experience. This is a multidisciplinary field that draws from a wide range of academic disciplines including education, recreation and leisure studies, science, communication arts and other liberal arts disciplines. For example, a background in anthropology, history, native studies, fine arts, crafts, performing arts, psychology or sociology may be helpful. An ability to speak 2 or more languages and familiarity with audio, video and computer technologies are definite assets.

When choosing a post-secondary program, prospective heritage interpreters should discuss their career plans with people currently employed in this field.

Associations such as Interpretation Canada, Alberta Museums Association, the Canadian Museums Association and the Interpretive Guides Association also offer professional development opportunities.

Employers prefer to hire individuals who have a:

  • Valid First Aid and Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) certificate
  • Clean criminal record check, with a vulnerable sector search
  • Accident-free driving record

Related Education

The following schools offer programs or courses that are related to this occupation but are not required to enter the field.

To expand or narrow your search for programs related to this occupation, visit Post-Secondary Programs.

Completing a program does not guarantee entrance into an occupation. Before enrolling in an education program, prospective students should look into various sources for education options and employment possibilities. For example, contact associations and employers in this field.

Certification Requirements
Updated May 19, 2021
  • Certification Not Regulated

Certification is not required, as there is currently no legislation regulating this occupation.

However, Tourism HR Canada (formerly the Canadian Tourism Human Resource Council or CTHRC) offers voluntary Heritage Interpreter training. Recognized across Canada, this program leads to a Tourism Certified Manager (TCM) designation. Certification training is accessible from the emerit website.

Employment & Advancement
Updated May 19, 2021

Interpreters may be employed full time, part time or on a contract basis by:

  • Parks
  • Historic sites
  • Museums
  • Interpretive centres
  • Galleries
  • Zoos
  • Botanical gardens
  • Science centres
  • Private tour operators

Many positions are seasonal. These temporary positions can provide excellent experience for students or supplementary income for retired or semi-retired persons. Competition for permanent positions is keen so related work experience (as an employee or volunteer) is essential.

Experienced interpreters may:

  • Advance to supervisory and management positions such as chief interpreter, program coordinator, facility manager, district interpretation or education supervisor
  • Move into administrative positions in planning, operations or programming
  • Move into related fields such as commercial or tour company guiding, public relations, marketing or education

In some organizations, advancement to supervisory and management positions requires a graduate degree and years of related experience.

Industry Concentration

This section shows the industries where the majority of people in this occupation work. The data is based on the 2016 Census.

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups.

In the 5212: Technical occupations related to museums and art galleries occupational group, 81.1% of people work in:

Employment Outlook

Employment outlook is influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • Time of year (for seasonal jobs)
  • Location in Alberta
  • Employment turnover (when people leave existing positions)
  • Occupational growth (when new positions are created)
  • Size of the occupation
  • Trends and events that affect overall employment, especially in the industry or industries from the previous list

In Alberta, the 5212: Technical occupations related to museums and art galleries occupational group is expected to have an above-average annual growth of 2.6% from 2021 to 2025. In addition to job openings created by employment turnover, 11 new positions are forecasted to be created within this occupational group each year.

NOC groups often include several related occupations. Although there is labour market data for the larger NOC group, this occupation makes up only a part of that group. It means data for this occupation may be different than the data shown. For example, only some of the new positions to be created will be for this occupation. It also applies to other data for the NOC group such as number of people employed.

Source: 2021-2025 Alberta Regional Occupational Demand Outlook

Related Alberta Job Postings
Wage & Salary
Updated May 19, 2021

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Technical occupations related to museums and art galleries

2016 NOC: 5212
Average Wage
Per Hour
Average Salary
Per Year
Average Hours
Per Week
Average Months on Payroll
Survey Methodology Survey Analysis

2021 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey

NOC 5212 Wage Profile

Unless otherwise noted, the data shown here is for all industries and all regions in Alberta.

All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production), and other forms of compensation.

To see the full survey data for this NOC group, visit the wage profile.

Other wage sources
To make an informed wage and salary decision, research other wage sources [pdf] to supplement this data.

B: Good Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

Good Reliability, represents a CV of between 6.01% and 15.00% and/or fewer than 30 survey observations and/or if survey observations represent less than 50% of all estimated employment for the occupation.

Hourly Wage

For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median

Hourly Wage

For full-time and part-time employees
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $15.00 $35.96 $20.48 $17.00
Overall $16.50 $47.29 $26.09 $25.00
Top $16.50 $47.48 $28.30 $28.00

Swipe left and right to view all data. Scroll left and right to view all data.

* All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production) and other forms of compensation.

Pay brackets for hourly wages

  • Starting pay: average pay offered for entry-level positions
  • Overall pay: average pay across all employees in this occupation
  • Top pay: average pay offered to top-paid employees

Industry Information

Information, Culture, Recreation
Public Administration

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years
Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties
Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months
Vacancy Rate
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Communications
  • Education and Library Studies
  • Fine Arts and Performing Arts
  • Human Ecology, Fashion and Food Sciences
  • Physical Education and Recreation
  • Humanities and Languages
  • Sciences
  • Social Sciences, Law and Religious Studies
Other Sources of Information
Updated May 19, 2021

Alberta Museums Association website:

American Alliance of Museums website:

Canadian Museums Association website:

emerit website:

International Council of Museums (ICOM) website:

Interpretation Canada website:

Interpretive Guides Association (IGA) website:

National Association for Interpretation [United States] website:

The Association for Living History, Farm and Agricultural Museums website:

Tourism HR Canada website:

Get information and referrals about career, education, and employment options from Alberta Supports.

Updated Mar 31, 2021. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook, and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

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