Becoming a qualified travel agent provides an adult who has an interest in the travel and tourism industry with the credentials and experience needed for a successful career. Travel agents work with customers on all aspects of trip planning. Qualified travel agents also organize special events and corporate outings and conventions for either a fixed fee or a commission.
Earning a high school diploma or equivalent is the first step in the education of a qualified travel agent. Training courses and two-year colleges will not admit anyone into their programs that can’t show proof of high school completion. Students should take any electives offered in high school, which are related to journalism and photography. Travel agents will often be required to write descriptions of locations and hotels. The ability to complete press releases in a timely manner, with grammar guidelines strictly adhered to is a must for travel agents.
Learning a foreign language is also an important aspect of a career as a travel agent. Being able to speak fluently in multiple languages is not a requirement, but it is an asset for a successful travel agent. Travel agents often work with booking staff in other countries, making the ability to communicate a positive attribute.
Training to become a qualified travel agent can be taken in a traditional classroom setting, by a correspondence course, and online. A two-year degree in the travel field is offered through most colleges. Students will take classes in subjects such as public relations, marketing, photography, and advertising. A practicum experience working in at a travel related business is often a component of earning a degree. A degree is not required to become an agent, but increases the likely hood of being hired by a reputable agency.
Expressing knowledge of top tourist destinations, as well as being familiar with travel and tourism related transportation, lodging, and attractions will impress recruiters and staff during the interview process. Potential travel agents should be well versed in travel terminology, and be able to converse on popular destinations during the interview process.
Learning the history of a travel agency and the travel venue focus of the company will also assist potential agents during the hiring process.
Joining a travel related organization also aids potential agents earn credentials, events, and workshops geared to educating agents on current trends, and popular destinations. The American Society of Travel Agents organizes short excursions geared to novice and future agents. These training trips offer a chance to travel, while learning about a particular destination and the tourism business in general.