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Travel Agents

Travel Agents


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What's Needed:

  • Every travel agency has different hiring requirements.
  • Most companies now prefer that travel agents hold at least an associate degree in travel and tourism.

What you study:

While pursuing a travel and tourism degree, you'll study all of the following:

  • Introduction to Travel and Tourism
  • Destination Geography
  • Hotels and Lodging
  • Marketing
  • Travel by Rail, Car and Plane
  • Cruise Planning
  • Budget Management

Video Overview

A brief introduction to a real estate agent career. Produced for the US Dept. of Labor.

A Day in the Life

You arrange air, land and sea travel for clients traveling domestically and internationally.

You arrive at the travel agency where you go to work right as the doors open. Many schools will take spring break next month, so you know that you'll be busy helping individuals and families make travel arrangements. Before you start meeting with clients and taking calls, you check your phone and email messages. You jot down information about two potential clients and plan to call them as soon as you can.

After you finish reviewing your messages, you head to your boss's office for a team meeting. Your boss announces a new sales incentive program for office staff. As a group, you talk about how to handle the upcoming spring break season and go over special deals that hotels and resorts that your company works with are offering to clients.

It's your job to provide accurate information and advice about travel destinations.

You return to your desk and immediately field a call from a client on a business trip who is having problems at his hotel. The hotel promised wireless Internet access in every room, but the system has been down for nearly 24 hours. You book the client at a new hotel, apologize for the inconvenience and arrange complimentary transportation. After you're sure your client is taken care of, you call the hotel's manager and begin the process of requesting a refund. You'll need to follow up with the hotel next week.

You make sure travelers are aware of document and visa requirements.

The receptionist at your office sees that you're off the phone and lets you know that a walk-in client needs help making travel arrangements. You welcome the client and talk to her about her travel needs. She wants to take her family to Central America to celebrate Easter. You help her explore her options and make recommendations about cities and sites she might want to visit. You arrange another appointment to finalize air and hotel bookings. At your next appointment, you'll go over visa and vaccination requirements so that the client and her family are prepared for the trip.

You handle last-minute itinerary changes and emergency calls from your clients.

After your lunch break, you work with several business clients who need to make travel arrangements. You are responsible for finding flights, making hotel reservations and securing rental cars for your clients. You must also work within their travel budgets. Today, you can book several of your clients at a partner hotel that is running a special promotion. You fax their finalized travel arrangements to them at the end of the day and let them know that you can make changes as needed.

Before you head home for the evening, you clean up your cubicle and check your email one last time. You make sure that you have your work cellphone with you so that you can handle any client emergencies. You'll enjoy a relaxing night before heading back in for another fast-paced day tomorrow.

Certifications and Licensing

No formal certification is needed to work as a travel agent. However, many agents join professional organizations, such as the American Society of Travel Agents, in order to demonstrate their experience in the field.

Job Flexibility

Full-time versus part-time:

Most travel agents work full-time schedules and must be available around the clock in order to assist travelers who have run into issues with their itineraries. Despite a demanding schedule, you will receive generous vacation time and will enjoy traveling to a wide variety of destinations.

Recommended Websites

  • American Society of Travel Agents: The ASTA website provides news, advocacy information and research papers that travel agents of all experience levels will find helpful. Those individuals who are interested in becoming travel agents can learn more by visiting the "Education/Careers" section of the site.
  • Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook for Travel Agents: This Department of Labor publication provides general information about travel agent careers. Look to this site for information about salaries and career outlooks in the field.
  • National Association of Career Travel Agents: NACTA's website provides information for both travel agents and suppliers. New travel agents will find a wide variety of resources and legal information in the member's only section of the site. Prospective agents may be particularly interested in NACTA's seminars and events.
  • World Association of Travel Agencies: Students who are interested in handling international travel planning will enjoy perusing the resources on WATA's website. The site provides great resources about specialty travel in particular.

Salaries by City

See typical salaries and ranges for this career below*. Shift click to sort by more than one column -- for example first shift-click on state and then shift-click on salary to find best and worst salaries in each state.

