Interested in becoming a travel agent? While there is no post-secondary education required for this occupation, employers may prefer candidates who have taken classes related to the travel industry.
Travel agents offer recommendations on destinations, plan trip itineraries and make travel arrangements for their customers. Aside from transportation, travel agents sell lodging and admission to entertainment activities to people who are planning trips.
Some of their duties include arranging trips for business or leisure; determining their customers’ needs and preferences and take their schedules and budget into consideration; planning and organizing tour packages, outings and day trips; obtaining information on fares and schedules from transportation companies; determining total travel expenses; booking reservations for flights or other forms of transport, rental cars, day tours and outings and special events; providing their clients with all pertinent information regarding their trip; giving valuable advice regarding local attractions, weather conditions and customs; and, arranging alternate travel arrangements if needed before or during the clients’ trip.
There are travel agents that specialize in arranging corporate travel, while some focus on other types of travel, such as adventure tours.
According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, only a high school diploma is required when applying for a job as a travel agent. However, a growing number of employers prefer candidates who have had some form of formal training relevant to the travel industry. Students may enroll in travel agent certificate programs so they can take classes such as introduction to travel and tourism; introduction to the hospitality industry; computer reservations systems; tourism sales and marketing; geography; and, business communication, among others.
Travel Agent Programs
Travel agent certificate schools equip students with the necessary knowledge and skills needed in the industry, such as how to arrange lodging, recreational activities, day trips and excursions, and transportation. Graduates of these certificate programs are qualified to sort through vast amounts of information to find the best possible travel arrangements and make reservations for airlines, tour and vacation packages, hotels, cruises and ground transportation. They are also able to advise clients on required travel documentation for their destination.
One such online certificate school is ed2go (gatlineducation.com), a part of Cengage Learning and formerly known as Galin Education Services. This school’s Travel Agent Online Training Program has been proven to prepare students for The Travel Institute (formerly ICTA) TAP Certification. Students will learn the basic skills they need to efficiently operate a computer reservation system for airlines, travel agencies, cruise lines, hotels, or as a home-based travel agent.
The Travel Academy (thetravelacademy.com) is also a leading provider of travel agent training that emphasizes hands-on practice with the reservation systems that connect the travel industry all over the world. Students will be able to practice and gain valuable experience through traditional classroom instruction and role-play situations, with courses that include, but are not limited to, travel agency operations; airline industry operations; flight attendant training; customer service and sales; reservations; accessing flight schedules (Worldspan, Vax, World Agent Direct); fares, restrictions and ticketing; and, hotel and car reservations.