How to Become a Travel Agent

If you enjoy dealing with people and have an eye for detail, you may be curious about how to become a travel agent. Travel agents work with individuals, groups and businesses arranging for short and long-term trips.

The work involves listening to the client to determine what his or her needs and preferences are when traveling. Travel agents can plan a trip and suggest appropriate tour packages for clients. Much of the work that travel agents do is performed on the phone and on the computer to research different options. The eye for detail comes into play when travel agents must gather and sort a large amount of information to find the best deal on arrangements for their clients. They calculate the cost of the trip, share the details of the arrangements with the client and answer questions about local attractions, weather and customs.

Some of them focus on working with a specific type of traveler, such as singles, seniors or people interested in going on an adventure tour. Others specialize in working for business clients making arrangements for employees who need to travel as part of their job or work with tour operators and find people who are interested in traveling in this manner.

Education Required to Become a Travel Agent

The minimum level of education required to become a travel agent is a high school diploma, but many employers prefer to hire people who have taken travel industry courses. Prospective travel agents may want to consider enrolling in a program offered by a community college or vocational school.

Certificate and Associate degree programs are offered by schools, both on campus and online. When you are looking for education programs which will help you become a travel agent, make sure that the ones you are considering are accredited. You will want to make sure that you are getting a good quality education experience if you are going to commit the time, money and effort required to train for a career in the travel industry.

As a travel and tourism student, you will be taking courses in the following subjects:

• Business Mathematics
• Computerized Reservations
• Cultural Geography
• Customer Orientation
• Food and Culture
• Hospitality Success Skills
• Human Communication

Once you have completed your educational program, you can expect to receive some level of on-the-job training. For example, you will need to get some instruction on using the employer’s travel system or on how to make reservations for a specific airline.

Some associations offer certification to trained travel agents. Completing the certification process is a way for experienced travel agents to demonstrate that they have a specific level of professional competency. This designation may help you qualify for higher level positions, such as working for corporate clients or with tour operators.

If your goal is to become a travel agent, you will want to be sure that you have the right education by enrolling in an accredited travel and tourism program offered by a community college or vocational school.

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