StateCity / RegionTypical SalarySalary RangeJob Count% of All Jobs
AKAnchorage$35,730$19K - $48K1700.10%
ALBirmingham - Hoover$34,970$22K - $55K1600.03%
ALHuntsville$41,590$30K - $59K800.04%
ALMontgomery$43,710$28K - $59K700.05%
ARLittle Rock - North Little Rock - Conway$37,570$24K - $55K700.02%
AZPhoenix - Mesa - Glendale$25,880$17K - $47K9100.05%
AZTucson$28,450$18K - $45KN/AN/A
CABakersfield - Delano$36,500$27K - $57K600.02%
CAFresno$27,550$18K - $39K800.03%
CALos Angeles - Long Beach - Glendale (Metro Area)$33,600$20K - $60K3,2200.08%
CAOakland - Fremont - Hayward (Metro Area)$43,590$31K - $70K4900.05%
CAOxnard - Thousand Oaks - Ventura$38,410$28K - $55K1100.04%
CARiverside - San Bernardino - Ontario$24,360$19K - $37K1400.01%
CASacramento - Arden - Arcade - Roseville$35,280$24K - $63K2400.03%
CASalinas$26,450$18K - $64K400.02%
CASan Diego - Carlsbad - San Marcos$37,990$26K - $60K6400.05%
CASan Francisco - San Mateo - Redwood City (Metro Area)$38,300$27K - $72K9900.10%
CASan Jose - Sunnyvale - Santa Clara$38,120$27K - $56K7600.08%
CASanta Ana - Anaheim - Irvine (Metro Area)$41,160$27K - $57K9000.06%
CASanta Barbara - Santa Maria - GoletaN/AN/A - N/A500.03%
CASanta Cruz - Watsonville$33,620$21K - $44KN/AN/A
CASanta Rosa - Petaluma$43,700$31K - $68K300.02%
CAStockton$20,580$18K - $28K300.02%
CAVisalia - Porterville$28,830$20K - $60K400.03%
COBoulder$29,990$22K - $64K1100.07%
COColorado Springs$32,460$19K - $64K1000.04%
CODenver - Aurora - Broomfield$38,140$26K - $65K5600.05%
COFort Collins - Loveland$27,240$21K - $37K600.04%
CTBridgeport - Stamford - Norwalk$35,110$27K - $55K4200.10%
CTHartford - West Hartford - East Hartford$37,740$25K - $50K1600.03%
CTNew Haven$31,430$23K - $43K1200.05%
DCWashington - Arlington - Alexandria (Metro Area)$41,920$26K - $62K1,3500.06%
DEWilmington (Metro Area)$33,280$21K - $48K1300.04%
FLCape Coral - Fort Myers$31,060$19K - $52K1100.05%
FLCrestview - Fort Walton Beach - Destin$29,650$18K - $47K1100.15%
FLDeltona - Daytona Beach - Ormond Beach$26,730$18K - $38K1600.10%
FLFort Lauderdale - Pompano Beach - Deerfield Beach (Metro Area)$25,200$17K - $52K1,0600.15%
FLJacksonville$29,830$19K - $47K1400.02%
FLLakeland - Winter Haven$31,520$21K - $48K1100.06%
FLMiami - Miami Beach - Kendall (Metro Area)$38,500$19K - $72K1,6200.16%
FLNaples - Marco Island$33,610$21K - $47KN/AN/A
FLNorth Port - Bradenton - Sarasota$34,010$17K - $65K2100.09%
FLOrlando - Kissimmee - Sanford$28,500$18K - $52K1,2400.12%
FLPalm Bay - Melbourne - Titusville$30,450$17K - $46K1100.06%
FLPensacola - Ferry Pass - Brent$24,920$17K - $34K700.04%
FLPort St. Lucie$25,570$19K - $67K800.07%
FLTampa - St. Petersburg - Clearwater$30,940$17K - $56K6000.05%
FLWest Palm Beach - Boca Raton - Boynton Beach (Metro Area)$29,730$22K - $52K6400.13%
GAAtlanta - Sandy Springs - Marietta$38,360$25K - $56KN/AN/A
GAColumbus$33,550$26K - $39K300.03%
GASavannah$31,850$18K - $38K700.05%
HIHonoluluN/AN/A - N/A7900.18%
IACedar RapidsN/AN/A - N/A400.03%
IADavenport - Moline - Rock Island$31,660$19K - $48K600.04%
IADes Moines - West Des Moines$28,320$18K - $46K1600.05%
IAIowa City$35,060$26K - $46KN/AN/A
IDBoise City - Nampa$36,330$20K - $48K2900.11%
ILChicago - Joliet - Naperville (Metro Area)$37,940$19K - $63K4,1800.11%
ILLake County - Kenosha County (Metro Area)$35,080$21K - $61K2300.06%
ILPeoria$38,860$19K - $47K700.04%
INEvansville$38,440$24K - $49K500.03%
INFort Wayne$27,250$20K - $32K600.03%
INGary (Metro Area)$18,380$16K - $27K500.02%
INIndianapolis - Carmel$35,960$19K - $103K3400.04%
KSWichita$31,090$19K - $61K1000.04%
KYLexington - Fayette$34,830$26K - $48K500.02%
KYLouisville - Jefferson County$27,600$17K - $57K1600.03%
LABaton Rouge$27,700$25K - $31KN/AN/A
LANew Orleans - Metairie - Kenner$26,780$17K - $36K2200.04%
LAShreveport - Bossier City$19,730$17K - $32K300.02%
MABarnstable Town$43,050$19K - $74KN/AN/A
MABoston - Cambridge - Quincy (Metro Area)$42,650$28K - $73K1,2500.07%
MAFramingham (Metro Area)$45,810$36K - $61K1600.10%
MAPeabody (Metro Area)$46,530$27K - $74K600.06%
MASpringfield$28,760$20K - $42K1100.04%
MAWorcester$35,370$19K - $58K900.04%
MDBaltimore - Towson$33,310$18K - $63K3500.03%
MDBethesda - Rockville - Frederick (Metro Area)$37,840$19K - $61K3900.07%
MEPortland - South Portland - Biddeford$36,410$28K - $46K500.02%
MIAnn Arbor$32,430$20K - $47K900.04%
MIDetroit - Livonia - Dearborn (Metro Area)$32,660$20K - $54K1400.02%
MIFlint$28,760$17K - $47K500.04%
MIGrand Rapids - Wyoming$38,880$25K - $59K3600.09%
MIHolland - Grand Haven$31,190$19K - $38K400.04%
MIKalamazoo - Portage$23,960$17K - $49K300.03%
MILansing - East Lansing$35,700$25K - $55K800.04%
MIWarren - Troy - Farmington Hills (Metro Area)$30,870$18K - $44K6000.06%
MNMinneapolis - St. Paul - Bloomington$36,840$25K - $47K1,1100.06%
MOKansas City$34,600$20K - $52K4500.05%
MOSpringfield$22,570$17K - $38K800.04%
MOSt. Louis$30,170$21K - $40K1,1900.09%
NCAsheville$37,140$32K - $85K600.03%
NCCharlotte - Gastonia - Rock Hill$31,980$21K - $57K2700.03%
NCDurham - Chapel Hill$35,390$19K - $47K500.02%
NCGreensboro - High Point$41,550$25K - $55K1400.04%
NCJacksonville$23,890$20K - $35K500.11%
NCRaleigh - Cary$43,660$32K - $53K2100.04%
NCWinston - Salem$38,020$28K - $61K700.03%
NDFargo$32,620$25K - $49K800.06%
NEOmaha - Council Bluffs$33,550$22K - $48K3500.08%
NHManchester$36,100$23K - $52K1000.10%
NHNashua (Metro Area)$51,630$38K - $66K900.07%
NJAtlantic City - Hammonton$34,350$26K - $65K400.03%
NJCamden (Metro Area)$33,860$24K - $55K2300.05%
NJEdison - New Brunswick (Metro Area)$31,820$21K - $47K3600.04%
NJNewark - Union (Metro Area)$37,780$23K - $58K4700.05%
NJTrenton - Ewing$47,040$26K - $97K1000.05%
NMAlbuquerque$31,510$19K - $55K1000.03%
NVLas Vegas - Paradise$30,040$20K - $57K9700.12%
NVReno - Sparks$38,090$18K - $57K300.02%
