How do I Become a Docent?

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  • Written By: wiseGEEK Writer
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 01 November 2018
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A docent is a teacher that usually specializes in a specific subject. In the modern sense this term is often used for the legion of volunteers who work at places of educational interest like museums or zoos. Many elementary schools also have docent programs for interested volunteers who would like to expand traditional school learning. People might become art, dance, reading, or even history docents for schools with these programs.

It actually is not that hard to become a docent given their willingness to volunteer and participate in training; it may be a little more difficult to find these jobs at very well known museums and greater selection criteria might apply.

The first step to become a docent is to identify those places where a person would like to volunteer. Local museums and other educational points are good places to start. Determine if these places are appealing, since as a docent, a person might spend a lot of time in them and much time talking about them. If primary interests tend toward art, find an art museum, and if they are more aligned with history, consider historical sites. Don’t exclude the possibility of nationally or regionally run centers, which often rely on docents to give things like informative tours.


Once people have identified a few programs they’d like to participate in or a few likely museums, they should directly approach these and inquire about docent training. For larger museums, preliminary information about this can be found online. Scrutinize the program carefully to determine if its demands are in keeping with what can be given. Don’t commit or apply to become a docent with programs that ask for skills a person doesn’t possess or that ask for a greater time commitment than can be met.

With the best programs in hand, people take the next step to become a docent by applying. They may need to give reasons for their interest, or an application could be simple. With good luck and thoughtful answers, people may be chosen to participate in a training program. It is typically finishing this training that helps people to their first docent position. People should prepare to study material well so that as employees, they will be of most help to others.

Once a training program to become a docent is finished, people may be assigned regular hours or positions. To retain a job, it’s important to treat it as any other job. Being on time, faithfully carrying out work, and observing all work rules are necessary for these specialized volunteer teachers.



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