Labour market information Explore careers by essential skills

Essential skills profile

This profile contains a list of example tasks that illustrate how each of the 9 essential skills is generally performed by most workers in this occupation. The levels of complexity estimated for each task are ranked between 1 (basic) and 5 (advanced).

You can use this profile to:
Find a job
Write your resume and prepare for job interviews
Plan your career
Determine which career may best suit you based on your skill set
Manage your workforce
Write job postings, assess employee performance and develop training

Find out more about this occupation

For more information on this occupation, look at the related job profile. It provides information on prevailing wages, job prospects and other skill requirements.

Look up job profile

Heritage Interpreters(5212)

This profile was developed as part of an occupational standard. The NOC group to which it relates is "Technical Occupations Related to Museums and Galleries." This group includes workers who classify and catalogue museum and gallery artifacts, construct and install exhibits and displays, restore, maintain and store museum and gallery collections, frame artwork, conduct guided tours and perform other functions in support of curatorial and conservation activities. They are employed in museums and galleries. Picture framers and taxidermists may also be employed in retail settings or may be self-employed.

Reading Help - Reading
  • Read correspondence. (2)
  • Read museum notes for background information on exhibits. (3)
  • Refer to maintenance or operating manuals which give information about how to install, operate, maintain and repair equipment. (3)
  • Refer to field guides in order to obtain information and updates. (3)
  • Read technical manuals, for example, manuals describing historic weapons or manuals providing instructions to assemble an exhibit. (4)
  • Read union agreements. (4)
  • Read training manuals in order to train staff members. (4)
  • Read curriculum materials in order to prepare programs. (4)
  • Read text books and field and research reports for updates and for information. (4)
  • Read program content such as scripts, dialogues, directions, outlines for workshops, as well as specific instruction scripts for guided walks and directions to specific locations. (4)
  • Scan scientific and scholarly journals for information. (4)
  • Interpret federal and provincial legislation. (5)
  • Read proposals, terms of reference and contracts. (5)
Document use Help - Document use
  • Read information cards and posters dealing with hazardous materials, Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS). (1)
  • Read collection management sheets and inventory lists. (1)
  • Read itineraries, time sheets and schedules for staffing and for events. (2)
  • Read and fill out calendars, diaries and daytimers. (2)
  • Fill out expense claims. (2)
  • Read reports on chemical composition or analysis of geological samples. (3)
  • Read a variety of maps including trail maps, geological maps and topographical maps. (3)
  • Refer to blueprints for displays, renovations or facilities, including historical blueprints. (3)
  • Read archival documents, such as forms that may be old, cryptic and difficult to understand. (4)
  • Read graphs and tables, such as migration tables, and interpret other visual presentations of information such as time line representations. (4)
Writing Help - Writing
  • Write form letters and standardized memos; to accompany forms, such as evaluation forms. (2)
  • Write memos and letters. (2)
  • Write comments on library index cards. (2)
  • Write journal entries and field notes. (2)
  • Write and edit public service announcements. (3)
  • Write information updates to staff and to information centres. (3)
  • Write the content of exhibit materials, displays and signs. (3)
  • Write the text for brochures. (4)
  • Write training modules. (4)
  • Write job descriptions, job performance appraisals and program appraisals. (5)
  • Write research articles for newspapers and magazines. (5)
  • Write seasonal and annual reports. (5)
  • Write program materials and scripts. (5)
  • Write research papers. (5)
  • Write proposals, terms of reference and contracts. (5)
Numeracy Help - Numeracy Money Math
  • Collect program fees. (1)
  • Complete goods and services tax (GST) rebates and do invoicing. (3)
Scheduling, Budgeting & Accounting Math
  • Keep budgets and make budget forecasts. (4)
  • Calculate hours and costs per program and predict cash flow. (4)
Measurement and Calculation Math
  • Count number of participants. (1)
  • Calculate distances to sites. (1)
  • Measure or calculate dimensions and convert between metric and imperial measures. (2)
  • Take a variety of fine measurements using special equipment. (3)
  • Calculate the height of objects, such as mountains or trees, using trigonometry. (4)
  • Calculate inventories, such as migrational counts, which may require the use of algebra. (5)
Data Analysis Math
  • Do statistical analyses of attendance, such as calculating the percentage by demographic groups. (3)
Numerical Estimation
  • Make estimates, such as estimating tree capacity or projecting numbers of visitors. (3)
Oral communication Help - Oral communication
  • Interact with co-workers, individuals they supervise, their supervisor or manager, suppliers and the public. (1)
  • Instruct public and co-workers on various health and safety issues, e.g. camping etiquette, regulations and how to avoid bear attacks. (2)
  • Communicate historical, scientific and technical information to groups and individuals using a variety of techniques. For example, they present public talks using illustrative media, perform dramatic roles, lead participatory workshops, engage in casual discussions with visitors and lead guided tours. (3)
  • Communicate to facilitate interaction, discussion or thought process, often using drama or story telling. (3)
  • Use a variety of language techniques such as analogies, metaphors and poetry. (3)
Thinking Help - Thinking Problem Solving
  • Must handle complaints from customers. They listen to the complaint, explore solutions, and bring the issue to a conclusion. (2)
  • Observe wear and damage to historic sites. They develop environmental programs to protect these resources. (3)
  • Become involved in resolving conflicts among staff members. May also face conflicts over resources, such as conflicts between farmers and hunters about land use. In these situations, the heritage interpreter has to intervene, clarify positions and attempt to reach a compromise that will resolve the conflict. (3)
  • Discover unmet needs or gaps in programming for specific groups. In response to these needs, they create and deliver programs to meet specific criteria. (3)
  • May become involved in resolving legal liability issues. They may have to interpret policy, prepare court statements or appear as a witness. (4)
  • Deal with competing priorities for resource usage. They have to reconcile the organization's mandate, public opinion and interpretive messages. For example, they may have to balance resource conservation with the organization's need to encourage attendance at a public display. (4)
Decision Making
  • Decide how to respond to inappropriate behaviour. (1)
  • Decide how to advertise. (2)
  • Make decisions about time management, such as prioritization and organization. (2)
  • Decide what medium and methods to use to ensure public safety on outdoor hikes. (2)
  • Decide what medium and methods to use in an interpretive program. (3)
  • Decide upon selection methods to be used in hiring and who to hire. (3)
  • Make decisions about the allocation of funds. (3)
  • Decide which selections to make when reviewing proposals. (3)
Critical Thinking

