|Recommended Degree Level||Certificate or Higher|
|Number of Jobs, 2012||64,680|
|Annual Job Growth Rate||2.0%|
|Job Openings per Year (est.)||1,720|
- 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
- Travel by Rail, Car and Plane
- Cruise Planning
- Budget Management
A brief introduction to a real estate agent career. Produced for the US Dept. of Labor.
A Day in the Life
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- 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.