NYAlbany - Schenectady - Troy$29,120$22K - $37K1100.03%
NYBuffalo - Niagara Falls$30,910$25K - $44K1100.02%
NYIthaca$29,020$24K - $56K400.07%
NYNassau - Suffolk (Metro Area)$37,890$25K - $59K7100.06%
NYNew York - White Plains - Wayne (Metro Area)$37,100$22K - $57K4,3000.08%
NYPoughkeepsie - Newburgh - Middletown$33,230$17K - $82K600.02%
NYRochester$34,900$23K - $53K1600.03%
NYSyracuse$27,930$20K - $43K1400.05%
OHAkron$29,730$19K - $47K800.03%
OHCanton - Massillon$22,380$17K - $31K400.02%
OHCincinnati - Middletown$28,430$21K - $38K3300.03%
OHCleveland - Elyria - Mentor$34,740$24K - $47K5300.05%
OHColumbus$29,700$22K - $41K3700.04%
OHDayton$30,450$21K - $52K800.02%
OHToledo$22,730$18K - $39K1100.04%
OHYoungstown - Warren - Boardman$27,300$19K - $38K800.04%
OKOklahoma City$24,620$18K - $46K1100.02%
OKTulsa$27,620$21K - $39K1800.04%
OREugene - Springfield$34,500$20K - $60K600.04%
ORPortland - Vancouver - Hillsboro$32,140$21K - $48K6500.06%
PAAllentown - Bethlehem - Easton$33,190$21K - $54K1500.04%
PAHarrisburg - Carlisle$31,310$25K - $43K700.02%
PALancaster$38,410$24K - $54K900.04%
PAPhiladelphia (Metro Area)$41,150$27K - $69K1,0900.06%
PAPittsburgh$35,880$26K - $50K4300.04%
PAReading$37,310$26K - $58K1600.10%
PAScranton - Wilkes - Barre$28,940$18K - $47K1900.08%
PAYork - Hanover$27,250$17K - $37K700.04%
PRSan Juan - Caguas - Guaynabo$24,620$18K - $38K1800.02%
RIProvidence - Fall River - Warwick$33,280$25K - $57K2300.04%
SCCharleston - North Charleston - Summerville$29,860$20K - $46K1100.04%
SCColumbia$28,720$20K - $45K1000.03%
SCGreenville - Mauldin - Easley$29,890$19K - $37K800.03%
SCMyrtle Beach - North Myrtle Beach - Conway$26,060$17K - $61K500.05%
SDSioux Falls$31,420$23K - $48K400.03%
TNKnoxville$32,340$22K - $48K800.02%
TNMemphis$34,640$23K - $50K900.02%
TNNashville - Davidson - Murfreesboro - Franklin$36,000$24K - $81K4100.06%
TXAustin - Round Rock - San Marcos$37,230$26K - $52K2600.03%
TXDallas - Plano - Irving (Metro Area)$39,570$23K - $73K1,6200.08%
TXEl Paso$33,960$18K - $54K700.03%
TXFort Worth - Arlington (Metro Area)$32,150$19K - $47K3900.04%
TXHouston - Sugar Land - Baytown$39,210$21K - $66K1,3100.05%
TXSan Antonio - New Braunfels$34,060$26K - $45K4700.06%
UTOgden - Clearfield$27,360$18K - $37K900.04%
UTSalt Lake City$36,300$19K - $61K3100.05%
VARichmond$31,200$19K - $46K2000.03%
VAVirginia Beach - Norfolk - Newport News$32,110$18K - $47K4500.06%
VTBurlington - South Burlington$31,160$20K - $52K700.06%
WASeattle - Bellevue - Everett (Metro Area)$41,530$23K - $64K1,1000.08%
WASpokane$28,890$20K - $38K600.03%
WATacoma (Metro Area)$26,400$20K - $38K1000.04%
WIAppleton$31,720$19K - $46K800.07%
WIEau Claire$32,530$23K - $46K400.05%
WIGreen Bay$31,920$18K - $51K600.04%
WILa Crosse$30,640$19K - $47KN/AN/A
WIMadison$33,660$18K - $47K1300.04%
WIMilwaukee - Waukesha - West Allis$29,840$19K - $45K4600.06%
WIOshkosh - Neenah$26,240$17K - $56K500.06%
WIRacineN/AN/A - N/A400.06%