Do you love traveling?
Would you like a career in the travel industry?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, you can become a travel agent in as few as 30 days through on-the-job training.
You should already have travel experience, customer service and salesmanship skills, and a clear, dialect-neutral voice if you wish to start booking travel immediately.
Without these basic skills, you should invest in some entry-level tourism credentials.
Travel Agent Credentials
- Travel Agent Proficiency (TAP) Test
- Verified Trip Advisor (VTA)
- Certified Cruise Counselor (CCC)
- Certified Travel Associate (CTA)
- Certified Travel Counselor (CTC)
- Accredited Cruise Counselor (ACC)
- Certified Travel Industry Executive (CTIE)
- Master Cruise Counselor (MCC)
- Elite Cruise Counselor (ECC)
The TAP Test assesses your readiness for immediate travel agent employment directly out of high school.
You can take the test through The Travel Institute for $95 after selecting a proctor and deciding on a date, with no further expense.
Or purchase their self-paced Tripkit for $399 instead, which includes three online texts and workbooks, 13 hours of industry expert videos, 19 lessons, and your TAP exam fee.
Once you begin working, you may also wish to obtain your Certified Travel Associate (CTA), Certified Travel Counselor (CTC), and Certified Travel Industry Executive (CTIE) credentials through The Travel Institute.
Alternatively, you might pursue a Verified Travel Advisor (VTA) through the American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA).
This route will cost $789.
The VTA program includes a one-year ASTA agency membership, manuals, online videos, and core course exams.
The program’s nine core courses take up to three hours each.
If you already have travel agent experience, you might add a specialization in cruises.
The Cruise Line International Association offers its Certified Cruise Counsellor (CCC) program to potential and existing travel agents.
CLIA members pay $69 to enroll.
Unfortunately, non-members cannot participate in any CLIA training.
Later, member agents can continue their cruise industry education by adding an Accredited Cruise Counselor (ACC), Master Cruise Counselor (MCC), and Elite Cruise Counsellor (ECC) credential.
The median annual salary for travel agents stood at $46,400 in 2022.
However, the lowest-earning agents only made $29,650.
Consequently, you might first want to make this career your side hustle.
However, with experience and advanced credentials, the top ten percent earned $64,100 in 2022.
In addition, you must provide proof of financial security.
Are Travel Agents Still Needed?
Despite the existence of online travel booking agencies such as Expedia, Travelocity, and Trip Advisor, travel agents remain relevant.
From keeping up with constantly changing international travel restrictions to advising on accessibility issues, travel agents smooth the planning process.
Whether it’s an upcoming reunion, destination wedding, or bucket list vacation, you can ensure your clients have a hassle-free travel experience.
What to Avoid?
Any program that requires you to recruit other students or agents is a multi-level marketing plan (MLM).
Do not allow these pyramid schemes to suck you into a debt spiral.
If the agency you wish to work for does not have transparent commission policies, apply elsewhere.
Travel Agent Education Programs
If you want to earn money while you learn, Fora’s Travel Advisor program costs $299 when billed as a single annual fee.
You receive 40 hours of training, a unified booking platform, and an agency-provided IATA license number.
In addition, you may begin booking travel on Day One.
To apply, provide your email address and take a short survey.
At Penn Foster, you can earn a Travel Agent Career Diploma in nine to 15 months for $799.
This accredited program comprises 12 courses, 21 exams, and 36.2 Continuing Education Units (CEUs).
You must also sit for the TAP Test to receive your diploma.
Begin here to apply online.
The online Travel Agent Training program includes your TAP Test fee, two textbooks, and two workbooks.
The program costs $2245 for 100 instructional hours and takes six months to complete.
Head here to complete the process online.
- You only need a high school diploma to work as a travel agent.
- Many travel agents receive as little as 30 days of on-the-job training.
- Taking the Travel Agent Proficiency (TAP) Test demonstrates your readiness to work.
- The Travel Institute, American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA), and the Cruise Line International Association (CLIA) provide respected travel industry certifications.
- Credentials range in cost from $95 for the TAP Test to $2245 for a six-month diploma program.
- Some programs allow you to “earn as you learn.”
- Most states do not require licensure to work as a travel agent.
- California, Florida, Hawaii, and Washington require travel agents to register as Sellers of Travel.
- “Sellers of Travel” registration fees range between $100 in California and $300 in Florida.
- As of 2022, travel agents can expect a median annual salary of $46,400.
- Successful travel agents can make $64,100 per year as of 2022.
- You will earn higher salaries in the District of Columbia, Arizona, New Hampshire, Washington, and Missouri.
- If you are bondable, you will enjoy more success in California, Florida, Hawaii, and Washington.
- Reputable programs and agencies do not require you to recruit anyone else.
- Attend accredited programs.
- Apply to agencies with transparent commission policies.