Travel agent essential career information:
- 2012 median pay: $34,600
- 2012, number of jobs: 64,680
- Employment growth forecast, 2010-2020: 10 percent
- Entry level education requirements: High school diploma or equivalent
Travel agents; what they do:
Travel agents bring people, places and events together, all in one service. They plan and sell lodging, transportation and tickets to events and activities to travelers and travelling groups. Travel agent careers include planning itineraries, selling tour excursions and packages and coordinating travel arrangements for clients.
Travel agent careers include coordinating travel services for both vacation and corporate clients, booking hotel, air, car rental reservations, group tours and excursions and reviewing and determining total travel costs.
A travel agent career involves providing a detailed overview of travel plans such as local customs, attractions, languages spoken, required documents, weather conditions, points of interest and financial information and conducting all financial transactions such as the collection of payment.
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Travel agent job titles:
- Online Travel Agent
- International Travel Agent
- Cruise Travel Agent
- Business Travel Agent
- Travel Counselor
- Travel Consultant
- Auto Travel Counselor
Travel Agents Education, Certification and License Requirements
People interested in a travel agent career typically need a high school diploma, good computer skills and training. However, many employees prefer travel agents who have taken travel industry classes in areas such as marketing and reservation systems from a community college or vocational school. In addition, some technical schools and colleges offer degree programs in travel and tourism. Most employers offer some level of on-the-job training, especially in computer systems.
Although not required, some associations such as The Travel Institute, offer certification that provide professional training to travel agents once they obtain employment. Other certifications and training are available based on agent experience and length of employment. Different states require travel agents to attain a business license. Contact a local state agency for further information when pursuing a travel agent career.
Travel agent programs cover subjects such as:
- Travel career development
- Geography for the travel professional
- Airline computer systems
- Airline reservations
- Automated fares
- International and domestic travel
- Ground transportation
- Hotels and resorts
Travel Agents Job Outlook
Forecast: 10 percent employment growth for travel agents from 2010 to 2020, about as fast as the average for all occupations.
Many travelers interested in corporate travel or special travel excursions, such as group adventure tours, cruises and international travel, seek the services of an experienced travel agent. However, with the advent of on-line travel booking and Internet travel sites, the ability of travelers to research and arrange their own trips continues to decrease the need for travel agents.
Travel Agents Salary
- 2012 median annual wage: $34,600
- 2012 workers at the 75th percentile annual wage: $44,500
- 2012, workers at the 25th percentile annual wage: $26,460
- Travel agencies and reservation agencies