Critical Thinking information was not collected for this profile.

Job Task Planning and Organizing

Heritage interpreters develop their program schedules to meet deadlines. They develop time lines and prioritize their tasks and duties to keep on schedule. Heritage interpreters need to prepare analyses, syntheses and evaluations of all their programs. (3)

Significant Use of Memory
  • Memorize the scientific names of species and the names of people of scientific or historic significance.
  • Memorize scripts and program content.
  • Use short term memory in adapting their presentations. For example, they may remember to demonstrate a procedure that someone has recently inquired about when the opportunity arises.
  • Remember names and other information about participants.
  • Memorize emergency and first aid procedures.
Finding Information
  • Read magazines to keep up with current issues and topics of interest to the public. (2)
  • Use reference materials to find information about heritage sites requested by customers. (2)
  • Conduct program development research by reading, conducting interviews, participating in first-hand experiences, or researching via the Internet. (4)
  • Analyze, synthesize and evaluate information found in reference materials and insert findings into programs. (4)
  • Conduct audience research by designing, conducting and evaluating participant surveys. (4)
  • Conduct market research by scanning tourism statistics, reading industry newsletters, visiting other sites, and talking to colleagues. (4)
Digital technology Help - Digital technology
  • They produce letters, memos, reports, etc. (2)
  • They may use computerized geographic information systems. (2)
  • They record and analyze financial information. (2)
  • They prepare budgets. (2)
  • They use electronic networks like the Internet. They also send and receive e-mail. (2)
  • They do exhibit layouts, information graphics and designs. They may also use computers for desktop publishing. For example, they may produce pamphlets, overheads and other program materials. (3)
  • They may use AutoCAD to produce building plans for new exhibits. (3)
  • Use other computer applications. For example, they may assess needs for the purchase or design of software. (3)
Additional information Help - Additional information Other Essential Skills:

Working with Others

Heritage interpreters may work alone, with a partner or as part of a team. They may work independently or with supervision.

Heritage interpreters participate in formal group discussions, with their co-workers, managers or supervisors and people that they supervise, to discuss methods of improving work processes or product quality and the allocation of responsibilities.

Continuous Learning

There is an ongoing requirement to learn while working as a heritage interpreter.

Date modified: