Travel Agents

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Travel Agents


Education

What’s Needed:

  • 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
  • Marketing
  • Travel by Rail Car and Plane
  • Cruise Planning
  • Budget Management


Video Overview

A brief introduction to a real estate agent career. Produced for the US Dept. of Labor.


A Day in the Life

You arrange air land and sea travel for clients traveling domestically and internationally.

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.

It’s your job to provide accurate information and advice about travel destinations.

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.

You make sure travelers are aware of document and visa requirements.

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.

You handle last-minute itinerary changes and emergency calls from your clients.

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.


Job Flexibility

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.


Recommended Websites

  • 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.


Salaries by City

See typical salaries and ranges for this career below*. Shift click to sort by more than one column — for example first shift-click on state and then shift-click on salary to find best and worst salaries in each state.

State City / Region Typical Salary Salary Range Job Count % of All Jobs
AK Anchorage $35730 $19K – $48K 170 0.10%
AL Birmingham – Hoover $34970 $22K – $55K 160 0.03%
AL Huntsville $41590 $30K – $59K 80 0.04%
AL Montgomery $43710 $28K – $59K 70 0.05%
AR Little Rock – North Little Rock – Conway $37570 $24K – $55K 70 0.02%
AZ Phoenix – Mesa – Glendale $25880 $17K – $47K 910 0.05%
AZ Tucson $28450 $18K – $45K N/A N/A
CA Bakersfield – Delano $36500 $27K – $57K 60 0.02%
CA Fresno $27550 $18K – $39K 80 0.03%
CA Los Angeles – Long Beach – Glendale (Metro Area) $33600 $20K – $60K 3220 0.08%
CA Oakland – Fremont – Hayward (Metro Area) $43590 $31K – $70K 490 0.05%
CA Oxnard – Thousand Oaks – Ventura $38410 $28K – $55K 110 0.04%
CA Riverside – San Bernardino – Ontario $24360 $19K – $37K 140 0.01%
CA Sacramento – Arden – Arcade – Roseville $35280 $24K – $63K 240 0.03%
CA Salinas $26450 $18K – $64K 40 0.02%
CA San Diego – Carlsbad – San Marcos $37990 $26K – $60K 640 0.05%
CA San Francisco – San Mateo – Redwood City (Metro Area) $38300 $27K – $72K 990 0.10%
CA San Jose – Sunnyvale – Santa Clara $38120 $27K – $56K 760 0.08%
CA Santa Ana – Anaheim – Irvine (Metro Area) $41160 $27K – $57K 900 0.06%
CA Santa Barbara – Santa Maria – Goleta N/A N/A – N/A 50 0.03%
CA Santa Cruz – Watsonville $33620 $21K – $44K N/A N/A
CA Santa Rosa – Petaluma $43700 $31K – $68K 30 0.02%
CA Stockton $20580 $18K – $28K 30 0.02%
CA Visalia – Porterville $28830 $20K – $60K 40 0.03%
CO Boulder $29990 $22K – $64K 110 0.07%
CO Colorado Springs $32460 $19K – $64K 100 0.04%
CO Denver – Aurora – Broomfield $38140 $26K – $65K 560 0.05%
CO Fort Collins – Loveland $27240 $21K – $37K 60 0.04%
CT Bridgeport – Stamford – Norwalk $35110 $27K – $55K 420 0.10%
CT Hartford – West Hartford – East Hartford $37740 $25K – $50K 160 0.03%
CT New Haven $31430 $23K – $43K 120 0.05%
DC Washington – Arlington – Alexandria (Metro Area) $41920 $26K – $62K 1350 0.06%
DE Wilmington (Metro Area) $33280 $21K – $48K 130 0.04%
FL Cape Coral – Fort Myers $31060 $19K – $52K 110 0.05%
FL Crestview – Fort Walton Beach – Destin $29650 $18K – $47K 110 0.15%
FL Deltona – Daytona Beach – Ormond Beach $26730 $18K – $38K 160 0.10%
FL Fort Lauderdale – Pompano Beach – Deerfield Beach (Metro Area) $25200 $17K – $52K 1060 0.15%
FL Jacksonville $29830 $19K – $47K 140 0.02%
FL Lakeland – Winter Haven $31520 $21K – $48K 110 0.06%
FL Miami – Miami Beach – Kendall (Metro Area) $38500 $19K – $72K 1620 0.16%
FL Naples – Marco Island $33610 $21K – $47K N/A N/A
FL North Port – Bradenton – Sarasota $34010 $17K – $65K 210 0.09%
FL Orlando – Kissimmee – Sanford $28500 $18K – $52K 1240 0.12%
FL Palm Bay – Melbourne – Titusville $30450 $17K – $46K 110 0.06%
FL Pensacola – Ferry Pass – Brent $24920 $17K – $34K 70 0.04%
FL Port St. Lucie $25570 $19K – $67K 80 0.07%
FL Tampa – St. Petersburg – Clearwater $30940 $17K – $56K 600 0.05%
FL West Palm Beach – Boca Raton – Boynton Beach (Metro Area) $29730 $22K – $52K 640 0.13%
GA Atlanta – Sandy Springs – Marietta $38360 $25K – $56K N/A N/A
GA Columbus $33550 $26K – $39K 30 0.03%
GA Savannah $31850 $18K – $38K 70 0.05%
HI Honolulu N/A N/A – N/A 790 0.18%
IA Cedar Rapids N/A N/A – N/A 40 0.03%
IA Davenport – Moline – Rock Island $31660 $19K – $48K 60 0.04%
IA Des Moines – West Des Moines $28320 $18K – $46K 160 0.05%
IA Iowa City $35060 $26K – $46K N/A N/A
ID Boise City – Nampa $36330 $20K – $48K 290 0.11%
IL Chicago – Joliet – Naperville (Metro Area) $37940 $19K – $63K 4180 0.11%
IL Lake County – Kenosha County (Metro Area) $35080 $21K – $61K 230 0.06%
IL Peoria $38860 $19K – $47K 70 0.04%
IN Evansville $38440 $24K – $49K 50 0.03%
IN Fort Wayne $27250 $20K – $32K 60 0.03%
IN Gary (Metro Area) $18380 $16K – $27K 50 0.02%
IN Indianapolis – Carmel $35960 $19K – $103K 340 0.04%
KS Wichita $31090 $19K – $61K 100 0.04%
KY Lexington – Fayette $34830 $26K – $48K 50 0.02%
KY Louisville – Jefferson County $27600 $17K – $57K 160 0.03%
LA Baton Rouge $27700 $25K – $31K N/A N/A
LA New Orleans – Metairie – Kenner $26780 $17K – $36K 220 0.04%
LA Shreveport – Bossier City $19730 $17K – $32K 30 0.02%
MA Barnstable Town $43050 $19K – $74K N/A N/A
MA Boston – Cambridge – Quincy (Metro Area) $42650 $28K – $73K 1250 0.07%
MA Framingham (Metro Area) $45810 $36K – $61K 160 0.10%
MA Peabody (Metro Area) $46530 $27K – $74K 60 0.06%
MA Springfield $28760 $20K – $42K 110 0.04%
MA Worcester $35370 $19K – $58K 90 0.04%
MD Baltimore – Towson $33310 $18K – $63K 350 0.03%
MD Bethesda – Rockville – Frederick (Metro Area) $37840 $19K – $61K 390 0.07%
ME Portland – South Portland – Biddeford $36410 $28K – $46K 50 0.02%
MI Ann Arbor $32430 $20K – $47K 90 0.04%
MI Detroit – Livonia – Dearborn (Metro Area) $32660 $20K – $54K 140 0.02%
MI Flint $28760 $17K – $47K 50 0.04%
MI Grand Rapids – Wyoming $38880 $25K – $59K 360 0.09%
MI Holland – Grand Haven $31190 $19K – $38K 40 0.04%
MI Kalamazoo – Portage $23960 $17K – $49K 30 0.03%
MI Lansing – East Lansing $35700 $25K – $55K 80 0.04%
MI Warren – Troy – Farmington Hills (Metro Area) $30870 $18K – $44K 600 0.06%
MN Minneapolis – St. Paul – Bloomington $36840 $25K – $47K 1110 0.06%
MO Kansas City $34600 $20K – $52K 450 0.05%
MO Springfield $22570 $17K – $38K 80 0.04%
MO St. Louis $30170 $21K – $40K 1190 0.09%
NC Asheville $37140 $32K – $85K 60 0.03%
NC Charlotte – Gastonia – Rock Hill $31980 $21K – $57K 270 0.03%
NC Durham – Chapel Hill $35390 $19K – $47K 50 0.02%
NC Greensboro – High Point $41550 $25K – $55K 140 0.04%
NC Jacksonville $23890 $20K – $35K 50 0.11%
NC Raleigh – Cary $43660 $32K – $53K 210 0.04%
NC Winston – Salem $38020 $28K – $61K 70 0.03%
ND Fargo $32620 $25K – $49K 80 0.06%
NE Omaha – Council Bluffs $33550 $22K – $48K 350 0.08%
NH Manchester $36100 $23K – $52K 100 0.10%
NH Nashua (Metro Area) $51630 $38K – $66K 90 0.07%
NJ Atlantic City – Hammonton $34,350 $26K – $65K 40 0.03%
NJ Camden (Metro Area) $33,860 $24K – $55K 230 0.05%
NJ Edison – New Brunswick (Metro Area) $31,820 $21K – $47K 360 0.04%
NJ Newark – Union (Metro Area) $37,780 $23K – $58K 470 0.05%
NJ Trenton – Ewing $47,040 $26K – $97K 100 0.05%
NM Albuquerque $31,510 $19K – $55K 100 0.03%
NV Las Vegas – Paradise $30,040 $20K – $57K 970 0.12%
NV Reno – Sparks $38,090 $18K – $57K 30 0.02%
NY Albany – Schenectady – Troy $29,120 $22K – $37K 110 0.03%
NY Buffalo – Niagara Falls $30,910 $25K – $44K 110 0.02%
NY Ithaca $29,020 $24K – $56K 40 0.07%
NY Nassau – Suffolk (Metro Area) $37,890 $25K – $59K 710 0.06%
NY New York – White Plains – Wayne (Metro Area) $37,100 $22K – $57K 4,300 0.08%
NY Poughkeepsie – Newburgh – Middletown $33,230 $17K – $82K 60 0.02%
NY Rochester $34,900 $23K – $53K 160 0.03%
NY Syracuse $27,930 $20K – $43K 140 0.05%
OH Akron $29,730 $19K – $47K 80 0.03%
OH Canton – Massillon $22,380 $17K – $31K 40 0.02%
OH Cincinnati – Middletown $28,430 $21K – $38K 330 0.03%
OH Cleveland – Elyria – Mentor $34,740 $24K – $47K 530 0.05%
OH Columbus $29,700 $22K – $41K 370 0.04%
OH Dayton $30,450 $21K – $52K 80 0.02%
OH Toledo $22,730 $18K – $39K 110 0.04%
OH Youngstown – Warren – Boardman $27,300 $19K – $38K 80 0.04%
OK Oklahoma City $24,620 $18K – $46K 110 0.02%
OK Tulsa $27,620 $21K – $39K 180 0.04%
OR Eugene – Springfield $34,500 $20K – $60K 60 0.04%
OR Portland – Vancouver – Hillsboro $32,140 $21K – $48K 650 0.06%
PA Allentown – Bethlehem – Easton $33,190 $21K – $54K 150 0.04%
PA Harrisburg – Carlisle $31,310 $25K – $43K 70 0.02%
PA Lancaster $38,410 $24K – $54K 90 0.04%
PA Philadelphia (Metro Area) $41,150 $27K – $69K 1,090 0.06%
PA Pittsburgh $35,880 $26K – $50K 430 0.04%
PA Reading $37,310 $26K – $58K 160 0.10%
PA Scranton – Wilkes – Barre $28,940 $18K – $47K 190 0.08%
PA York – Hanover $27,250 $17K – $37K 70 0.04%
PR San Juan – Caguas – Guaynabo $24,620 $18K – $38K 180 0.02%
RI Providence – Fall River – Warwick $33,280 $25K – $57K 230 0.04%
SC Charleston – North Charleston – Summerville $29,860 $20K – $46K 110 0.04%
SC Columbia $28,720 $20K – $45K 100 0.03%
SC Greenville – Mauldin – Easley $29,890 $19K – $37K 80 0.03%
SC Myrtle Beach – North Myrtle Beach – Conway $26,060 $17K – $61K 50 0.05%
SD Sioux Falls $31,420 $23K – $48K 40 0.03%
TN Knoxville $32,340 $22K – $48K 80 0.02%
TN Memphis $34,640 $23K – $50K 90 0.02%
TN Nashville – Davidson – Murfreesboro – Franklin $36,000 $24K – $81K 410 0.06%
TX Austin – Round Rock – San Marcos $37,230 $26K – $52K 260 0.03%
TX Dallas – Plano – Irving (Metro Area) $39,570 $23K – $73K 1,620 0.08%
TX El Paso $33,960 $18K – $54K 70 0.03%
TX Fort Worth – Arlington (Metro Area) $32,150 $19K – $47K 390 0.04%
TX Houston – Sugar Land – Baytown $39,210 $21K – $66K 1,310 0.05%
TX San Antonio – New Braunfels $34,060 $26K – $45K 470 0.06%
UT Ogden – Clearfield $27,360 $18K – $37K 90 0.04%
UT Salt Lake City $36,300 $19K – $61K 310 0.05%
VA Richmond $31,200 $19K – $46K 200 0.03%
VA Virginia Beach – Norfolk – Newport News $32,110 $18K – $47K 450 0.06%
VT Burlington – South Burlington $31,160 $20K – $52K 70 0.06%
WA Seattle – Bellevue – Everett (Metro Area) $41,530 $23K – $64K 1,100 0.08%
WA Spokane $28,890 $20K – $38K 60 0.03%
WA Tacoma (Metro Area) $26,400 $20K – $38K 100 0.04%
WI Appleton $31,720 $19K – $46K 80 0.07%
WI Eau Claire $32,530 $23K – $46K 40 0.05%
WI Green Bay $31,920 $18K – $51K 60 0.04%
WI La Crosse $30,640 $19K – $47K N/A N/A
WI Madison $33,660 $18K – $47K 130 0.04%
WI Milwaukee – Waukesha – West Allis $29,840 $19K – $45K 460 0.06%
WI Oshkosh – Neenah $26,240 $17K – $56K 50 0.06%
WI Racine N/A N/A – N/A 40 0.06%

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